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Teachers: Training

Volume 495: debated on Tuesday 30 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the answer of 1 June 2009, Official Report, column 284W, on teachers: training, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of teachers’ professional bodies and industry on teachers’ continuing professional development; and what recent consideration he has given to teachers’ participation in continuing professional development during school holidays. (282489)

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families has regular discussions with representatives of teachers’ professional bodies and industry to discuss teachers’ continuing professional development (CPD). He has not given recent consideration to teachers participating in CPD during school holidays.

Under the provisions of the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD), teachers are contracted to work under the direction of a head teacher for 1,265 hours over 195 days. They are required to teach and perform other duties for 190 of those days and are to be available for deployment at the head’s discretion for the other five days to perform duties other than teaching. These five days are commonly known as school closure days and schools can and do use them for a variety of CPD/school planning activities. The timing and organisation of these days is entirely for individual local authorities, governing bodies, and head teachers to determine, but we look to them to be sensitive to local circumstances in deciding which days to choose.

No teacher may be required to work on any Saturday, Sunday or public holiday unless his or her contract of employment expressly provides for this.

In relation to teachers participating in CPD during school holidays, there is nothing to prohibit teachers undertaking such activity during those periods. However, head teachers, in carrying out their duties in deploying and managing staff, must have regard to the desirability of teachers being able to achieve a satisfactory balance between the time required to discharge their professional duties and the time required to pursue their personal interests outside work.