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Changes to our school day from 1st September, 2017


Dear Parent/Carer

At St. Ambrose Barlow RC High School we intend to make some changes to our school day from 1st September, 2017. These changes have been discussed with the Governing Body and we are now putting them to a consultation with parents, carers, staff, pupils and other stakeholders.

The main changes we are making are:

  1. Changing the length of each teaching period to go from 7 periods per day of 45 minutes to 5 periods per day of 1 hour
  2. Having a single period of one hour for lunch, rather than two 45 minutes sessions as is currently the case
  3. Changing the start time of the day for pupils to 8.40 am, from 8.45 am
  4. Changing the finish time of the day for pupils to 3.15 pm, from 3.25 pm
  5. Having one day of the week (Wednesday) without a registration period and with an earlier finish of 2.55 pm, allowing time for weekly staff training and development

The final decision on the shape of the school day will be determined only on the expected educational benefits that it will bring. The expected benefits of the proposed new school day are as follows:

  •  Longer lessons which afford more time for the kind of in-depth, challenging, creative and engaging work that we are aiming to provide for all young people, particularly in response to more demanding GCSEs.
  • Greater flexibility to timetable for a full Year 7 - Year 13 school ensuring the widest possible range of curriculum choices
  • A reduction of movement around the campus, thus maximising time in class • More opportunities for pupils and students during lunch time
  • Regular professional development for staff at a time when the curriculum is changing fast
  • A better distribution of time throughout the week, particularly for Sixth Form students
  • Maintaining the longer registration period we introduced last year for relationship-building, PSHE, British Values, support for learning, additional catch-up and support

Our proposed model in many ways brings us in-line with other schools who have been operating in a similar way for some time. We will also run a two week timetable meaning that classes are spread over a fortnight in order to ensure that they receive sufficient time in their subjects. Again, this is a very common approach in schools.

Below is a table explaining how each day could run in the proposed model.

I am aware that one of the concerns some parents and carers may have is the timing of lunch and the capacity of the canteen to serve pupils in one hour. Our catering company has assured us that this is possible and our own experience of lunch supervision within a 45 period tell us that with some small changes we can still provide a high quality lunch service. Furthermore, placing lunch at the later time of 1.15 pm on four days is not dissimilar to some schools. Should this present problems for particular children then we would make arrangements to support these individuals.

This consultation is simply to gather views from all people who are likely to be affected by the change to the school day. Whilst there is some flexibility in our planning (such as the start and finish times of the day) that allows to make changes to our proposal, it is not the case that we will necessarily adapt our proposal in response to feedback. However, all responses are useful in helping us to consider aspects of this change from different people’s perspectives and this may inform how we manage the new school day.

We are keen to hear from you and all responses can be given via this link here. You are also welcome to provide responses in writing – these will be acknowledged but may not receive an individual reply.

We believe that changing the school day will make a positive difference to the experience of the young people in our school and offers a range of educational benefits. The final decision on the school day will be communicated to all stakeholders in early May.

Yours sincerely

Ben Davis


Changes to our school day from 1st September, 2017

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