- Thousands of pupils saw their return to school delayed despite a six-week break
- One mother has launched an internet petition calling for a change to the system
- Teachers are facing calls to cut short their ‘generous’ holidays from irate parents
Jonathan Petre for The Mail on Sunday
Thousands of pupils across the country saw their term starts delayed due to teacher training days
Furious parents have hit out at schools for delaying the start of the new term by holding training days just after teachers have enjoyed six-week holidays.
Thousands of pupils across the country did not return to school until well into the first week of the academic year, causing problems for working parents who had to stay at home or arrange costly childcare.
Some took to social media to ask why teachers do not cut short their ‘generous’ holidays and carry out the five required in-service training (inset) days before the first week of term.
One said on Mumsnet: ‘As a parent, it’s hard enough trying to juggle work and childcare during the holidays, but I completely fail to understand why teachers get about 13 weeks’ holiday a year and then take additional days for training.
‘Why can’t they take a little bit less holiday (it’s only five days, so that’s 12 weeks’ holiday – still way more than anyone else) and make it easier on parents?’
Catherine Hardy, from Cheshire, launched an internet petition calling on the Government to change the system.
She complained: ‘My children’s school has just announced an extra week of inset days on the end of the summer holidays.
Teachers are now facing calls to cut short their ‘generous’ holidays by irate parents
‘How on earth am I supposed to cover what is now a full seven-week break? Why can’t schools hold this training in the holidays, compensating staff accordingly?’
Inset days are usually spread over the academic year.
They have sparked controversy in the past after staff at one school were spotted at a wedding while others held training at the Cheltenham races and during a trip to Spain.
The founder of Parents Outloud, former Ofsted inspector Margaret Morrissey, said: ‘The Government should reform the system so that training time is reduced and teaching time increased.’
A spokesman for the National Association of Head Teachers said inset days were introduced in 1988 under a Conservative government with teachers required to attend training in addition to the 190 days assigned for teaching.
‘Both the Department for Education and Ofsted have recognised that teacher workload is having a negative impact on recruitment and retention, so asking them to give up more of their free time than they already do is not going to help.’