Parents slam school as head teacher proposes ending week early on Fridays

Parents have criticised a primary school which is planning to help teachers relax by sending kids home at lunchtime on Fridays.

The controversial proposals were revealed in a letter sent to the mums and dads of all 400 pupils.

The head teacher is proposing to end the school week at 1.15pm – when most parents are in the middle of their working day.

School chiefs say teachers need the extra time to “maintain a healthy work-life balance”.

But parents are angry that they will have to leave work early or pay for childcare because of the move.

Kelly Holmes, whose daughter attends the school, said: “What do they intend to do to accommodate working parents?

“Fourteen days our children are going to lose over the course of an academic year.”

Another dad added: “What the school is basically saying to parents is that teachers need more time to chill.

“It’s ridiculous, parents work just as hard as teachers but most of us don’t have anywhere near the number of days holiday as teachers.

“They should work in the real world and then they’ll realise just how lucky they are.”

The plans have been announced by bosses at Ashby Fields Primary School in Daventry, Northants.

They want to end the week more than two hours early following a public consultation which will be published in May.

The school says recruiting and retaining high-quality teachers is a national problem that has “a direct, major impact on not only our children’s education, but their well-being and confidence.”

This is being caused by “the huge workload that ensures teachers work an average of 60 hours a week during term time and through their holidays to keep up.”

The letter read: “Many teachers, despite their love of frontline teaching, cannot manage this workload and maintain a healthy work-life balance, and subsequently resign.”

The school is proposing to cut two hours from its current 27.5 weekly timetable.

The Department of Education recommends Key Stage 1 children receive 21 hours of lessons a week, with 23.5 hours for Key Stage 2.

A joint statement by the school’s chairman of governors, Paul Davies, and headteacher Jacqui Johnson said: “As part of the on-going commitment to continuous school improvement, the senior leadership team and governors of Ashby Fields Primary School have been discussing possible ways to enhance the quality of teaching and learning at the school to ensure we meet with needs of our pupils and invest in our staff.

“One possibility is to review the structure of the school week in relation to an earlier closure time on Friday and as a result access additional staff development time to enhance the quality of teaching and learning.

“As a result, the governors agreed to undertake an informal consultation to gather the opinions of parents before considering any next steps.

“Governors are meeting on Thursday to review the feedback from parents and to consider if this option should be further developed as part of a formal proposal for the future.

“Should this proposal be seen as a favourable option then the Local Governing Board will take it to the InMat Trust Board for consideration.”

The school, which caters for 400 boys and girls between 4-11, received a good rating in its last Ofsted inspection.

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