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Can my son's school shorten the lenght of school day with only 8 weeks notice?

(49 Posts)
notagrannyyet Mon 29-May-06 16:53:21

We have just found out that our son's secondary school will be closing early at 2pm. every Friday afternoon as of the start of the autumn term. Can a school do this at such short notice? The school is in a neighboring village and children travel there in fleets of buses. Mon to Thurs buses will drop the children off at 3.40 as is the case now, but on Friday they will arrive home at 2.30. Many children will come home to an empty house because so many parents work and not all can change their working hours. Next term I will have 2 children at this school 1ds age13 and another who will have just had his 11th birthday. Even though they get on well (most of the time!) I am still worried and more than a little annoyed that the school can just change the school finishing time with so little consideration/consultation with parents.

nothercules Mon 29-May-06 16:54:49

What reasons are there for the change?

alex8 Mon 29-May-06 16:55:43

I always thought that they had to give a years notice of change. But thats with every day changing. Maybe its different if its just one day

bran Mon 29-May-06 16:57:12

Have they given a reason why they want to do this? If enough parents put pressure on them they might at least put it off for a term and give parents more of a chance to sort out alternative child care.

nothercules Mon 29-May-06 17:04:46

It may be because they are unable to staff a full week and they wouldnt have been sure of this for definite until around this time of year.

mousiemousie Mon 29-May-06 17:25:06

Is there an after school club you can use?

popsycal Mon 29-May-06 17:26:00

there is a whole legal procedure for changing the hours of the school day, including a ocnsultation process...

notagrannyyet Mon 29-May-06 17:30:26

The main reason given is that because the school is a High School (11-14) the teachers have no time to get together in their departments to plan etc. Other secondary schools have large numbers of pupils on exam leave thus giving their staff free time during the day. This is a load of c* in my opinion.There as been so little consultation on this and many parents I've spoken to know nothing of the propossed changes.I only found letter about this after a chance searching of my son's school bag!

notagrannyyet Mon 29-May-06 17:35:05

That should read crap in my opinion.

Am going to try and find out more after half term, and will also ring LEA to see if they can do this.

nothercules Mon 29-May-06 17:36:49

Was there no consultation at all? No letters, no mention during parents evening?

Lilymaid Mon 29-May-06 17:50:49

The reason may well be that all teachers are now allowed 1/2 day per week for preparation work.
My DS2's school changed times a couple of years ago and there was a consultation (though they were going to do it anyway, whatever parents thought).

notagrannyyet Mon 29-May-06 18:00:36

As far as I know there was one letter home thats the one I found by chance. This informed us of a parents' meeting at school. I managed to make the meeting but many parents I know did not receive letter. The meeting was poorly attended and I left with the feeling that changes were already 'set in stone'.I did ask if there was to be more consultation but the school seem to think that 1 letter home and 1 poorly attended meeting is enough.

nothercules Mon 29-May-06 18:04:49

I guess if you object you need to state this more clearly and in writing. If noone has objected or very few people have, they could assume everyone else was okay about it. Perhaps a lot of kids didnt give the letter in at home. I know I have to look in ds's bag as he always forgets to give me any letters.

nothercules Mon 29-May-06 18:07:07

What else could the school do? They have sent a letter home and had a meeting for parents.

I am currently trying to write an important policy in my school and would love and need parental input. I got no replies from letters send home in kids bags and our parents evening where I asked for further comments was really poorly attended.

Pixiefish Mon 29-May-06 18:11:10

It could be emergency measures if there is a staff shortage. They can do it then but have to give formal notice to change it permanently

scienceteacher Mon 29-May-06 18:15:13

Autumn term - is that short notice?

notagrannyyet Mon 29-May-06 18:41:50

Is the autumn term short notice? Might depend on whether or not you,ve got 6/7 weeks free over the summer to make arrangements! Sorry that's probably bellow the belt as they say! Out here in the sticks it is.I'm sure the school have been planning this for months. Even though the meeting was poorly attended a school teacher who is also a parent was the most outspoken about the new arrangement.She was furious about having to pay a minder for her own ds on friday afternoons.

notagrannyyet Mon 29-May-06 18:59:44


Realise it is difficult for schools (especially secondary).But they could try Emailing info to parents for a start. I know this wouldnt reach every home but it would certainly get through to some.

scienceteacher Mon 29-May-06 19:03:03

Seriously, who would pay a childminder to look after a secondary aged child (not as a package of looking after younger siblings)?

You are talking about an extra 1.5 hours. If your child is with a minder after 3.30, then why not bring it forward by the extra time; if your child goes home, then what's the big deal?

nothercules Mon 29-May-06 19:03:50

But then parents without email would complain. What is wrong with sending letters home in school bags? Surely a poor turn out and only one or two people objecting must mean no one else is bothered so why cant the school go ahead?

scienceteacher Mon 29-May-06 19:07:34

Just re-read - we are talking about 1h10 extra parental responsiblity...

nothercules Mon 29-May-06 19:09:23

and please remember we dont get paid for those 6 weeks holidays....

notagrannyyet Mon 29-May-06 20:09:43

I work normal school hours so as to fit in with my younger children so don't need afterschool care. would still prefer it if older 2 weren't coming home to a empty house on Fridays(even if it is only for just over an hour).

Also the point I'm trying to make probably not very well is .... How can people object if they don't know anything about the proposed changes ie. They simply didn't receive the ONE letter sent home. I spoke to one mother who's son was away from school the week the letter was sent out. She was very upset she missed the meeting.

It couldn't possibly because the school didn't actually want too many parents at the meeting ..or could it?

Also re Emails to parents. The school could still send letters as well!Not rocket science is it!!

notagrannyyet Mon 29-May-06 20:11:25

Sorry whose son

Weatherwax Mon 29-May-06 20:15:45

As letters dont tend to get home reliably whats wrong with emails and hard copy?

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