Schools could introduce ‘flexible’ days to help combat congestion and reduce pollution

The Manchester Evening News is reporting that schools across Greater Manchester could start and finish at different times in a bid to cut traffic congestion and reduce pollution.

But the suggestion by bosses on the region’s combined authority has immediately come under fire.

Avis Gilmore, north west regional secretary for the National Union of Teachers, said the plan would be unworkable for schools, children, and parents.

She added: “The vast majority of teachers are in school for 7.30am doing important work and stay until past 6pm. This would create a time-tabling nightmare.

“After-school clubs and vital staff meetings would be affected if school days were staggered for pupils. It would be a real detriment to everyone.

“Parents’ routines and work lives would be affected. It would be so disruptive.

She added: “The NUT already works with schools to address the important issue of reducing emissions, but this is not the way forward.”

The combined authority are drawing up plans to reduce nitrogen dioxide emissions and are exploring a raft of solutions to reduce traffic, increase efficiency on the roads, and improve public transport fleets.

The draft ‘Greater Manchester Low Emissions Strategy and Air Quality Action Plan’ includes a potential proposals to streamline school travel – with the suggestion of ‘flexible’ days to allow pupils to arrive earlier or later, avoiding peak travel times.

Town hall chiefs say that would help cut traffic and contribute to wider plans to tackle emissions…

More at: Schools in Greater Manchester could introduce ‘flexible’ days to help combat congestion and reduce pollution


Air pollution in our big cities seems to becoming an increasingly present issue (not to mention the situation elsewhere in the world with Beijing for example, closing schools last week because of the air quality).

So should schools consider the type of flexibility suggested in this report or is it just going to be too disruptive?

Please give us your reactions in the comments or via Twitter…

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Categories: Local authorities and Policy.


  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove While this may help a few teaching staff would find this difficult, but teachers’ needs are always at the bottom of the list

  2. CanjieBooth

    Worth considering, as Afterschool clubs and staff meeting could be before “school”- just order the day differently.

  3. Nor_edu

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove I’m interested in this idea, and not just for emissions etc. Would have to be voluntary for staff though

  4. andylutwyche

    Nor_edu SchoolsImprove It’d require similar systems for all schools so parent-teachers could manage. My tweet could do with a comma too!

  5. Nor_edu

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove big variety in working hours now, if voluntary: ie teachers *chooses* to work hours to suit them could work

  6. Nor_edu

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove I don’t think compromise necessary. Problem would come only if school *forced* staff to work unsocial hours

  7. andylutwyche

    Nor_edu SchoolsImprove Schools have enough trouble recruiting at present without placing unreasonable demands on their staff!

  8. Nor_edu

    andylutwyche SchoolsImprove you’re right of course, but I thnk there is mileage in exploring it for people who might want alternative hrs

Let us know what you think...