Balshaw’s Church of England High School

 

Consultation on Changing the Times of the Balshaw’s School Day

 

Why?

  • To create a longer morning where students are more settled, have fresher minds and more prepared for their learning.
  • To reduce the afternoon session to just one lesson instead of two because feedback from staff over time has suggested that the behaviour, concentration and productivity of students is higher in the morning than the afternoon making for a better quality of teaching and learning.
  • Increasingly subjects such as English, Science and Maths are requesting to have their subject lessons for GCSE classes scheduled in morning sessions as research in those areas particularly supports high quality learning for students in the morning.
  • A shorter afternoon and earlier finish would permit Balshaw’s rich and varied enrichment activities to take place earlier after school – particularly helpful in winter months.
  • A shorter lunch still provides students the time to eat their lunch, have time to socialise, play football, games and attend clubs should they wish.  It will also address the issue of boredom for those students who do not engage in any of these activities.
  • A finishing time that is similar to other schools will make sporting fixtures have less impact on curriculum time and reduce the incidences of students from other schools congregating outside Balshaw’s to cause trouble.

Detailed reasons:

Overall we wish to change the school day to incorporate a longer morning where we feel students have fresher minds and more prepared for their learning. We wish to reduce the afternoon session to just one lesson instead of two to ensure we maximise good behaviour and concentration in order that all children can make relevant progress. We are looking to enhance the quality of teaching and learning time by reducing afternoon lessons to one. Feedback from staff to the Headteacher over time has suggested that the productivity of students is higher in the morning than the afternoon and therefore allows for progress gains to be made. 

Increasingly subjects such as English, Science and Maths are requesting to have their subject lessons for GCSE classes scheduled in morning sessions as research in those areas particularly supports high quality learning for students in the morning. Also due to the significance of these as core subjects, crucial for the future of our students we want to do all we can as a school to capitalise on these opportunities for students. Staff have voiced concerns about the difficulty of getting through core content in these subjects in the afternoon and based on their concerns which suggest that less content is covered due to having to deal with coming in from lunch at different times, reduced concentration and increased behavioural issues that does not permit them to teach as much as they would in the morning.

A shorter afternoon and earlier finish would permit enrichment activities to take place earlier after school. Balshaw’s already offers a rich and varied enrichment programme however, our current school timings mean that students usually only get home after 5pm. This is of particular significance in winter months when it is dark by 4:30pm and parents are more reluctant to let students walk home in the dark. The same premise applies to after school detentions.

Lunch – a reduction of the lunch break from 50 to 40 minutes will enable students to eat their lunch and have some time to socialise and play football, games, attend clubs should they wish (based on the nature of the activity) and have some down time whilst at the same reducing the possibilities of extended periods of poor behaviour over the lunch break.  Also some students feel that lunchtime is too long and for those who don't take part in lunchtime activities, they say that they are bored and have too much time to kill.

 

Weather – A reduced lunchtime even by ten minutes would reduce the challenges students and duty staff face with inclement weather.  Students find wet lunches go on for far too long when they are stuck inside and wet lunches are often followed by afternoon sessions where learning is less effective. Equally, fairer weather conditions particularly in summer months create their own challenges as students are spread across the length of the back of school and field areas are used to the maximum by students playing games. The consequence of this is that duty staff are spread thinly across the this area. A shorter lunch time would not solve this issue completely but would certainly reduce the potential for problems to occur.

 

Pros

  • Reduction in behavioural issues in afternoon lessons.
  • Improved conditions for learning as students work in more focussed way in am sessions.
  • Reduction in length of time required for lunch duty.
  • Shorter lunch will reduce supervision issues on wet weather lunchtimes and reduce the complaint from some students that lunches are boring or too long.
  • Finishing time that is in line with other schools will make organising sporting fixtures easier.
  • In winter months students will be able to travel home in lighter conditions.
  • Should reduce the issue of students from other schools waiting outside the gates of Balshaw’s who are looking to cause conflict.

 

Cons:

  • Year 11 will have to operate on a different schedule during examination season as they will start exams shortly after the start of the new lunchtime.
  • May have an impact on the provision of catering as staff will have to be paid for a longer day.
  • Users of the 412 will have to wait until 15:40 for the bus or make alternative travel arrangements.  These could be co-ordinated by the school.
  • Parents may have to make alternative transport or childcare arrangements.  It should be noted that homework club will continue to run for an hour after school until 16.10pm if the new school day is adopted.

 

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