Parent consultation - extending the school day

Your views count

Please read the letter below from the Thorogate School board of governors and complete the short survey.

February 2021

Dear parent/carer,

Thorogate school is proposing an alteration to the length of the school day by commencing the learning day for your child/ren with registration at 8.40am. School will open at 8.30am, as it does at the moment, for access to school. This proposal for extended hours relates to one term only (the summer term), commencing after return to school after the Easter holidays Monday 12th April, and ending at the conclusion of the Summer term Tuesday 20th July.

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As you are aware, the current start time is 8.55am, so this will allow an additional fifteen minutes to the learning day.

Many of you will be aware that during previous lockdowns, and doubtless including the current one, children lose some of their learning resilience. This is backed up by extensive national research. They lose the essence of social interaction with their friends and classmates, take longer to settle into their work, and generally lose a measure of their ability to socially interact, together with other social skills. To counteract this we want to use the additional time to give structure to their play, and their day. This will enable children to ‘hit the ground running’ when their academic learning day begins. Morning playtimes will be extended by 10 minutes.

Members of staff will support the children in outside play, or activities in the school house, where social interaction, turn-taking, politeness and learning to lose will be developed, helping to resolve feelings of unease amongst some children, instilling confidence in others and helping with behavioural issues where needed.

These steps will help the learning journey of the children and will support any challenges to their mental health associated with isolation from their friends and peers.

School is constantly looking at strategies to help children, taking note of national and international research projects. This supports the view that an over-emphasis on core curriculum subjects can disadvantage some children. We currently cover subjects such as music, dance and art during the school day, but we are looking at the logistics of offering a choice of these activities during after-school clubs. The provision and costs of these areas will be shared later, and are included to show that the earlier start time is part of a wider strategy to do our best for our children.

The final decision on this lies with the governing board, but the views of parents and carers are of significant importance and will be taken into account in the final decision.

Please follow the link to complete a short questionnaire by Friday 26th January. This issue will be considered by governors at their next meeting on the 4th March, 2021 and they would like to take your views into consideration.

On behalf of Thorogate Governing Board,

Paul Johnson, Kate Battersby and Stephen Burke