St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, in Hounslow, London, suggested children could be sent home at 12.45pm on Fridays in order to tackle funding cuts.
Parents of children at the school were told to “actively start” to investigate childcare options for Friday afternoons from September 2018.
“Understandably there was some concern about the implications of closure of the school on Friday afternoon,” she wrote. “This is a new departure which school and parents as partners need to take forward.”
Corley explained that if the shortened week were to go ahead, Friday afternoon clubs led by a professional organisation would be run at the school until 3.15pm.
The cost of places at these clubs would be £4 per child per week for one child, £7.50 for two children and £10 for three children.
However there would only be 150 places planned, which would stretch to only half of the school’s pupils.
“As a priority we will establish criteria for the allocation of places which are likely to give priority to pupil premium and other disadvantaged children,” Corley wrote.
Concluding the letter, the chairperson wrote: “At this stage we would ask that you actively start to investigate childcare options for your children on Friday afternoons (from 12.45pm) from September 2018.
“A particular focus will be setting in place the arrangements for Friday afternoon clubs and the allocation of places and we will consult with you on how these places are offered.”
Some parents with children at the school were unhappy about the suggestion.
One mum, Nimalika Motha, wrote on Facebook: “As the school will appreciate, looking for childcare is a difficult task. I have spent my time this morning calling different childcare providers and looking for options about changing my work contract - I am not sure that the messaging during this process is very clear or fair.”
Another mum, Emma White, acknowledged the difficulty of childcare and felt that her child losing out on Friday afternoon in education was detrimental.
“Surely the main problem is that our children will be receiving 10% less education than their peers?” she wrote.
“I don’t believe this will have no impact when they get to secondary school. The school day already seems ‘crammed’ and to have less time to do all the tasks that the teachers have to get done is just insane.”
When HuffPost UK contacted the school for comment, they shared a statement they had also posted on their Facebook page that read: “At this stage no decision has been made and the governors, following the consultation with the parents, are now consulting with staff.
“There’s a lot more reflection and prayer to go until a decision is made.”
Due to the lack of funding, the school staff explained they have already tried to make cuts elsewhere.
They have cancelled music classes, asked parents to contribute towards basic classroom essentials and not filled staff posts that became vacant, including a part-time teacher and parent support worker.
The school funding crisis is at “breaking point” according to The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT). They state on their website: “The impact of real terms cuts mean that we need at least an extra £2 billion each year if schools are to avoid having to cut staff or offer fewer subject choices for students.
“The Department for Education have reprioritised funding from the existing education budget to get an extra £1.3 billion into schools but it’s nowhere near enough and the Chancellor doesn’t seem to be listening.
“Investing in education should be seen an investment in the future and not as a burden on public spending.”
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