Curriculum Leadership

7. Arranging in-service training

Over the last ten years in-service training for teachers (INSET) has become something of a market place with LEA advisers, colleges of education and consultants of all kinds competing for the funds at schools' disposal.

All schools will have someone acting as an INSET co-ordinator and all schools should have a policy to ensure resources are used equitably. In larger schools each subject area will have its own INSET strategy mainly aimed at the specialists who teach that subject. In smaller ones the curriculum leader will be responsible for identifying needs with non-specialists as the main recipients.

Evaluating colleagues' strengths and weaknesses requires great tact and diplomacy for reasons already given, especially if it involves observing and commenting upon other teachers' practice. The less formality in such situations the better: indeed, in some schools where it is common for teachers to be in and out of each others' classrooms there may be no need for time-tabled observation at all.

Finding good providers may be even more difficult. In the past this was the duty of LEA advisers or teachers' centre wardens. As in the case of visits recommendation plays a very important part but there will always be an element of risk when using a new provider for the first time. The curriculum leader may well choose to organise sessions themselves as the main areas for improvement are likely to be just those areas of expertise - subject knowledge and understanding, resources, assessment, for example - which are the curriculum leader's own particular strengths.