From: Josie Lawson, Stonehouse Drive, St Leonards
I refer to page 6 of the Hastings & Leonards Observer dated April 28, 2017 (Fear school changes will ‘burn out’ pupils, by Laura Cooke) about Ark Academy Trust which runs William Parker and Helenswood, proposing to implement changes in their hours, and parents concerned it will ‘burn out’ the children. The Ark Trust say they are considering this to help the GCSE education requirements...
I then refer to the opinion page in the Hastings & St Leonard’s Observer, May 5 2017 (letter by Jeremy Taylor entitled ‘Long days did not burn us out’) stating in his school days, he attended a private British school in his home town of Buenos Aires, Argentina where he was born and grew up.
He said they did the full English curriculum in the morning and full Argentine in Spanish in the afternoon.
This took eight hours and they did their rugby and cricket training after school hours. He did not consider being ‘burnt out’. He is now 79 years and the address mentioned now is in Hastings.
When I think back myself, I am now 68 years and will be 69 years on the 12th. I went to school from 11 years old until 1964 to the senior school, when I left, the then Hastings Secondary Modern School for girls, changed to Hillcrest but is now an Academy.
Our school day was either 8.45am/9am, an hour for lunch, and end of the school day 4pm, then if we wished with parents permission, we could have after school clubs – I did gymnastics some days.
In those days, it was dark in winter as it would be today. I can respectfully make a difference from those days to the present.
Children were safer in those days compared to this present day. Today, children could get ‘burnt out’ - i.e: stress related when you hear about, and read about so much bullying, which can be from school pressure even if you are told this does not take place. With that in your life, any child would find the extra hours hard, but the most important factor that I believe the Ark Trust should consider is the safety of children – especially in the winter dark months – going home.
You only have to refer to what you read and hear about – a white van tried to abduct a child – they are seen parked near schools, surely the Ark Trust needs to really think of all avenues before changing the hours. Not only that, I wonder how many parents have contracts at work they cannot change their hours to accommodate this change or even lose their jobs through it.
We all know the teachers jobs would be safe...
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