Letter: Willing teachers

In response to your article, "Back to school but row over closures deepens" (6 December) you may care to know Loretto has not shut for a single day in this difficult period. So long as there are staff and pupils and a willingness to work together, there is no reason to hang up the "School Closed" sign in bad weather.

Last week we faced the probability of at least a week of disruption, so we sent a simple message to the whole school community: we would do everything we could to run Loretto as close to normal as is possible. If parents could bring pupils to school, the staff here would teach them.

Staff did all they could to get in - getting up early and digging out cars, walking miles and even skiing where necessary; lessons and most activities went ahead. We have looked into hiring local supply teachers if staff become stranded.

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Pupils aged 14 upwards will be sitting modular examinations from the first day back in January and this is a great motivator to get everyone working.

Children can feel frustrated by the lack of routine, the unpredictable nature of the weather and the prospect of no regular sports. They can also feel as if this is a holiday (of sorts) and not term time. We have tried to return matters to normal. It seems to be working.

You praise parents for their struggle. I say we should praise everyone who goes the extra mile in the snow - teaching staff, support staff and pupils.

Peter A Hogan

Loretto School

Linkfield Road

Musselburgh, East Lothian

As a retired teacher, I was flabbergasted at Lesley Riddoch's implication that teachers are not pulling their weight just now (Comment, 5 December). Teachers are no different from the populace and so the vast majority are conscientious employees.

I cannot believe that more teachers turned over in bed than did any other person who sought to get to work. Many teachers made huge efforts to get to schools which required senior pupils to be in.

Teachers are parents too, and will be facing the same problems of child care. I am aware that "working from home and flexitime" is a present-day option which is never available to teachers.

Sheila Mann

Netherby Road


Funny that Ms Riddoch should mention the Nordic perfection of Karasjok. I noticed in Monday's local (Karasjok) paper that both back wheels fell off the Lakselv to Karasjok bus. And as for snow, when I looked at Tuesday's Norra Halland paper, the opening words were: "The majority of schools in the district are still closed to allow for snow shovelling."

Karasjok is a tiny village. I dare say that when the eye-watering -54.2 temperature occurred, the friendly Karashokites behaved very much as friendly Scottish neighbours have been doing, and helped each other out.

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Most of Ms Riddoch's article consists of anti-teacher innuendo."Ironically," she concludes, "the longer the snow lasts, the higher the odds of fixing endemic organisational weakness." That would seem to be a task for the highly-paid directors of education she admires rather than the job of "skiving" teachers.

Elga Graves

Winton Terrace