Schools are allowed six days during the current school year in order to facilitate inservice training for teachers in respect of the revised primary curriculum. Under the school development planning initiative all schools are allowed a further day. This represents a total of approximately 170,000 teaching days. Due to the scale of the inservice programme and the fact that it is necessary to ensure that all the teachers concerned attend core training in these important programmes, there is no feasible alternative at present to holding such core training during school time. The training, however, is organised so as to cause as little disruption as possible to the school and as much advance notice as possible is provided to allow schools and families make appropriate arrangements.
In addition to the training for these initiatives, a significant number of inservice courses for primary teachers take place outside school hours. In many cases, courses at local level take place at night and may be organised for individual teachers, schools or clusters of local schools.
However, I am keenly aware of concerns over any disruption in the school year. I assure parents and school management that, in consultation with the interested parties, my Department is actively trying to find ways to minimise disruptions. This is being done in the context of a broad examination of new in-service models both at primary and post-primary level.