October 21 2014 Latest news:
Matt Stott and Matthew Symington
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
A headteacher has said proposals to extend the school day of an academy are a “no-brainer” which will improve educational attainment and develop pupils’ life skills.
Dr Simon Letman, headteacher of Holbrook Academy, said the response to his proposals to add more than three hours of teaching a week has been “overwhelmingly positive”.
He has sent consultation letters to parents and teaching staff to gauge support for his bid to extend the school day to 4.15pm on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
The school, taken out of special measures following an Ofsted inspection in December, currently opens at 8am and finishes at 3pm.
Education Secretary Michael Gove has said he wants state schools to have longer school days in the same way that many private schools do.
Speaking yesterday, Dr Letman said it is “almost certain” the proposals will be given the green light after only three objections were lodged from parents. Around 450 pupils attend the school.
It is thought it would be the first school or academy in Suffolk to extend the school day. It would come into effect this September.
In his letter to parents, Dr Letman, appointed last year, said the proposals will help the school achieve ‘outstanding’ status within two years.
“The extra time would allow us to launch a new curriculum model which we believe will have a significant effect on the learning and progress of all students,” the letter said.
“Our view is that significant improvement in student outcomes will result from improving quality and quantity… the model will allow us to focus to a greater extent on developing broader life skills so that Holbrook students are equipped to deal with the challenges of the future.”
It would see three new elements added to the curriculum: the teaching of literacy skills; “enrichment” activities such as music, performing arts and other clubs and societies; and supervised study, allowing pupils to complete homework which they might not find time to do at home.
He said the response from parents halfway through the consultation was “overwhelmingly positive”.
Teachers would work the same amount of hours with the timetable being adjusted accordingly, he added.
However, extending the school day was also “extremely costly”, he said, estimating each lesson to cost the school around £1,200.