School to Close at Lunchtime in Money Saving Scheme
Danemill Primary School in Enderby, Leicestershire, has recently announced that it will shortening its working week, closing at lunchtime every Friday. Though pupils will probably be delighted by this news - less time in class, a longer weekend - parents have reportedly been outraged, claiming that their working week will be disrupted, as they will be forced to collect their children early from school.
The school explained its motives in a letter sent out to all parents, in which it explained that the change was necessary to save money, and that it would allow teachers to compose lessons plans when they would otherwise be teaching.
The primary school, which is listed here on our directories page, has about 400 pupils, aged between 3 and 11, has defended it actions; and in a message to parents, the head teacher Dawn White Tracey Lawrence said:
`Our prime concern is to provide your child with quality first teaching to enable them to achieve their full potential. ; `In order to do this in the current economic climate we propose making the following adjustment which will have the least impact on your child`s education.`
`Effective from October 24, 2017 the school day would end on Friday afternoons at 1.05pm, lunchtime and Wrap Around Hours will remain unchanged on Fridays. It is good practice to provide teachers with Planning and Preparation Time (PPA) and this is covered by our Learning Support assistants during the week. you will be able to pick up your child from school at 1.05pm on Friday afternoons.`
`However we appreciate this may initially cause problems for some parents and carers and we will offer a limited number of enrichment activities for the children on Friday afternoons, these sessions will be free of charge in the first instance and will finish at 3.20pm.`
Many angry parents have pointed out the recent (and notorious) cases of parents being criminalized for taking their children out for school for a holiday. Susan Hobster, a parent of one pupil at the school vented angrily on Facebook:
`Hold on, I thought every hour counted and we are not allowed to take our children on holiday but it`s ok to miss a couple of hours each week? Can`t have it both ways.`
It seems like the casual excision of about 15% of the time pupils spend at Danemill Primary School can have nothing but a detrimental effect on their education. We can only hope that this is an isolated case, and the truncation of the working school week does not extend to other schools.
In the UK secondary school pupils are usually schooled from 9:00am, until 3:30pm. There are 195 compulsory school days per year, which amounts to 1170 hours across the three terms. In America children in middle school (which covers the same age range as UK secondary school pupils) begin their lessons at 8:00am, and finish at 3:00pm. In Holland school hours are from 8.30am until 3.30pm; but with an hour and a half for lunch, and only a half day on Wednesday, their schooling time is amongst the lowest in Europe.
In Shanghai high school students put in 12 hours a day - an astonishing quota, and one that perhaps explains how they top the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment - a worldwide study measuring scholastic performance in mathematics, science, and reading) rankings. A typical school day consists of nine hours before dinner, after which pupils complete a 3 hour evening class. With such a grueling schedule it is expected that all pupils suffer from stress, and time slots are scheduled for exercise, and even eye massages!
Comparing this arduous efficiency to the UK schooling system feels a little embarrassing - we were ranked 26th in the latest 2012 PISA rankings, behind France, Germany, Estonia and Poland. Cutting school hours is taking part of our children`s education from them. This may be only one school, but it could set a dangerous precedent.