INSET days: what are my requirements to attend?


You might be heading back to school from the summer holidays and wondering about the amount of INSET days you will have to attend this academic year. You might think you are being asked to attend an excessive amount or are attending additional training outside your directed hours. 

In this article, we explain what INSET days are, your requirements to attend and what to do if you think you are attending too many.

What are INSET days?

INSET (INSErvice Training days) were introduced in 1988 by the then education secretary Ken Baker so teachers could take part in professional development outside of their standardised 190 days.

Schools can decide how to spread out INSET days across the academic year, so you might attend two at the beginning of the school year, one before Easter and two at the end of the school year. Pupils do not attend school on these days.

Content during INSET days can range from all-staff briefings about your school’s priorities and objectives, safeguarding training, planning lessons and schemes of work to setting up your classroom. Headteachers can decide on the content to be included during training days and it can vary from school to school.

What are my requirements to attend INSET days?

If you are a teacher in a maintained school and your school follows the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) your school must designate five days per year for purposes other than teaching. Each of the five days should be allocated six hours of directed time, even if teachers do not undertake activities for all of that time.

There are examples of schools which use all five days in one week or schools which try and coincide INSET days with elections to reduce school closures. 

Headteachers must ensure these five days are used for training purposes, as otherwise it would be depriving teachers from their right to continuing professional development.

Academies that do not follow the STPCD can decide how many INSET days to hold each year.

We have a selection of articles which look at the topic of directed time in school.

What about if I’m part-time teacher?

If you are employed under the STPCD, paragraph 51.9 of STPCD states:

“…no teacher employed part-time may be required to be available for work on any day of the week or part of any day of the week on which the teacher is not normally required to be available for work under their contract of employment (whether it is for the purposes of teaching pupils and performing other duties or for the sole purpose of performing other duties).”

So, for example, if you do not work on Fridays there is no contractual obligational for you to attend INSET on a Friday.

Where you agree to work on days when you do not normally work, the STPCD includes a provision for additional payment for this working time. The formula for this payment provides, in effect, for part-time teachers to receive 1/1265 of the appropriate full-time pay rate for each hour of additional working time.

Therefore you could engage in discussions with your headteacher as to appropriate payment for the hours worked on the INSET day if you have been asked to attend.

What should I do if I have questions?

Your INSET days should be communicated to you in advance and included in the school calendar. If you think you are being asked to attend too many you contact us for advice and guidance.

If you are unable to attend an INSET day because you are unwell you will have to inform your school in the morning. We have written another article which looks at the topic of sick leave in schools.

We have also published another article which looks at CPD requirements in schools.

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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
While Edapt has sought to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date, it is not responsible and will not be held liable for any inaccuracies and their consequences, including any loss arising from relying on this information. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence. If you are an Edapt subscriber with an employment-related issue, please contact us and we will be able to refer you to one of our caseworkers.