Wrong type of reason for closing schools

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Hardly was the ink dry on the drivel in Scottish Borders Council’s SB Contact magazine about the master-plan to keep schools open this winter than the teachers dreamed up another reason for closure last Thursday: the wrong kind of wind.

Most folk increasingly understand that today’s education system revolves entirely round the convenience of teachers, and Thursday was further proof of their creativity when it comes to extending their already outrageously long holidays. No wonder we churn out so many partially educated kids.

I had read a few days earlier the head of one of the teaching unions bemoaning his members’ lot. Clearly teachers and their representatives inhabit the same sort of parallel universe as the greedy, arrogant bankers who caused our financial travails.

With them, it’s simple greed. With teachers, it’s a complete inability to look at their profession and understand that they have conditions of employment that most workers, public and private sector, only dream of. With their astonishing lack of ability to see themselves as others see them, it is no wonder they complain of low status and lack of respect – to say nothing of the massively expensive and chronically underused estate of school buildings, occupied for way under half the year.

No doubt we can look forward to spring closures because the sun is too bright and summer closures because the temperature exceeds 20C. Get real.

As far as Kelso High School is concerned, a fair number of pupils sent home early on Thursday spent at least some of the afternoon hanging about on the street or in coffee shops, clearly unaware of the mortal danger they faced from that most unusual of Scottish meteorological phenomena, high winds in winter.

It would all be the stuff of farce if education did not consume 36 per cent of our council tax. Let’s transfer a slug of that to improving crumbling roads, where it will be productively used and benefit the whole community.

I fully support all the other public sector workers who took strike action on November 30.

Richard West

Inch Park, Kelso