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Do parents have to be consulted about a change to school hours?

(18 Posts)

Just that really, had a lengthy letter yesterday from ds1's school about random school things, on the bottom it says "the governing body have made the decision that school will now finish at 3.30pm".

Now I'm not disagreeing, I just thought parents had to be consulted about things like this. It's only 20 minutes, as they now finish at 3.10 but I thought it was a little strange.

Does anyone know?

deakymom Sat 07-Jun-14 10:47:07

no they dont my dd has just extended hers to 3.00 they are not getting more lesson time they are adding it to lunch!

minniemagoo Sat 07-Jun-14 11:13:41

It's the Board of Management/Governing Body make the decision. Our local second level has moved it's Friday finishing time by 10 minutes as they were finishing the same time as infants at the adjacent primary. The traffic was horrendous.

offtoseethewizard64 Sat 07-Jun-14 11:51:07

I assume that on the basis that the parents elect some of the Governors, the Governors are then empowered to make decisions about the running of the school - same as any other elected party.

Littlefish Sat 07-Jun-14 11:55:59

My understanding is that they don't have to consult parents about the structure within the day ie. break times and lunchtimes, but they do have to consult about changes to the start and finish times of the school day. I think you probably need to phone the local authority to check.

Princessdeb Sat 07-Jun-14 12:02:21

Dear OP,

I'm not sure if they legally have to consult (being a school governor myself I should probably find out!) but I would say it would be good practice to do so and certainly you would expect them to communicate it more clearly than a note at the bottom of a letter covering lots of other issues. At the very least I would expect a specific letter explaining the changes, the rationale behind it and offering the opportunity to discuss it if it caused any problems. What about parents who may have other DC's to collect at 3.30 and for whom the 3.10 finish is vital to allow them to do that? I would not be happy if my DD's school took such a cavalier approach to it.

ShoeWhore Sat 07-Jun-14 12:04:43

Another governor here. Like princess I'm not 100% sure it's compulsory to consult but it is certainly good practice. Our school did consult when pickup time was changed.

Thank you everyone. It is not the parents who elect our governors, the other governors nominate the next governors, parents have no say.

There have been no consultation with parents, though I'm wondering if they have stuck in on the bottom of the letter, hoping people will have given up reading it and won't notice! It isn't an intention, decision has been made.

I will phone our LEA on Monday to check, thanks again.

MrsMaturin Sat 07-Jun-14 14:29:04

Some of the governors will be elected by parents. I agree that good practice would be to consult. Do they not even given a reason for this?

Effic Sat 07-Jun-14 14:32:36

Yes legally they must consult with parents......they don't have to listen to you & can go ahead and do what they want but they do have to consult. The grey area is what that consultation looks like? It can be a little as a sentence hidden away on the website ( we are thinking of doing x......., please contact the chair of govs if you wish to make your views known ) so it doesn't necessarily mean letters home or a meeting.

CharlesRyder Sat 07-Jun-14 14:42:32

I changed the day length for a certain group of children at my school last year.

I had to open a consultation period (I think it was 12 weeks, could have been 6 though). Then after the end of the consultation period I had to give parents a notice period (think this was 3 months).

Sorry, a bit vague, but yes, the consultation and notice period were a legal requirement.

RustyBear Sat 07-Jun-14 14:42:45

No, the legal requirement to consult about changes to the school day was removed a few years ago (I think about 2012) but Governors do have a general duty to "have regard to the views of parents"

RustyBear Sat 07-Jun-14 14:45:29

It was one of a number of changes that have taken place over the last few years, summarised here

CharlesRyder Sat 07-Jun-14 15:26:17

Maybe I did it before they removed the requirement, or maybe my LA were not up to date on the law.

Thank you, some things to think about. I don't necessarily oppose it, in fact it may benefit me in the long run, but I dont like how it's been done, I don't like it when things are done underhand.


offtoseethewizard64 Sat 07-Jun-14 18:13:55

I thought Parent Governors had to be elected by parents. This has been the case in all 3 schools that my children have been at. Parents can nominate themselves for vacancies and then voting forms are sent out to all parents of children at the school to chose who they want. The other Governors ie. co-opted/LA/staff etc seem to be chosen by the HT.

ShoeWhore Sat 07-Jun-14 18:39:42

You're right offtosee - parent governors are elected by parents - there is quite a formal process around it too. LA governors are usually sent to you by the LA. The rest you kind of take whoever you can nab/is prepared to volunteer ime.

Definitely no parent voting here, the last governor announced is universally disliked throughout the school, she's one of "those" parents (!) so I'm sure she wudnt have been voted in, I've never seen a voting form. Ds1 is yr 4.

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