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Split shifts in school to deal with overcrowding -bbc article

(27 Posts)
Erebus Wed 04-Sep-13 19:50:44


Interesting. When I lived in Queensland, Oz, a local high school (12+) did something a bit like this, where the lower half or so of the school started at 7.30am or was it 8 til 2-2.30pm; and the older DC started at 10.30 til 5 I think so the whole school was only in during the central 'core' hours. It means they all got a go on the facilities, and it benefited teenagers, starting at 10.30am, but not hanging around with mates after 2.30pm or 3pm for 2 or 3 hours of potential trouble-time, whilst parents were still at work.

It was very popular.

musicalfamily Wed 04-Sep-13 20:39:32

Our schools running a set of classes between 8am to 2pm and another between 2pm and 8pm for different pupils

I had the above when I was 12 until around 14 and hated it (was also abroad). We did it on a rota shift so a term of mornings and one of afternoons. I loved the mornings but hated the afternoons.

I wasn't able to attend my extracurricular activities which I loved so had to interrupt for that term and couldn't see any friends outside of school during the week. Also a nightmare for many parents who worked as it was virtually impossible to find any arrangement for a child up until 2pm or any activity they could engage in.

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHopeful Wed 04-Sep-13 23:05:27

I could see it working for high schools. I definately think the teenagers would benefit from later start times.

Would you need to arrange child care for an eleven year old?

tiggytape Thu 05-Sep-13 08:32:14

It isn't currently needed in High Schools though.
They are considering it for primary schools because, within 2 years, some areas are literally going to have so many children that even bulge classes won't suffice anymore.

Dagenham at the moment are saying they may be forced to do this in 2015 although others could follow as other areas have similar problems with far too many children compared to school places.

The problem isn't expected to hit secondary schools to such a huge extent for another 4 or 5 years (although there are already shortages with too few places in some areas).

DeWe Thu 05-Sep-13 11:52:12

I think 8-2, 2-8 is silly.
Surely 6 to 12, 12:30 to 6:30 would make more sense for the children. (giving half hour lunch for the teachers-lucky things!)

All of my dc at infant level needed to be in bed asleep long before 8:00, and I think a lot of children would struggle with working untill 8:00-I would!

I agree about after school stuff (ditto for 3 day school shifts using Saturdays), but if most schools in the area did that pattern, then I suspect you'd find typically popular stuff would do two classes, one to suit each shift.

I think swapping the shifts would be worse. I could get my dc into a habit of waking at 5:30 for school, or waking later so they could cope until 6:30, but not if it swapped about, we'd be always just getting used to the shift when it changed.

Runningchick123 Thu 05-Sep-13 14:08:59

Surely a better idea is to get some temporary portacabin classrooms and employ some new teachers and start building some permanent classrooms.
The only way to solve the problem is to make schools bigger or build new schools.
I have heard plans to have split shifts, three day weeks and primary children attending classes in secondary schools. I don't think any of these options are fair to the children who should be in primary school full time learning alongside their peers.

tiggytape Thu 05-Sep-13 14:15:57

Runningckick - this plan is for schools where no further expansion is possible. In some parts of London the primary schools have already built on playgrounds and fields until there is no room left.

Split shifts are for areas where it is physically impossible to fit in any more classrooms and, whilst building new schools is the obvious answer, there isn't a lot of affordable land / large sites in London / available cash to do this.

Lack of primary school places is something that massively affects a lot of people every year (and soon it could affect 50% of 4 year olds in some areas) but, eventually they get a place somewhere and the problem goes away again for another year. There isn't a lot of public pressure for solutions because most people don't have children aged 5 or younger and those that do aren't all in the position of having potentially no school.

Runningchick123 Thu 05-Sep-13 14:39:21

They are considering the 'primary school classes in high schools' idea in Manchester and I can assure you that lots of primary schools up here that still have plenty of available land. There is also land available at all the now closed down sure start centres which could be reopened to provide a couple of reception / ks1 classrooms whilst permanent buildings are built to expand existing schools.
I don't know what the situation is in London but I am aware that land is more scarce and costs a huge premium but these children have to go somewhere to be educated. A big old house could easily be converted into classroom space and I'm sure that these become available to purchase (albeit probably at horrendous cost in London). Using land owned by private schools to house some temporary classrooms in exchange for financial recompense?
I'm sure there are solutions to the problem and that the powers that be just need to be more creative and prepared to spend a bit more.

tiggytape Thu 05-Sep-13 15:48:08

Running - they've already done that though!

Children are already being taught in old offices and council buildings instead of purpose built schools. There is literally no more room and no more empty buildings to use.

I appreciate London is different in many respects to places like Manchester where they have the room but maybe not the money. In parts of London they have neither.

This split shift option is a last resort for when every building and inch of land has been used and there still aren't enough places - for Dagenham they will reach this crisis point and need to use split shifts by 2016 unless something drastic happens. It won't happen everywhere - just parts of London initially where they have exhausted every other possibility.

MissWimpyDimple Thu 05-Sep-13 22:53:21

My personal preference would be to deal with the long holidays. There a long periods of time where schools stand empty. It is surely only actually necessary to have schools closed completely over Christmas and Easter.

I would prefer to see a complete overhaul of the way we split our school terms up AND the way we manage the hours in the day, than a split shift system.

Kenlee Fri 06-Sep-13 03:03:01

This system was employed in HK a few years ago. The bright kids went in the morning and the dumb kids in the afternoon...

Not a good idea....

mummytime Fri 06-Sep-13 03:22:11

Well just to comment on an up thread statement.
I am surprised that Barking and Dagenham are thinking of this, as at least my old school has a PAN of 60, over now two sites. When I went there it took in 90+ on just one site. I think they do have room to expand (unlike some inner London schools).

claraschu Fri 06-Sep-13 04:09:24

My mother was a teenager during WW2 in NY. There were not enough teachers, so the high-school day was cut in half. (8-12 and 12-4 or something like that), and the class sizes were halved. According to my mother, everyone worked harder, learned much more, behaved better, and she was thrilled with the arrangement because she had time for other interests.

I have always thought this sounds like a good idea.

cory Fri 06-Sep-13 14:14:25

DeWe, for some children having to get up at 5 to be ready for school at 6 would be far, far more difficult than having to stay up until 9 at night.

Erebus Fri 06-Sep-13 15:03:19

My GS shared its (market town) site with the pupils from an evacuated GS during the war, half days apiece.

What I found interesting was how or maybe even why they segregated the 2 schools completely. My rural Devonshire mum went to a small village primary and her school went shift with their own evacuee DC from the East End of London. School-wise, the twain didn't meet.

BackforGood Fri 06-Sep-13 15:13:11

DeWe - to work that, you would need teachers' children being dropped into childcare from 5am (assuming you have 2 shifts of teacher and they get the afternoon to do other work so don't need to be doing too much before school)..... how's that going to work then ?

racmun Fri 06-Sep-13 15:28:08

How ridiculous for primary school children? Working until 8 at night!!

I don't reckon they'll do that as it would cost too much. I think they'll up the class size limit from 30 to say 35 and possibly (maybe not) employ additional teaching assistants.

tiggytape Fri 06-Sep-13 16:18:40

racmum - the decision to raise class sizes to 35 would have to be taken by central government. It would be very unpopular (one London borough asked for this last year and was told a definite no).

The responsibility for ensuring each child has a school place however rests with the council where that child lives. The council has no power to change the law on class sizes because that is a central government issue.

BoneyBackJefferson Fri 06-Sep-13 20:16:01

"I think 8-2, 2-8 is silly.
Surely 6 to 12, 12:30 to 6:30 would make more sense for the children. (giving half hour lunch for the teachers-lucky things!)"

So ignoring that the Teachers (and pupils) in your scenario will be working 6 hours without a break.

You want teachers to have a 13 hour school day, then mark, plan etc?

that is quite delusional.

MissWimpyDimple Fri 06-Sep-13 22:04:35

A 6am start would be absolutely unthinkable for my DD. She struggles to get up for her 9am start and she's only 6!

ReadytoOrderSir Fri 06-Sep-13 22:12:35

Surely 6 to 12, 12:30 to 6:30 would make more sense for the children. (giving half hour lunch for the teachers-lucky things!)

PLEASE don't suggest that to Mr Gove.... <weeps and rocks in the corner of the staffroom>

Inclusionist Sat 07-Sep-13 08:25:46

Are they talking about a 10 form entry Primary school??? shock

alemci Sat 07-Sep-13 08:45:33

i'm sure when I was at school in the mid 70's I had 40 kids in my class. My parents took me out in Y3 juniors.

I don't think it would be good to return to that scenario. It is awful that GB has these issues in the 21st century

clam Sat 07-Sep-13 13:38:07

Who's going to teach these two shifts?

Runningchick123 Sat 07-Sep-13 14:11:01

Alemci - a few of the schools near me have junior classes with between 40 and 45 pupils. They stick to the infant class limit by having two classes in each year group of around 20-25 per class but then combine those classes when they get to junior age - a few children leave to go private because the parents are rightly aghast at the prospect of 40+ in the class, but the remaining number of pupils still means there are 40+ in a class.

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