Letter: Terminally long teachers' holidays

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The Independent Online
Sir: If the Secretary of State for Education and the teachers are really concerned about the public perception of 13 weeks a year holiday ('Shephard prepares for period of calm pragmatism', 19 October), perhaps they should consider adopting the university system of 'Term' and 'Full Term' - that is, a period of 15 weeks when schools are in session but with pupils in attendance for only 13, leaving a week at the start and end of term when staff are required/expected to be present to see to all the preparatory work and clearing-up which at the moment they do in the vacations.

They would effectively reduce the holidays to seven weeks, still somewhat more than many people enjoy, but a number likely to be more comprehensible and acceptable to the layman as compensation for overtime undertaken during the teaching part of term.

Two beneficial side effects could be improved management/staff communications and a framework to help those teachers who have difficulty in organising work in their 'own time'.

Yours faithfully, BARRY SHEPPARD Penryn, Cornwall