What are they?
Extra Personal Days (EPV) or ‘course’ days are days that a teacher can take off during the course of the school year. They are earned through completion of a summer course with an approved organisation (more below).
Types of courses
There are two types of summer courses.
Face to face courses – generally held in schools/education centres. These are run by 1/2 facilitators and a group of teachers attend together and learn from the facilitators. They are run over a 5 day period usually during school hours (or slightly less e.g. 10am – 2pm)
Online – these are done in your own time over the course of the summer holidays. (Some of these courses run for the whole summer while others run for a month or 6 weeks.) They take up to 20 hours to complete and are a combination of modules which are made up of slides/videos, activities/practice and then discussion/forums where you answer questions or share experience of what has been covered so far.
When can you take them?
EPV days are subject to Board of Management approval so all course days have to be approved by the school principal. Some schools have strict policies on when they can be taken e.g. none can be taken in September/June or only one teacher per day etc. A lot can depend on the size of the school (and availability of other staff to look after your class if you are on an EPV day).
How many days?
- 1 course – 3 EPV days
- 2 courses – 4 EPV days
- 3 courses – 5 EPV days
EPV days can also be earned through school based July Provision (more information here.)
Who can take them?
This is where confusion arises as there are no exact rules. All course days are subject to BOM approval. In some schools newly qualified teachers cannot take courses days. (However this is not the case in other schools – I took course days myself in my NQT year.)
In some schools, substitute teachers cannot take course days. In other schools substitute teachers (covering a period of more than 40 days) can take course days.
What happens to your class?
In general, classes are split for course days. Sometimes (depending on the school/class) a support teacher covers the class.
Job share and course days
You are still entitled to take course days if you are job sharing (there may be a school policy on the amount allowed!).
- Can NQT’s take course days? Yes (but it may not be allowed under school policy on EPV days)
- Can teachers covering a maternity leave avail of course days? Yes (once the contract is over 40 days you could be allowed to avail of course days but it is subject to BOM approval and in many schools it will not be allowed)
- If you take an EPV day but end up. sick with a doctors note – do you get the day another time? You can take the day at another time (subject to approval) but it would be best to contact your principal to let him/her know that you are sick and will not be using the course day prior to the day
- Can a principal limit EPV days to 3 per year? Yes (All courses days are up to the Board of Management)
- Can principal deny an EPV day if there is a number of staff members on certified sick leave? Yes. (Usually courses days are on a first come first served basis. In my school it is generally a maximum of 1 per year group but this is not always guaranteed – depending on what is going on in the school at any one time. Safety has to be number one priority.
- Do you need to complete a course the summer you graduate to have days to take? Yes (but as mentioned above – NQT’s are not allowed to take course days in some schools)
- Do you have to submit course certs to principal when asking for EPV days? Yes
- Do schools allow you to take EPV days on the last day of a term? Depends on the school policy/ event etc. (I’m getting married the day after an end of term next year so I will be taking a course day on the last day of a term.)
- Can you take EPV days during dip/Droichead?It is up to the school principal/BOM. (Important to note that if you are granted an EPV day during the dip you need to contact your inspector to let them know you will not be in school that day.)
- Can teachers qualifiying this year apply for the courses without a TC number? Yes. If you contact the course provider they will arrange this for you.
- Are you entitled to sub cover for EPV days? In general no but sub cover may be available for 1/2 teacher schools.
- I’ll be graduating in September am I able to do a course and get EPV days? I don’t think so – you need to be qualified to do the EPV courses.
- How long courses are? In general 5 days (face to face) or 20 hours online.
- Can you use them if you’re subbing? No
- As an NQT can EPV days be used for your sisters wedding? You are entitled to the day off for your sisters wedding (not EPV day – check INTO app)
- If you can only make 4 days of a face to face course will you be certified for EPV days? In general no – you are expected to be present for the 5 days/duration of the course.
Course providers? (and recommendations)
There are tons of providers of summer courses that will qualify for EPV days.
This year I’ll be completing 3 summer courses with the following providers (#gifted);
Other courses I have completed and would recommend:
I complete 3/4 courses every year (only 3 courses can be used to avail of 5 course days). I wouldn’t recommend all the courses that I have completed so these are just the ones I really enjoyed.
Face to Face
- National Children’s Choir (held every second year)
- Drumming Course (I can’t find a link/ information – it was held in Waterford Teachers Centre but that was in 2011/2012).
- Elkan Speech and Language
All of the courses listed with #gifted were given to me free of charge and I wrote a review on each of them on my blog. (However as with everything that I receive – I think it’s important to note that I will only recommend courses and products that I really enjoy and find valuable myself. – I have recommended these courses to all my friends and colleagues as I genuinely loved them!)
- Internet Safety and Cyberbullying Prevention
- Emotional and Mental Health Wellbeing
- Bullying Prevention – Cultivating Friendship and Inclusion in School
- Eatwise for a Happy Healthy Classroom and School
- Food for Thought – Special Food for Special Children
More course providers and information
Check out your local education centre for a list of face to face courses. These courses may be held in the education centre or else in a local primary school. (Some online ones may be listed here too)
- Drumcondra Education Centre
- Limerick Education Centre
- Enriching Education
- Into Learning
- Teacher CPD (PDST)
- CPD College
- Teacher Summer Courses