“We feel like guinea pigs:” the schools being forced to close on Friday afternoons

As students break up for summer, 250 schools are saying goodbye to their five-day weeks – and thousands of kids are preparing to lose 10 per cent of their primary education. The New Statesman reports.

“We need £3.8bn,” Kate Taylor, a primary school teacher from Birmingham, tells me, “and then £1.1bn, year on year, until 2023.” Without this money, more and more schools will eventually be forced to scale back to a four-and-a-half day week – a 10 per cent reduction in education; equivalent, by the time they finish primary school, to two full terms lost.

The decision to cut schooling hours hasn’t come lightly; it is a last resort born of a legal requirement. Each week teachers are entitled to 10 per cent non-contact time, known as PPA. This is time away from students for planning, preparation and assessment, while their class is covered either by another teacher from the school or an agency member of staff. But, pushed to the edge, schools can’t afford this cover anymore.

 

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