Sir Michael Wilshaw said many children need ‘more time in school, not less’ and even urged headteachers to lay on extra hours in the week and on Saturdays to help those struggling. The Daily Mail reports.
Last year it emerged 24 schools across the UK had scrapped Friday afternoon lessons, with another 200 threatening the same drastic move.
Some adopted the half-day to boost the morale of overworked staff, while others said it is necessary to cut teaching costs – for example, by employing fewer classroom assistants – amid a squeeze on budgets.
But Sir Michael, who was head of Ofsted until 2016, said the move would damage pupils’ education and called on inspectors to be ‘critical’ of such schools.
He told the Daily Mail: ‘No good head wants a shortened school day. I feel this is a mistake – it is the thin end of the wedge and would give encouragement to weak heads to do this sort of thing.”
Many private schools and ‘outstanding’-rated comprehensives run longer hours in the week and open on Saturdays for extra tuition and sports, the ex-Ofsted chief added.
‘They do it in the independent sector, why shouldn’t we do it in the state sector? If you go into a really great school they will be open during the twilight hours, offering their facilities to the local community,’ he said.
Sir Michael is the former head of Mossbourne Academy in east London, which he turned from being one of Britain’s worst-performing schools into one of its best, despite it serving a deprived community. He said the success was partly down to keeping children late after school to help with homework and bringing them in on Saturdays.
He added that while he paid teachers for the extra work, he thought staff in ‘good schools’ would want to put in the added hours regardless of remuneration, because they ‘want to see the children doing well’.
Does your school close early? Has it made a difference to staff and pupils? Would you be willing to do unpaid extra hours? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
Are you a trainee teacher, NQT, teacher, headteacher, parent or just someone who cares about education and has something to get off your chest in a Schools Improvement Guest Post? Follow this link for more details at the bottom of the page.Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin (around 7am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link.
We now have a Facebook page - please click to like!