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Handle with care on Baker days

Joan Sallis does not often get things wrong but she is seriously mistaken in her remarks about "training days" (TES, March 10).

There is no such thing as a "training" or "INSET" day in teachers' conditions of service. There are simply five days when teachers are available to work at the direction of the head. Second, these days, imposed by former Education Secretary Kenneth Baker, were obtained by shortening teachers' holiday time, not by reducing the pupils' taught year, so while such a day in the middle of term may feel as if it is being held at the expense of teaching, it is not.

It follows that some teachers resent these days, and many feel it is reasonable that some of the time should be devoted to some of the tasks which they otherwise do in their holidays, evenings and weekends. It also follows that Joan Sallis's statement that "training days are strictly for professional development" has no basis in law.

Any governing body attempting to impose on the head and staff rules which prevented their using these days in ways which, although perhaps menial, they find helpful and productive in terms of their teaching, would be inviting a reaction of resentment which would far outweigh any good the governors hoped to achieve.


The Brew House

Radwell, Baldock, Herts

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