15th February 2017

Dear Parent / Guardian,

RE: CONSULTATION – CHANGES TO THE TIMINGS OF THE SCHOOL DAY:

We are writing to you as part of our consultation process in considering the changing of the school day to better suit the capacity and learning in the school. Many parents will be aware that these sort of changes happen from time to time.

This consultation is looking to change the school day’s timings and we want every parent to have the opportunity to give their feedback on the proposed model:

 Current School Day (5hrs 30mins)   Proposed School Day (5hrs 25mins)
Time Session Time Session
8.45-9.05 AM Registration & Tutor Time 8.45-9.10 AM Registration & Tutor Time
9.05-10.05 Lesson 1 9.10-10.10 Lesson 1
10.05-11.05 Lesson 2 10.10-11.10 Lesson 2
11.05-11.25 Break 11.10-11.30 Break
11.25-12.35 Lesson 3 11.30-12.30 Lesson 3
12.35-1.25 Lunch 12.30-1.05 Lunch
1.25-2.25 Lesson 4 (PM Registration) 1.05-2.05 Lesson 4 (PM Registration)
2.25-3.25 Lesson 5 2.05-3.05 Lesson 5
3.05-4.30 Enrichment (Voluntary)

The key change is at the end of the school day where the formal day will finish earlier at 3.05pm and the alteration will mean The Friary’s lesson time runs 5 minutes more than King Edwards, the same as The Hart School (Rugeley), and 5 minutes less than Nether Stowe.

The first reason for this change is to reduce the length of the lunch-time. Any visitor will know that the seating in the dining area is not large enough for the number of students we have and, with our growing popularity meaning we will be taking in more students than ever, so the problem will only be exacerbated in future years. This situation is particularly problematic in the winter months as, though we open classrooms as lunch-rooms, these have to be closed before the end of lunch in order for them to be cleaned for afternoon lessons. This means that whatever the weather the vast majority of students have to go outside into the playground / recreational areas which quickly become very crowded.

In fact, the fingerprint technology and well-organised catering team get the food served quickly and students have finished their lunch after 30 minutes. This leaves around 20 minutes where the students are hanging around with insufficient indoor space and little to do – especially with many students preferring to eat their main food at break-time.

The second reason for this change is the lack of applications for midday supervisor posts. There are few people keen to take on a daily role for just 1 hour per day and with a growing roll this is only going to become more of a problem. The team we currently have in place will be able to supervise the students appropriately during a reduced lunch-time as they are largely busy eating. However, with the current long lunch-break, the growing numbers of students simply waiting around outside for afternoon lessons will potentially prove too great in numbers and suitable supervision will be difficult to maintain.

The third reason for this change is to get a more productive start to afternoon lessons. Naturally, students who have been waiting around for 20 minutes at the end of lunch with little to do are slower to settle back into lessons. The current break-time arrangements see no evidence of this as students flit seamlessly back into class but after the longer lunch there is often time wasted making sure that unfocused students get their heads down and get on with their learning. The reduced lunch-time will bring a smoother pace and we expect this will in turn improve the quality of the start of Lesson 4.

The fourth reason for this change is to build on the excellent work that has gone into developing our extra-curricular provision which our Student Council asked us to work on. These improvements have seen a wider range of booster and support lessons, especially for the older students, as well as additional clubs including archery, fencing and cheerleading. An earlier start to these enrichment sessions will mean that students are less tired in the winter months and those students representing the numerous school teams will no longer have to leave lessons early to get to fixtures. Furthermore, we are planning to extend the opening times of the school library to 4.30pm so another homework club and independent study time is readily available for students from Monday to Thursday, just like it is already for the Sixth Form students.

Other points to note are that the Enrichment time (3.05-4.30pm) is voluntary for students and the cut-off time is designed to give a clear end to student / teacher contact time during the school day – although staff will continue to be able to work at the school until the 6.00pm cut-off time. Elsewhere, having consulted with the bus companies, they have indicated that they can accommodate the change.

The consultation period sees this proposed change being put to students, staff and parents and any parents who wish to give feedback are invited to respond via email to office@friaryschool.com (with the email title being ‘School Day Consultation’). Any parents who wish to look at further documentation relating to the proposal can access the information on The Friary School homepage (www.friaryschool.com). Finally, a Parent & Carer Q&A session will take place on Thursday 2nd March at 6.00pm at the school. A final decision will be made by the Governing Body on the 22nd March 2017 with any proposed changes taking effect in September 2017.

We look forward to receiving any feedback and rest assured we are working flat out to help your child to flourish and shine with us.

Yours faithfully,

Mrs Lottie Hearn                                                                                               Mr Matt Allman

(Assistant Headteacher)                                                                                  (Headteacher)