Parents fear changes to school day will leave pupils ‘burnt out’

29/1/14- Helenswood Academy, Hastings. SUS-150502-103355001
29/1/14- Helenswood Academy, Hastings. SUS-150502-103355001

Schoolchildren will be ‘burnt out’ if plans for a new extended school day are approved, claim parents.

Ark, the academy trust which runs William Parker and Helenswood, is proposing to implement changes which will see some pupils finishing an hour later on selected days, losing time off lunch and breaks and undertaking extra lessons.

Parent Mark Rodregriez said: “I have a child in the second year at William Parker School. We are worried that our son is going home an hour later in the winter months and worried about him burning out.”

He added that the changes, which would come into force in September 2017, were presented as a ‘foregone conclusion’ at a recent meeting held at the school.

A father of a Helenswood pupil, who did not wish to be named, said: “I’m concerned the longer days with an extra period means my daughter has to carry even more books around with her - her school bag is already far too heavy.

“And the teachers already have little time to prepare for lessons properly – this will only make the better teachers wonder why they still bother.”

A spokesperson for Ark said: “We are proposing to redesign the curriculum for Ark William Parker and Ark Helenswood in order to prepare students for the demands of new linear GCSEs, and the additional challenges and requirements posed by these exams.

“In order to accommodate this, we have proposed scheduling changes, including extending the school day by one hour on Mondays and Tuesdays.

“Our current curriculum doesn’t allow for enough breadth or depth of subject matters. These changes will allow us to maintain a broad curriculum and enable us to cover all subjects in sufficient depth to allow our students to be successful.

“Educational requirements have changed dramatically in recent years and we believe that these changes are absolutely necessary in order to prepare our students for these evolving GCSE qualifications and more importantly, to help them to have genuine choices at the end of their secondary education.

“We have chosen to seek feedback from parents on these proposed changes, because we recognise that any schedule change will have an effect on the families that make up our school community. Although the ultimate decision rests with school leaders, we are already considering adjustments and refinements to our schedule based on the feedback we have received.”

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