Letters went home today about the changes to the school week that are to come into effect from September. The same details are also on the front page of the homework. Already, I have had positive comments and some negative comments about the changes so I thought it might be an idea to have a public forum to get all those ideas available in one place – which is why we have the blog in the first place…
I have to apologise if the timing of the change seems hasty but we have been taking our time as a staff to consider this carefully since we saw the state of the budget in April – and we have spoken to schools where this happens (indeed, it is increasingly happening around the whole country.) We needed to talk to governors first (and the majority of our governors are parents) and we shared it with the whole school community as soon as we had done that.
Every parent knows that the staff and governors at this school share the aim of providing excellence at the school – making the school a safe place where children enjoy their schooling, make fantastic progress and attain highly. We do that very successfully because all the teachers work selflessly for the children (five of us are away on residential this weekend with the Y6 and we have given up our weekends because it brings down the price and makes it more affordable.) But there are a hundred ways in which we give everything for your children…
We believe we will provide a better education for your children by changing the school week. Teachers will work longer hours and children will get the same amount of schooling – but the quality of that schooling will improve because the teacher and LSA (learning support assistant) will be in front of the class for the whole of the week rather than trying to cover each other and thus diluting what we can offer. We know that parents understand what we are trying to do because so many people from Conisbrough and beyond go out of their way to get their children into Ivanhoe because of its outstanding reputation.
We have chosen Wednesday as the shorter day because every member of staff works on a Wednesday and therefore the shared planning will be more successful; we also wanted to avoid the idea of the week tailing away, which would have happened had we chosen Friday.
The only negative comment I have received so far by email has asked how I think that other schools cope: and in my view, that’s what other schools do – they cope: they manage to run a five day week, but they don’t provide anything like our education, which is why we have been the top performing school in Doncaster for the past two years.
I understand that some parents are concerned about the cost of wrap-around care on the Wednesday afternoon. I would welcome ideas especially on that – we would not be able to offer a free service, as providing the wrap-around is expensive, but we could perhaps reduce the price to £2.50 an hour if that made it easier and then have a sliding scale such as two children costing £4 an hour and so on.
Please use this blog as a public forum so that all views can be expressed (just remembering that it is a public forum accessible by children…) I will be back in school on Monday morning and very happy to meet anyone face-to-face, but it would be great if the school community used the blog so that all ideas could be accessed by everyone.