longer school day, looking for teachers views.

(43 Posts)
5madthings Fri 11-Apr-14 13:29:09

Hi, not a teacher but a parent, my elder two boys are in yrs 10 and yr 7 at high school, last year it became an academy, parents had no say in this. We were taken over by the Inspiration Trust, Rachel de Souza came and gave a lovely speach... since them there have been , any changes, no consultation amd the latest one is tjat as of sept the school day will be umtil 5pm three days a week, compulsory. For sports, hobbies and 'enrichment' activites ans independent study.

These 'clubs' will be run by current teachers and ta's, with the excpetion of sport where outside agencies being brought in.

As a paremt I am not happy abotu this, my boys will now leave at 7:30am and give traffic wont be home til 6pm. On the oen hand the free (no cost to paremts mentioned so far) is good as it enables many kods access to stuff they wouldtn otherwisee get and soemparents are happy of the free childcare.

I am not happy withthe compulsory nature of it and the impact on our family time, we made the choice (and sacrfices along with it re where we bought a house etc) to have a sahp, me, amd we dont need these extra hours.

My feeling is that its not fair on the teachers, whenare they gping to do marking and planning?! I have no idea if they will be paid more, I suspect not.

I am trying to see the positives and know that ds2 will enjoy the extra sport, ds1 will hate it. Itis unclear how much choice the students will have over what activities they do and how places will be allocated.

But I cant help but feel its not good for the staff, I dont want overworked, burnt out teachers teaching my kids! And i feel for them,esp those with young families.

Tbh I am quite disillusioned with the changes beign made to the education system but there deosnt seem much we can do other than change school, not really an option.

Am I right to be worried and concerned, or does this kind of thing work well and does it benefit the students? The insoiration trust have put a good spin on it amd are promoting it as very good for the students, I am feelign very pissed off that we as parents have no say or choice in wether our children attend.

I just wanted the views of teachers, maybe soem reassurance?

Sorry for typos being clambered on by toddler!

Lilaclily Fri 11-Apr-14 13:31:23

I'd be concerned when homework would get done

Would there be an option to do homework instead of the sporting activities?

I went to an independent school and did prep from 5-6.30pm a night and was home at 7pm which worked out fine because I'd done all my homework

5madthings Fri 11-Apr-14 13:34:47

There will be twp hours over the week to do homework, but still some to do at home. That Is one of my concerns as well, plus asannoying as homework can be I actully like to see what my children are doing! It feels like more seperstion between home and school, so much for education being a partnership between parents and school.

We actually looked at independent schools, the longer school dau was one of the main reasons we didnt choose it!

5madthings Fri 11-Apr-14 13:37:11

The extra time will be 3-5pm enrichment activities on tues, then on wed and thu one our of independent study and one hour of sport. They will not get all their homework done in those two one hour sessions.

Ds2 will have more choice over the sports and hobbies he gets to do but ds1 who will be in yr 11 will only be allowed to do sport.

BirdieWhirlie Fri 11-Apr-14 13:40:46

That's a major change from what you signed up for when your DC started at the school. I'd be worried about it for a lot of the reasons you mentioned... teachers' hours; general burnout so the quality of the clubtime may be affected with a tired, grumpy underpaid TA in charge; when does homework happen; intrusion on family time, etc.

Is changing schools an option? Have you looked around?

What do other parents think? I can see how this may suit some families very well. But it does not suit yours.

MyDHhasnomemory Fri 11-Apr-14 13:41:20

I would be concerned about this too. School day is long enough for kids I think. Plus huge expectations on the staff.

5madthings Fri 11-Apr-14 13:53:13

Re chsnging schools, we actually moved ds1 to this high school from a closer one at the end of yr8 due to bullying, so no way woukd we go back to that school. We chose this school as it is smaller, better pastoral support and it seemed nice, the boys are both doing well and I am happy with the school, but the academy status and the way they seem to be able to do whatever they want is really worrting me.

I am worried re staff leaving and it losing the good pastoral support system it has.

Other schools, one is catholic, which we are not and the other has falling roll numbers and an awful reputation.

I think its too long a day and yes it encroaches on family life, my dp works most weekemds but on some weekdays he finishes at 4pm so the boys get to spend that time with him, even stuff like in the summer straight after school we sometimes head to the beach (joys of norfolk living) or we can nip to town or the boys both enjoy cooking so often get involved with cooking dinner etc. Or we go swimming or bike riding or various other activities as well as just chilling out! None of that will be possible as they will be home too late. Also I have three youngerchildren, the youngest two are in bed by 7pm so will only see their siblings for an hour a day. It sounds daft but it will really impact on our family time, we chose tohave a sahm precisely so we wouldnt need after school care! Andnow its being forced on us.

Ds2 is in bed by 8pm to get up for 6:30 so will see him two hours after school when it will be straight in to dinner, any homework, shower etc. He will be tired I know. Ds1 will be fine with the longer day but hate the sport.

BirdieWhirlie Fri 11-Apr-14 13:56:51

None of your concerns are daft, and I doubt you're the only one who has them.

Changing schools isn't a great solution in the best of circumstances, and you really don't have anywhere to change to, it sounds like.

Where can you take your complaints?

5madthings Fri 11-Apr-14 14:14:36

Well they have a parents forum where you can ask questions etc but essentially this is a done deal, they have the funding for it and every other school that is part if the inspiration trust has enforced these hours.

I will be raising my concerns,going to compose a good email when small people are in bed!

But basically this is what they do, and it's like it or lump it. We can't move ds1 as he is in yr 10, and we have three younger kids, 9,6 and 3 so will be looking at other options for high schools, I will see how ds2 gets on.

I just think it's outrageous that academies can do this with no consultation or flexibility. In normal schools you have the head teacher and governors and then the local authority to complain to, in an academy it's just the head and he has told us to address all emails/correspondence to his PA. I don't know where you can take it after the head teacher?

5madthings Fri 11-Apr-14 14:23:06

Looking on the school website there is no mention of the governing body...

Complaints to ht and then to governors bit no idea who they are (old governing body was disbanded) ans then you have to complain to Secretary of state for education..

HolidayCriminal Fri 11-Apr-14 14:41:23

Oh gosh, 5things, I know exactly which school your kids are at (I know you're in Norwich area & workmate has been telling some of the same story).

And she's horrified about the school day change. There are a lot of village schools in catchment, friend's village has no pavement or street lights between drop-off & home.

Maybe parents need to present a united front but I hear the DeSouza trust is pretty impervious to parental opinion.

It's worth knowing that at least some of their other schools does NOT have such a long day; you may not be able to make them change with protest, but perhaps could make them justify selves better why this school needs this hours & not their other Academies, and that might make them rethink.

5madthings Fri 11-Apr-14 14:47:55

If your friend wants to be put in contact with me I can pm you, it may help if we get together as a group?

Its harder to have contact with other parents once kids are at high school, esp as they travel by bus.

I have a few who I will be talking to.

Interesting that not all their academies do it, when I looked online even the primaries that a're part of their trust have the longer day!

Which ones don't have the longer day?

I am happy for them to offer these extra clubs and aactivities, they already offer some which my boys go to, but they are still home before 5pm, more like 4;30pm and they choose to go! Big difference!

TheGruffalo2 Fri 11-Apr-14 15:32:51

As a teacher I would be concerned when all my marking and prep are to be done. The 3pm - 5.30pm doesn't cover it, but if I can't start it until after then I'll still be working until midnight. Plus you need to add the prep time for the sessions after main school time. Clubs and activities still need time to plan, prepare for and find resources.

As a parent I'd be concerned about my freedom to chose my child's extra curricular activities. My eldest daughter dances three evenings a week at a specialist performing arts school. Yes, they could get dance teachers in to school, but not of the calibre and ones able to provide the exam boards and specific grades she attends. My middle child isn't sporty and enforced extra sports would be their idea of hell (they get plenty of other physical activity) so I would hate them having to do that. And my youngest is just shattered by 3pm, they need down time and then homework.

Nocomet Fri 11-Apr-14 15:46:13

What would actually happen if your DC just walked out the gates at the end of last lesson?

Picturesinthefirelight Fri 11-Apr-14 15:48:52

I would be unhappy for the same reasons as Gruffalo. They would not be able to provide the calibre & level of dance classes for dd

She now goes to a full time dance school where the school day is 9am-6 pm & it's very hard going but her choice as she chose to apply to a specialist vocational school.

The scho she neatly went to finished at 4pm which is plenty late enough.

Nocomet Fri 11-Apr-14 15:53:39

DDs bus takes an hour, getting home at 6pm makes guides, choir and gymnastics difficult and swimming would have finished.

For us it would simply be a non starter. Even the local private school accepts some Guides leave early.

Also the private school feed their pupils before prep.

5madthings Fri 11-Apr-14 16:17:48

Gah did a long post but it disappeared, yes the long day makes swimming, scouts, sea cadets etc practically impossible.

Apparently if your child already does an out of school activity that counts as enrichment such as music or dance you can ask for dispensation and they may be allowed to go... How they will police that I do not know!

Good point re quality of the clubs, no offence to teachers bit it's not their job to provide specialists after school care and clubs and I hasn't thought about the extra planning hthye will need to do for the clubs as well as their usual marking and planning, shit for the teachers sad

5madthings Fri 11-Apr-14 16:20:21

Currently school day starts at 8:40 they get a 15 min break in morning and half hour for lunch but technically it's only ten mins amd 25mins as a 'moving bell' goes five mins before the end of break and lunch and students are eexpected to be moving on toward their next class.

Ds2 is aalways starving when he gets home, by 4pm normally and has behaviour issues if he doesn't eat enough, low blood sugar related. I guess I send hI'm with extra snacks with his packed lunch? But not sure when he will be able to eat them..

Picturesinthefirelight Fri 11-Apr-14 16:29:48

At dds school they have a 15 min break at 3.45pm & the school provides juice & a biscuit

Tea is served at 6pm for boarders & day students like dd who want to eat before the journey home.

She would have detested the sport.

moobaloo Fri 11-Apr-14 16:31:20

Personally I think that making a longer school day compulsory is horrendous and dictator-like and I would be picking my children up at the normal time when they had finished their lessons (which was all I sent them to school for). As a parent I would then be responsible for ensuring they did their homework and as many or as few extra curricular activities as suited them.

It is a good idea for working parents or for poorer families who may not be able to access childcare or after school clubs (scouts, singing etc. all add up) BUT as mentioned this should not be the teachers responsibility on top of all their other jobs. Therefore they should get in extra people to manage the after school section whilst teachers do their work/go home surely?

And the after school part should be ENTIRELY OPTIONAL!

SuburbanRhonda Fri 11-Apr-14 16:32:10

It's the compulsory bit that's concerning.

What is amusing is that when academies first started appearing, the DfE said students and parents would not even notice any difference in the day to day running of the school. I never believed that for a moment and I'm sure lots of other parents didn't either. But you can't do anything until you're proved to be right. And it's a huge concern that the next level up after the head teacher is Michael Gove. At least with an LA-run school you can complain to them.

I would do what PP have suggested and try to get other parents together. Failing that, write to the school saying you prefer to do your own enrichment and have your DCs come home at the normal time.

AnimalsAreMyFriends Fri 11-Apr-14 16:45:42

Multi academy trusts do not generally have a governing body in the traditional sense - they have a board of trustees - this would be your port of call after the HT

A quick google gives
Trustees

You need to get as many parents putting their objections in writing & roping in local MP, paper etc - the last thing a money making trust wants, is poor publicity.

I mentioned the arrangements to ds1 (your ds1's Kentish pal wink ) and he looked horrified at the idea of enforced sport!!

ernesttheBavarian Fri 11-Apr-14 16:56:37

Sounds terrible. I would be very unhappy. My dc go to school in Germany and are home around 1! But that's by the by.

Here however, there is a strong tradition, starting already in the kindergartens of basically a parent council. Every year each class votes for 2 reps (it's all official, the teachers have to leave the room while the parents vote). The are regular meeting ban staff and the 2 reps and any parent with a school related problem can go to the reps who will also involve/inform the other parents if appropriate and also liaise with the school. It means we find out all the information and know we can get support if needed.

While you might not have that, (maybe you do?) it works very well and you could get basically the whole school united to try and combat this. Possibly even the teachers too. I can't imagine (m)any of them are thrilled at the plans either.

Good luck. Sounds mad.

TheReluctantCountess Fri 11-Apr-14 17:00:31

I'm glad I don't work at that school.

puddymuddles Fri 11-Apr-14 17:41:00

Glad I don't work at that school and this is another reason I detest academies and would never ever send my children to one. I think you are right to be concerned.

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