Daventry school proposing a cut to its opening hours

The Parker E-Act Academy in Ashby Road, Daventry
The Parker E-Act Academy in Ashby Road, Daventry

One of the biggest schools in Daventry is proposing a shorter school day for some pupils to support ‘staff well-being’ and reduce traffic congestion as well as a number of other reasons.

In a letter last Friday, The Parker E-Act Academy in Ashby Road, Daventry, outlined its plans to parents and carers, with 11 points cited as the reason behind the possible change.

The letter sent to parents outlining the changes

The letter sent to parents outlining the changes

The school is asking parents what they think of plans to open school between 8.45am and 3pm.

Head teacher Simon Cox said in the latter: “From September 2019 we propose to end the formal school day at 3pm every day.

“Year 11 pupils would be expected to attend targeted revision sessions after 3pm which we would like to call ‘Period 6’...We feel that these slight amendments will help us continue to drive standards forward and provide more opportunities for E-Act students across the region.”

The school is asking for feedback on the measures by Friday, June 7.

Other schools in Northamptonshire have also recently mooted plans for reducing their hours with Corby Business Academy and Kettering Science Acadmey among those proposing a cut in school hours.

It comes at a time nationally where many schools, including primaries, are facing a choice between shorter hours and staff redundancies.

Recent analysis by the respected independent research organisation the Institute for Fiscal Studies found that total school spending per pupil fell be eight per cent in real terms between 2009/10 and 2017/18.

Additionally, the Government has ordered schools to increase teacher pension contributions by 40 per cent from September. The Department for Education (DfE) says it will fund this for the first year, but future funding is uncertain and it is likely that schools will have to eventually meet the cost from their own budgets.

Many schools across the country have started running shortened days because it allows them to cut back on support staff and teaching assistants without making teachers redundant. It also saves on lighting and heating bills.

In those cases the schools have outlined financial pressures but that has not been mentioned as a reason for The Parker School’s changes.

In the letter, The Parker School has proposed the following reasons for the change:

• Collaborative CPD [Continuing Professional Development] training across Daventry E-ACT schools.

• Joint sixth-form staffing and bringing timetables into line, allowing movement time for staff during break/lunch.

• Reduction in transport costs for sixth-formers as lessons will be ‘double periods’.

• Timetabled targeted Period 6 for Year 11s, increasing intervention time as they will finish at 4pm.

• Current model of 50/100 minute lessons to revert to one-hour lessons for Year 7-11 students.

• Allow staff to start Period 6/CPD/meetings/marking/lesson preparation earlier and supporting staff well-being.

• Reducing ‘lost time’ during the school day for movements.

• Reduce traffic in the community as it will give a larger gap between local primary and infant school finishing times.

• One lesson after lunch will improve student engagement after lunch.

• Increasing break time by five minutes will allow more students to purchase hot food at break time.

• Earlier start to extra-curricular clubs with the earlier finish allowing a safer journey home.

The Parker School, formerly known as William Parker School, teaches children aged between 11 and 18, with the campus shared with Falconers Hill Infant and Junior Schools.

It is sponsored by E-ACT, a multi-academy trust responsible for 29 academies in England.

Parents wanting to offer their comments on the plan are being asked to email theparkerenquiries@e-act.org.uk.