Feedback to the consultation on changes to the school day
Research and progressive thinking suggests that students are more alert and receptive to learning at 10am.
- In response to current research we are looking to push back the start of the school day for students until 9:20.
- We will still provide a free breakfast for students from 8:20 with parents able to drop students at school earlier if needed.
- In order to ensure students are able to leave school at a reasonable time we have amalgamated registration and PREP periods.
- The removal of generic registration means that pupils arrive at school to begin learning straight away, case studies have found that this can have a positive impact on punctuality.
- Our current school day means that if students are in detention, they are kept on site until 16:30 at the latest. We do not propose keeping students on site later than 16:30.
- Assemblies would take place at the end of the day to finish on a high.
- The school day would finish at 16:30 on Tuesday, 16:00 on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and 13:40 on Friday.
- Students will still receive 30 periods of taught lessons each week as they do currently.
- This change is not a motivated by finance.
Response to consultation
We were really pleased to have heard from so many of our community in response to our proposal to make changes to the times of the school day. Of those that expressed a view either way the majority of you supported our proposed changes. Some commented that this showed ‘progressive thinking’ and that the proposal was ‘well thought through’. One parent even commented ‘For our family personally, this would go a long way towards helping my child reach better attendance’ and ‘It would also allow for a more relaxed start to the morning, thus improving my teenagers mood before they even reach school’.
Our favourite response came from a student focus group that commented ‘by leaving later, after other schools, buses will be less busy with school children which would be better for the public’; an unintended benefit we had completely overlooked.
We recognise and acknowledge that not all parents were positive about the proposed changes. We have taken these views into consideration very carefully. Owing to a wide range of affected parties (transport, cleaners, catering etc) we would be unable to run a trial period, as some parents had suggested. However, as with all changes we make, we intend to review the impact and effectiveness throughout the academic year.
Those responses that cited a reason for disagreement fell into a limited number of categories. We have summarised these responses and given an indication as to how many of the respondents this would affect.
Concern: The later finish would mean that during the winter months pupils would be returning home in the dark (10% of responses).
Response: It is understandable and right that parents should be concerned with the safety of their children on their way to and from school. We recognise that the slightly later finish will mean that children will be leaving when it is darker during the winter months. Investigation of the solar calendar leads us to believe that this will be an issue from the middle November to the middle January. This equates to just 6 school weeks of the year. In recognition of this concern, we suggest that the afternoon assembly during this period would be moved so that children were able to leave site by 4:15pm at the latest. We believe that the local area is served very well by street lighting and there should be less pressure on the buses allowing for swifter access.
Concern: As a working parent I want my child to leave home at the same time as me, my morning routine will not allow for this change (7.5% of responses).
Response: We are fully committed to supporting working parents. The proposal sets out a fully catered ‘breakfast club’ to begin at 8:20am, we would support parents should they choose to drop their children at school before this. We are now also considering putting on staffed ‘extra-curricular’ activities in the time before school for those that are interested. The proposed changes should support working parents.
Concern: These changes will interfere with extra-curricular activities and clubs that take place outside of school (6.3% of responses).
Response: We encourage all our pupils to take part in activities outside of school hours. We will continue to run our current extra-curricular activities and will be working with staff and pupils to develop a programme around the new times of the day. Currently, we make bespoke arrangements with some of our pupils to enable them to take part in external sporting activities at a high level; it is anticipated that these arrangements will continue. We regret that some early starting external after school activities may be affected by these changes. In our review of start times for after school activities we found these commonly started between 6 and 7pm.
Concern: School should be fully preparing students for a life of work; part of this should be preparing them to wake up early. These changes would not be representative of the life ahead of them (3.3% of responses).
Response: Ensuring that our pupils make a successful transition to either further education or a career is one of our key drivers. Part of this relies on students achieving to their full potential at GCSE and we feel this is best supported by the changes set out in the proposal. Additionally, research suggests that as we begin to enter adulthood our bodies naturally shift to being more alert earlier in the day. The current pattern of school day timings does not reflect the standard working day.
Concern: Children of Islamic faith would miss a number of prayer times (0.8% of responses).
Response: As a multicultural school we support children of all religions and we could make changes in order to invite pupils to make use of a multifaith prayer room at lunchtime or the end of the school day if required.
The new times of the day will take effect from September 2019 and as a reminder the structure for the week will be as follows.