Press Release: INSET days should be cancelled, says education expert (February 2021)

Press Release: INSET days should be cancelled, says education expert (February 2021)

A former government education advisor has expressed astonishment that schools are still holding ‘in-service training’ (INSET) days.

Dr Stephen Curran believes the priority in schools should be helping children catch up with the work they’ve missed rather than adding to their holidays.

Schools usually have around five INSET days a year during which teachers receive training and children have a day off.

But with students having lost so many months of schooling Dr Curran believes INSET days should be put aside until children’s educational levels have recovered.

As it stands, INSET days already infuriate parents who have to arrange extra costly childcare.

With many children well behind in their schoolwork and the government examining ways of lengthening the term or working days, Dr Curran says it is astonishing INSET days are continuing.

He said: “In normal times it is understandable that schools want continued training for teachers so they can keep up with the current educational thinking.

“But I was astonished to learn that some schools are continuing to hold INSET days despite the fact that so many children are behind.

“The government acknowledges the problem and is actively looking at ways in which the lost time can be made up.

“One way to provide five days of extra learning each year is to cancel INSET days for the time being.

“Teachers understand the importance of helping their students catch up and I’m sure would prefer to use that time to teach.

“All the focus in education should be on making the most of the remaining academic calendar.

“In particular, primary schools should be focused on the two key areas – literacy and numeracy.

“Other subject areas should be moved aside for the present to make way for this. These two subjects must come first and then everything else second.

“It will be disastrous for children if they enter secondary education failing in these subjects.

“In a crisis, teachers cannot be sentimental and attempt to deliver the whole curriculum. It’s not possible.

“As well as cancelling INSET days it would also be helpful to make the terms slightly longer as a few days less holiday at Easter and in the summer would make a huge difference to the children.

“This will be hard for teachers, but again, the children must come first.

“It is also important to set meaningful homework that helps reinforce whatever is taught during remote learning sessions.

“Many primary schools do not set a lot of homework, but again, this should be a priority during this crisis. We must maximise the potential of the children to develop their skills and understanding.”

Dr Curran is a former teacher who now runs a tuition centre and publishing company.

In 2010 he was asked to join the government panel that discussed changes to the maths national curriculum, which was launched in 2014.


For more information contact Ed Baker at Deep South Media on 07788 392 965