Letter: Blame the conditions, not the teachers

I don't think I have ever been so incensed by a newspaper article as I was by "Please Sir, have you been skiving?" by Lesley Riddoch (6 December).

As the husband of a retired teacher and father of two other education employees, I feel this article was written by someone with a complex against the teaching profession. I am sure no members chose to be off school last week and they would all have preferred to have been in the classroom extending the education of their charges.

Does Ms Riddoch take the same view of other professionals who have had to stay away from work as happened earlier this year when she made no vicious comments?

Hugh G Bain

Langhaugh Crescent


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With reference to their articles on school closures (6 December), are Alastair Dalton and Lesley Riddoch still sitting on their high horses? Most pupils in Edinburgh got into school on Monday, but, given that the buses stopped running at 12.15pm, their parents were then faced with the problem of getting them, poorly clad and ill-shod, home again.

Doubtless the authors will believe that the teachers have abandoned the pupils and legged it, assuming any of them turned up for work in the first place.

James RS Ryder

Spylaw Street


The almost complete stoppage of national life occasioned by the current spattering of snow is scarcely believable. When I was a child, our schools were kept open by every janitor, able-bodied teacher and even the dinner ladies being set to the task of digging out the playground with old-fashioned shovels.

The same "all hands on deck" attitude applied to airports, where the general manager was to be seen setting an example with his spade alongside ground and cabin staff as well as pilots and navigators as they fought to keep runways clear.

Not only are we now far too reliant on often inadequate and unreliable mechanical means of snow removal, but the EU-mandated adoption of the SI system of units has brought a touch of fatalism to how Britons regard low temperatures.

Zero degrees Celsius is now seen as a sign that civilisation as we know it must be temporarily suspended whereas 32 degrees Fahrenheit never had that effect.

John Eoin Douglas

Spey Terrace


Currie Primary is shut for the sixth consecutive day while it waits for the council to clear snow from the emergency and fire exits. Why can't the janitor, the teachers and all the rest of the staff who are being paid by the council come to the school and shovel some snow?

Local parents would happily help if only they would open the gates for us. How long must we wait before the school takes some initiative?

Patricia Lumsden

Lanark Road West

Currie, Midlothian