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4.5 day week

(42 Posts)
BigGlasses Tue 25-Nov-14 16:52:09

Our council (Fife) is looking to save 80million from the school budget across the local authority. One way they have decided is to go to a 4.5 day week so the school closes at noon on Fridays. There is a parent consultation tonight, so I'll find out a lot more about it then. For instance I don't know whether they are cutting the number of contact hours with the children or whether they are going for longer days Mon-Thurs and a shorter day on Friday. I guess I'll find out tonight. At the moment it's just a proposal but I think the council are really keen. A lot of people think it's a done deal.
Anyway, I'm looking to hear your experiences both from teachers and from parents who have worked 4.5 days weeks. At the moment I can barely think beyond "great, I'll now have to pay for childcare on Friday afternoons" but I'm trying to keep an open mind

headlesslambrini Tue 25-Nov-14 17:01:31

I know a lot of high schools have an early finish for the students every 2 weeks, I think it is to allow for meeting/lesson planning etc to take place. I can't see how they can reduce teacher hours without a big fight from the unions tbh.

MrsPresley Tue 25-Nov-14 17:01:39

I'm sure when they did this in Edinburgh (years ago) they cut down on break times, to cover the afternoon. I remember getting an afternoon playtime and 1 hour for lunch.

I think they get just a morning playtime and maybe 45 minutes for lunch now.

They might have changed the start/finishing times as well, but it was so long ago I can't remember!

I'm trying to remember if it changed when my eldest was at primary or before that.

TBH it didn't really affect me as my parents (retired) helped out till I finished work.

starving Tue 25-Nov-14 21:45:07

My dd had this all through primary school (Edinburgh). I don't know how the hours worked out. I remember being told that it helped the teachers do prep/inservice training etc. As a working parent it was all I knew so I coped. I only worked part time so had Friday off every week (that was great!) as it wasn't worth my while going into work.

Schoolname Thu 27-Nov-14 12:24:20

Jewish schools all do this, some have early Fridays all year and some just from October to March. I have to say it works well as Friday then becomes play date afternoon, even in senior school. I don't know how full time working mums manage it but I am part time and always have Friday off. It makes for a nice relaxing start to the weekend. They do have slightly longer days in the week though starting at 840 and finishing at 330 (primary) and 4.00 secondary.

MilkRunningOutAgain Thu 27-Nov-14 16:32:29

The secondary school next to the one my son attends has Monday sports afternoons, but kids can leave if they don't want to do the sport and most do. It was the main reason I didn't put the school first on the application form as I work and did not want to have to do less hours, and work might not have let me anyway. The school attracts lots of SAHM!

BigGlasses Thu 27-Nov-14 22:23:02

Went to the meeting and have found out a bit more. They dressed it up as "more hours in classroom don't necessarily correlate to better achievement what matters is quality teaching, therefore we are cutting contact time with children from 25 hour to 22.5 hours and spending the extra 2.5 hours per week in teacher training". Which would mean that teachers still have a 35 hour week contract, of which 22.5 hours are teaching, 7.5 hours are prep/marking, 2.5 hours training and 2.5 hours other (including parents night). The kids get Friday afternoons off.
The idea wasn't popular with the parents at the meeting. I think if it was a compressed week, shifting the hous so they are longer some days and shorter on Friday it would still be unpopular, but cutting teaching hours was very unpopular. It seems to be a massive cost cutting thing, which is not surprising as they have a massive budget cut, but dressing it up as something good for the kids just feels like they are lying to us. Anyway, it's not set in stone yet, this was just a consultation.
Thanks for all your responses, it's interesting to know other people'so experiences.

Inatizztoo Fri 28-Nov-14 14:38:26

I don't see how having 2.5 hours on Friday afternoon helps train any teachers. The slot is too short for anything worthwhile and at the end of a tiring week, not conducive to concentration.

They are not telling the truth.

noblegiraffe Sat 29-Nov-14 19:54:23

What costs are they saving if they are still having to pay teachers? I suppose some heating and lighting in classrooms, but the teaching budget is usually most of the school budget and no savings are being made there. confused

stargirl1701 Sat 29-Nov-14 20:00:31

It will save money. Scottish teachers are paid for 22.5 hours class contact within a notional 35 hour week. The other 2.5 hours a week are covered by so-called 'McCrone' or RCCT teachers. In one fell swoop, these teachers no longer exist = massive savings. These teachers usually teach PE, Art, Music, Drama, etc. The primary specialists.

RawCoconutMacaroon Sat 29-Nov-14 20:10:07

One proposal is 4.5 day week, as PP said, but the other proposal is to have both primary and secondary school close earlier every day (to give 22.5 hrs contact time). It's not just a fife, it's all over Scotland.

Nursery hours are increasing (opening earlier and closing later than the other classes in the same school!), as that's a different budget, and this is all about saving money of course. The problems this will cause parents (logistically and financially) could be huge.

stargirl1701 Sat 29-Nov-14 20:33:30

Where else in Scotland, Raw?

I don't think this was what Prof McCrone had in mind all those years ago!

RawCoconutMacaroon Sat 29-Nov-14 20:43:07

I'm in (north) Fife but I know Highland region recently backed down after a storm of protests but I've heard the idea is already being refloated again (heard from friend of friends but it has been reported in the press too). Iirc the press reports from earlier this year said all regions are looking at this, and with a view to it starting very soon (2016?).

RawCoconutMacaroon Sat 29-Nov-14 20:45:59

This is basically proposing to remove 10% of a child's education contact hours from age 5-18 and yet it's being mooted as "enhancing education"!!

stargirl1701 Sat 29-Nov-14 20:49:44

Do you have a link to the press reports? Is it through the SJNCT?

stargirl1701 Sat 29-Nov-14 20:51:29

Found it

m.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-29804168

stargirl1701 Sat 29-Nov-14 20:54:26

Perth & Kinross increased the nursery hours last session but did not add any extra staffing.

RawCoconutMacaroon Sat 29-Nov-14 21:07:24

I think nursery entitlement/provision has been increased across Scotland, from this current academic year. I know my local primary already has the nursery class open earlier, and closing later, than the rest of the school. I'm hazy on the details as currently don't have a child attending.

stargirl1701 Sat 29-Nov-14 21:10:27

Yes, the hours and funding were raised by the Scottish Govt. Is it 16 or 18 hours for every 3&4 year old?

RawCoconutMacaroon Sat 29-Nov-14 21:15:42

16 now, I think it was 12.5 previously.

rollonthesummer Sun 30-Nov-14 20:50:25

Wow-I'm really surprised this is happening. What was the outcome of the meeting? Does it matter if the parents are unhappy or will they change their minds-who makes the final decision?

CorporateRockWhore Wed 03-Dec-14 12:50:24

I'm going to a local meeting about this tonight. I'm really not happy about it, on principle, but I don't want to complain too much without hearing the details.

Here's a bit more information for anyone that's interested. tiny.cc/8j20px

And please feel free to sign the petition too www.gopetition.com/petitions/rejection-of-proposal-by-fife-council-to-cut-schools-hours-by-10.html

afterthought Thu 04-Dec-14 20:53:40

I work somewhere that has a 4.5 day week. Ours are older children so there aren't the childcare issues (which I suspect a lot of the people who are upset are concerned about, but don't want to admit that that is their concern).

From a teacher's point of view, I like it. I don't have to stay late for training evenings / meetings every week as they are done on the spare afternoon. The training is much more effective as there can be a tendency to rush training that is after school so people can go home. 2.5 hours training each week soon adds up.

I have much more energy due to the lack of late nights of training and put the time back into my lesson planning. I think staff feel less overwhelmed which makes us more effective in the classroom.

I appreciate that I have only addressed the positives, I just wanted to highlight that it is not all bad.

rollonthesummer Thu 04-Dec-14 21:53:01

Do you get PPA on top of that?

afterthought Fri 05-Dec-14 17:54:27

Yes we do because the half a day is for training etc and not planning / assessment.

For the OP's situation I can't work out how it saves money. If the Friday afternoons are PPA then I can see it would save them paying for a PPA teacher. But, if they are saying it is for training the teachers would still need PPA time. 7.5 hours is a lot for PPA though (do they get more than 10% in Scotland?).

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