Teach­ers fight for right to Holy Day leave

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - By Dana GloGer

teach­ers have faced par­tic­u­lar prob­lems tak­ing time off for the high holy Days this year, ac­cord­ing to their rep­re­sen­ta­tive body.

Daniel Needle­stone, chair of the Jewish teach­ers as­so­ci­a­tion, said the prob­lems have been par­tic­u­larly bad be­cause all the Jewish fes­ti­vals fell on week­days.

“some peo­ple have faced ma­jor prob­lems. It’s very hard for teach­ers to take time off dur­ing term time and some schools say teach­ers are be­ing un­rea­son­able in ask­ing,” he said.

“some lo­cal ed­u­ca­tion au­thor­i­ties don’t seem to have poli­cies on re­li­gious hol­i­days, in which case it can be en­tirely at the dis­cre­tion of in­di­vid­ual schools to de­cide.”

ron­nie Fraser, di­rec­tor of the aca­demic Friends of Is­rael, agreed that prob­lems with tak­ing time off for fes­ti­vals “hits the teach­ing pro­fes­sion more than any other”.

he said: “Most head teach­ers are un­der­stand­ing, but this prob­lem is be­com­ing a big­ger is­sue, with more and more young Jewish peo­ple go­ing into teach­ing.”

re­tired teacher vera Feld­man, 78, from Birm­ing­ham, who cam­paigned for Jewish hol­i­days with pay in 1952, said: “I worked in Bris­tol and ne­go­ti­ated to take the Yom­tovim off as paid leave. teach­ers need to con­tinue to cam­paign for this to­day.”

a spokesman for the Board of Deputies con­firmed they had re­ceived more calls about leave is­sues this year, adding: “If a teacher takes a day off, and a sup­ply teacher is re­quired, that will of­ten be a bur­den on fi­nan­cial and ad­min­is­tra­tive re­sources.”

ros­alind schog­ger, who has worked for Brent ed­u­ca­tion tu­ition ser­vices for eight years, said she had taken Yom­tovim off “with no prob­lem”, but when she re­quested two days’ un­paid leave for suc­cot her re­quest was de­nied. she con­tacted the Board, who wrote to Brent ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment.

Mrs schog­ger, from har­row, said: “In the end I took the days off. I was wor­ried they would take dis­ci­plinary action against me but af­ter re­ceiv­ing the Board’s let­ter, a let­ter from my rabbi and many emails from me, they said they would ap­prove it as un­paid leave. It has been very stress­ful.”

a Brent spokesman said: “teach­ers are en­ti­tled to claim up to three days’ paid leave dur­ing term time. Ms schog­ger was granted three days leave on full pay. she re­quested a fur­ther four days’ un­paid leave which was ini­tially turned down. how­ever, af­ter con­sul­ta­tion, Ms schog­ger was granted all the leave she re­quested.”

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