to be so angry at my DC's primary school for wanting to reduce lunchtime to 45 minutes?

(53 Posts)
BroomstickRider Fri 04-Apr-14 14:11:09

Currently lunchtime is 1 hour, the school want to reduce it to 45 minutes. I am very annoyed about this, but wonder if I am being a little PFB, over the top and unreasonable? Sorry, this is long.
A bit of background: head left after Christmas suddenly due to illness. One of the first things the acting head did (I will call her Govelet for the sake of anonymity) was keep the children in at breaktimes for 3 consecutive days and have them sit in the hall while she lectured them on there being too much bad behaviour in the school and too many detentions given out etc shock. This may be influencing my opinion of her.
I don't like the 45 min idea and I think my DS in particular will find it hard because he is a slow eater and an anxious child who finds the constant testing stressful and I think he really needs that amount of time at lunchtime to be able to relax and play. There is no afternoon playtime in KS2. I am already upset that an 8 year old child should be so acutely aware of what NC level he is in every subject and that some days he will go to school nearly in tears worrying about whether he will do well enough in a test to level up. He is a bright child and doing well and there is no pressure from me : I have told him I couldn't care less what level he is.
There was a consultation meeting last night about this and another issue. I raised the importance of play and how I believed most children would benefit from an hour at lunchtime. Govelet told me this wasn't true and that she knows of a child who struggles socially and eats his lunch in 10 minutes and then has 50 minutes to get through in the playground. That particular child happens to be the son of the governor she was sat next to, whispering to now and again in the meeting. angry (I know from a previous conversation with his wife) Another governor claimed that it is proven that shorter lunchtimes improve afternoon learning but when I asked about the studies it turned out to be just his opinion.
Am I being PFB? I have a DD in school too but am less concerned about the effects on her because she finds school easier at the moment. I want to write a letter with references to studies supporting the value of play and another to the SENCO with reference to the value of play on mental health, but should I just let it go? I sort of feel like they've made their decision and wonder if I'm getting a little out of perspective on how terrible it is? Sorry for the essay!

WooWooOwl Fri 04-Apr-14 14:16:00

Tbh, some children do find an hour at lunch too much. I work lunchtimes at school, and there's often children coming and asking how much longer till the bell with 15/20 minutes to go because they've had enough. But then there are other children like your ds, who would happily have an extra half hour and still be up for more.

Some children eat their lunch in less than ten minutes, some take up to forty.

I don't think there's ever going to be a perfect solution that suits all children.

Is there a behaviour issue in the school that the new head has good reason to want to clamp down on?

HPparent Fri 04-Apr-14 14:17:37

You are lucky - my DD's secondary has a 35min lunch break. Not enough time for all to get served and eat - they have to bring lunch and eat standing in the playground or go hungry.

ReallyTired Fri 04-Apr-14 14:18:24

I suspect that Govelet wants to pay the dinner ladies less by having shorter lunch times. She will also be able to charge more for the after school club if you school has one.

redskyatnight Fri 04-Apr-14 14:18:44

It sounds like you are more worried about the pressure put on your DS than the lunch time? Why not address that?

HoldOnHoldOnSoldier Fri 04-Apr-14 14:20:39

I think 45 mins sounds reasonable enough.

Goblinchild Fri 04-Apr-14 14:28:37

I don't think it's the pay angle, it will be wedging more curriculum time into the school day and restricting the amount of free time, thus cutting down on lunchtime behaviour incidents.
New brooms tend to want to make their mark veru emphatically, is your school due an OFSTED or have you had one recently?

Morgause Fri 04-Apr-14 14:29:39

Shorter lunchtimes are often introduced because of bad behaviour at lunchtime play, in my experience.

A good thing.

BroomstickRider Fri 04-Apr-14 14:29:48

Thanks for the responses so far. Yes, redskyatnight you are probably right. I see this as another way of putting pressure on the children. Unfortunately, DS's teacher has been off for weeks and weeks, otherwise I'd have talked to her already but maybe I should write a letter regarding pressure rather than the lunchtime specifically.

Moreisnnogedag Fri 04-Apr-14 14:30:11

I don't think its that bad really but then in my school we had a similar time for lunch with a longer school day.

Tbh I think you do seem to be taking this to heart a bit much. I personally would let it go.

soverylucky Fri 04-Apr-14 14:31:03

45 minutes seems enough time to me.

Moreisnnogedag Fri 04-Apr-14 14:31:48

I'm also guessing that if the head departed suddenly and your DS teacher has been off that behaviour may be a particular problem at the school. Apologies if that's not the case.

BroomstickRider Fri 04-Apr-14 14:31:55

Goblinchild school requires improvement. They are very eager to improve the Ofsted rating and think this will give more learning time.

YABU - 45 mins is plenty and after all, if kids get into mischief at school it's usually at break or lunch.

DS is year 7 so just started secondary - they get 30 mins. Less time for trouble is only a good thing in my eyes smile

SirChenjin Fri 04-Apr-14 14:33:23

Lunch breaks here are 45 mins, always have been. No problems reported, kids functioning well, everyone happy.

BroomstickRider Fri 04-Apr-14 14:34:16

I don't know why DS's child is off but I know another teacher is off with stress. I don't think behaviour is a particular problem, not in the classes my children are in anyway.

Goblinchild Fri 04-Apr-14 14:34:21

'Goblinchild school requires improvement. They are very eager to improve the Ofsted rating'

Thought so. if they got that on a recent OFSTED, the inspectors will be checking up in a few months to see what measures have been implemented. Especially if one of the level 3 judgements was on behaviour and safety of pupils.

Goblinchild Fri 04-Apr-14 14:35:10

Most of the schools I teach in have 45-50 min lunchbreaks.

BroomstickRider Fri 04-Apr-14 14:35:19

DS's teacher I mean! Sorry.

BroomstickRider Fri 04-Apr-14 14:37:56

Behaviour and safety were good on the report but the rest required improvement.

JumpingJackSprat Fri 04-Apr-14 14:38:11

Yours isn't the only child they have to consider.

Goblinchild Fri 04-Apr-14 14:40:19

So, need to improve attainment/achievement. 15 min a day is an hour and a quarter extra a week.

BroomstickRider Fri 04-Apr-14 14:40:29

Yes, JumpingJackSprat but child of a governor is equally not the only child to consider.

CoffeeTea103 Fri 04-Apr-14 14:40:52

Yabu to be so angry over this. It's a little ott. 45 mins is plenty long for a break. They can't cater just to one child.

Chocotrekkie Fri 04-Apr-14 14:44:45

I would say that at a guess the behaviour at lunchtime isn't great, results aren't great so an extra hour + a week in lessons will solve both problems.

The new deputy will be under so much pressure to improve things and will be keen to make a difference to possibly apply for the headship if the old one doesn't come back.

45 minutes should be more than long enough to eat and play and the clamp down on behaviour and the focus on learning will surely benefit your child too.

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