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Ipswich school trialling changes to the school day to relieve teachers

PUBLISHED: 16:48 06 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:48 06 September 2019

Changes are being made to the timetable at Westbourne Academy Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Changes are being made to the timetable at Westbourne Academy Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Sarah Lucy brown

A school in Ipswich is trialling changes to the hours pupils are in class in a bid to retain teachers and reduce the workload placed on them.

Principal Garry Trott believes the changes will have a real impact Picture: LUCY TAYLORPrincipal Garry Trott believes the changes will have a real impact Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Under the new changes pupils at Westbourne Academy will now finish their day at 2.25pm on Wednesdays rather than 2.50pm, which is the standard finishing time for the rest of the week.

To facilitate the change five minutes will be taken off each school lesson in the day, making classes shorter for students but providing staff with time to focus elsewhere.

School leaders hope that the changes will benefit staff in a number of ways, including: reducing teacher workload; helping to recruit and retain teachers; and helping to keep teacher's training up to date.

Principal Garry Trott said: "What we are finding is teaching at a profession is at an interesting juncture. There are record numbers leaving the profession.

"The myth of teachers having 13 weeks holiday a year doesn't reflect what life is like in term time."

Mr Trott said that many of the staff at the school worked extra hours, particularly in the run up to GCSEs in order to help pupils and that it was important that focus was placed on teachers as well as students.

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The Wednesday afternoon will be split into two sessions for teachers.

The first part will be given over to curriculum planning while the second part will focus on professional training and teachers' own interests.

The idea behind the trial has come from models used in other schools, largely in London.

"Everything will be done by 4pm," said Mr Trott.

"It's a bit of an experiment, we will see how it goes. We would hope that teachers feel more valued."

Mr Trott said that the school had spoken to parents over concerns about the school day finishing earlier and understood that some pupils may need to stay longer.

"We are expecting a range of pupils to have to stay longer," said Mr Trott.

"We said to parents to let us know their concerns and that we would supervise children to the normal time but we don't have resources to do that for all the children in the school."

School leaders will now monitor the trial to see what impact it has on staff.

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