Ashby Fields Primary Proposes Finishing School At Lunchtime On Friday To Help Teachers With Workload

Teachers would have more time for preparation and marking.

A primary school is proposing a four-and-a-half day week for kids, to give Friday afternoons off for teachers to have time for preparation and marking.

Headteacher Jacqui Johnson from Ashby Fields Primary in Daventry, Northamptonshire, wants to avoid staff from “burning out”, however the plan has reportedly received a mixed reaction.

In a letter to parents, Johnson wrote that the recruitment and retention of high quality teachers is a “national problem and one that has a direct, major impact on, not only our children’s education, but their wellbeing and confidence”.

She said teachers were working, on average, 60 hours a week and many teachers, despite their love of teaching, cannot manage their workload. She proposed finishing at 1.15pm on a Friday.

The plans aren’t set in stone, and a consultation is running run until 4 May.

The letter stated that the school’s timetable currently delivers 27.5 hours of classroom hours per week. They said the Department for Education recommends that Key Stage One children receive 21 hours of lesson time per week and Key Stage Two, 23.5 hours per week.

“So even after removing two hours from a Friday afternoon, we are still comfortably above the guidelines,” Johnson continued. Addressing childcare, the headteacher also said they would be able to offer an after-school club from 1.15pm for those parents who are unable to pick up their children.

Commenting on the idea, a Department for Education spokesperson said the education secretary’s priority was to work with teachers to ensure the profession remained “attractive and rewarding”. “We recognise the pressures that teachers can face, particularly regarding workload, and we are working with the profession, unions and Ofsted to strip away work that does not add value and keeps staff from doing what really matters,” they said, according to the BBC.

Kelly Holmes, whose daughter attends Ashby Fields, told the Sun she wasn’t happy with the proposed changes, saying: “They’re making working parents pay for extra childcare and we will have to fight it out for places. Fourteen days our children are going to lose over the course of an academic year.”

However other parents reportedly said at a meeting on 25 April that if it was “managed well, it should work”.

Back in June 2017, a primary school in Leicestershire, said it was considering finishing lessons at lunchtime on Friday, due to budget cuts. HuffPost UK asked our Facebook audience what they thought, with some saying that this is a good idea and others criticising the plans.

One parent, whose child went to the school, was outraged. “This is my children’s school. Aside from the fact that I am a single parent who works (in education no less) and trying to find childcare will be expensive etc they are stopping my children having an education. They are cutting 9.5% of the education! It’s a disgrace.”

However other parents didn’t see a problem with it. One mum wrote: “Our son’s school finishes at 1.05pm on a Friday. Have done for years. The staff are in school until 4pm, the three hours they have without structured lessons are used for 1-1 and small group work if needed.”

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

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