Among the educational initiatives introduced by central government during the 1980s was the non-contact day, first known as ‘Baker Days’, after the then Secretary of State for Education and Science. Training was increasingly directed towards schools rather than individuals, being linked to school development rather than ‘personal’ and professional development (Eraut, 1985). It is perhaps a sign of the times that such a recently-instituted mechanism for effecting edu­ cational change should so rapidly have become another ‘given’ in the evolving pattern of school-centred INSET, despite wide variations in practice. Such days could hardly have had less auspicious beginnings coming as they did at the end of a lengthy teachers’ dispute which resulted in the imposition of a new code of pay and conditions of service that included a new definition of a teacher’s working year:

A teacher employed full-time . . . shall be available for work for 195 days in any year, of which 190 shall be days on which he may be required to teach pupils in addition to carrying out other duties; and those 195 days shall be specified by his employer, or, if the employer so directs, by the headteacher. (DES, 1987c, part 4, para. 3 (i)(a))

Connor (1989) reminds us that an interesting, if temporary, feature of the early documentation was an absence of definition about the use to which the five days might be put. In the circumstances such days became increasingly specified for training and staff development.