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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Milo Boyd

Teachers blast ‘extra’ inset day before Christmas as 'token gesture'

Teachers have hit out at an "extra" inset day on the Friday before Christmas announced yesterday.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said that term can finish a day early for pupils, with teachers having an inset training day instead.

He told MPs that would mean teachers and heads do not have to "engage with track and trace issues" throughout the festive break.

They had been expected to spend the first six days of their Christmas holidays helping with contact tracing and informing families who need to self-isolate.

Now that period of post-school duty has been shortened by slotting in an extra inset day on the last day of term, meaning teachers will be free for festivities from December 24.

The announcement of the bonus day off did not go down universally well however.

One headteacher, posting under the name 'Jules', questioned why teachers were being made to do track and trace in the first place.

Children would not be at school on the last day of term under the plans (Rob Browne/Media Wales)

“Since when has being forced to work during your annual leave, doing a job another agency has been paid billions to do and still failed miserably at, been considered ‘a proper break’," he wrote.

"P*** off DfE.”

Others pointed out that the inset day would be taken from one that could be used later in the year.

"It’s appalling," one teacher wrote on Twitter.

"Have an inset day and then add on another day somewhere else? 

"Sorry everyone, your summer term now doesn’t end on Friday 18th July, so drag yourself in on the Monday as well?!!

Teachers may have to do a little tracking and tracing during Christmas holidays (Rob Browne/Media Wales)

"Meanwhile kids up and down the country will be spending the holiday killing granny."

Principal Sam Strickland noted that it may be difficult to get a training day organised in so few days.

“INSET days are not some magical duvet day where the profession gets to watch Netflix for the day," he wrote, as reported by The Sun.

“Just politely putting it out there for those uncertain about what they are.

"They’re high level training events requiring a lot of planning.”

Mrs Butler, a school governor and teacher said: “INSET is professional training for staff.

“It takes many months of careful planning to get the delivery right. If you intend for staff to finish a day early then say so, INSET is NOT a day off work.”

Yesterday Mr Gibb told MPs that the Government wants there to be a "clear six days" ahead of Christmas Eve so teachers and heads do not have to "engage with track and trace issues" throughout the festive break.

The minister's comments came after a headteachers' union said giving schools the flexibility to switch to remote learning for the final few days of term next week is an "obvious and straightforward solution".

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT school leaders' union, had warned that schools could see a "steep drop" in pupil attendance next week as parents seek to prioritise family safety ahead of Christmas.

The Government in its Covid-19 Winter Plan last month had told schools in England not to change their Christmas holidays or close early this term.

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