Changes to Times of the School Day - Update
Dear Parent/Carer and Other Stakeholders of Prince William School
25 May 2018
I am writing further to the consultation about changing the time of the school day at Prince William School.
We proposed reducing the lunchtime by 15 minutes, from the current 55 minutes (1.35 – 2.30pm) down to 40 minutes, bringing us into line with most secondary schools in the area. This would result in changing the time of the end of the school day from 3.30pm to 3.15pm, with effect from September 2018. The time of the start of the school would remain the same, with students needing to be on site at 8.50 and registration at 8.55am.
In the consultation we sent out around 2500 letters to parents of current students, parents of children in our cluster of primary schools, parents of students coming from other primary schools in September 2018, and other members of the local community who might be affected by the change. We set out our reasons for wanting to make the changes and invited stakeholders to comment on the proposal to a dedicated email address, by noon on Monday 21 May 2018. We received 45 emails, four of which did not offer an opinion either for or against the proposal but raised other points about the timings of lessons or asked for further information. Of the remaining 41 emails, 23 (56%) were in favour of the proposal and 18 (44%) were against it. However, we sent out around 2500 letters and we have to assume that those stakeholders who did not reply do not object to the proposal. Thus the percentage of people consulted who object to the proposal is actually very small (less than 1%). We also held a meeting at the school on 24 May 2018 to offer an opportunity for stakeholders to come to ask questions and discuss the matter. Four people came to the meeting and the views they expressed were very similar to those in the emails, both for and against the proposal.
We currently provide a wide range of activities at lunchtime, and the main concern for those who were against the proposal was the possible impact on those activities being shorter and more rushed in a shorter lunchtime. Most of these activities currently run for 30 minutes and will still be able to run for 30 minutes in a 40-minute lunchbreak, and we will issue students with a “fastpass ticket” for the canteen queue for the days they attend such activities to support their attendance at them as much as possible. Others may choose to run after school, along with the wide range of activities currently available after school, enabling them to be less rushed than they are currently.
The disadvantage of students having to eat quickly if they want to take part in a lunchtime club that day, will, we believe, be offset by the advantage of students who do not choose to take part in such activities having less time in which to get bored. We hope that this will help us to reduce poor behaviour (which often ‘spills over’ into afternoon lessons) and promote the positive, work culture that we want. Many parents who were in favour of the proposal agreed that some students do get bored at lunchtime and would rather get on with their lessons, finish the day earlier, and do after school clubs or other activities at home. One or two expressed the opinion that a longer lunchtime in the winter is particularly unpleasant for students on days when they are not involved in a club.
Other concerns about the proposal involved the matter of students getting home earlier and the child care issues some families may have associated with that. However, many parents in favour of the proposal said it would be nice for students to get home a little earlier and would give them more time to do homework, other activities based at home or in the local community, and some even pointed out that it made more time available for doctors and dental appointments outside school hours. Some also commented that it would be better to have students home a little earlier in the winter when it gets dark early.
Some suggested that we put on more activities in order to stop students being bored. As mentioned earlier, we do already offer a wide range of activities, both before and after school, but we cannot put on enough to accommodate all students every day. We rely on staff volunteering to put on lunchtime and afterschool activities, they do not get paid for them, and staff are entitled to a lunch break.
The Governors and Trust have reflected on all the feedback and have decided that it would be appropriate to proceed with the proposed change to the time of the end of the school day. We are therefore giving 3 months’ notice that from 6 September 2018 (which is the first student day of the Autumn term) the end of the school day at Prince William School will be 3.15pm.
Mrs E Dormor