The following email was sent to parents and carers on Tuesday 11 February 2020:
Dear Parents and Carers
Changing the School Day
We are writing to inform you of changes that will take place to our school day from September 2020.
Lady Manners School currently has the latest finish time of all Derbyshire schools and in the winter months students travel home in darkness. We strongly believe that changes to the school day will benefit all members of our school community and will enhance the welfare and academic progress of our students.
In summary, the key changes will be as follows:
- An earlier finish time of 3.35 pm
Our school day will finish 30 minutes earlier than the current finish time of 4.05 pm. The school start time will remain at 9.00 am.
- A shorter lunch period (by 15 minutes)
- A shortened tutor period (by 10 minutes)
- A reduced morning break (by 5 minutes)
- A re-structured lesson format (5 x one-hour lessons per day)
An earlier finish time presents an ideal opportunity to review how our lessons are structured throughout the school day. We believe the introduction of five 60-minute lessons to replace our current structure of double (75 minutes) and single (35 or 40 minutes) lessons will bring many benefits. There will be no reduction in overall teaching time as five hours of teaching will be delivered over the course of the day, matching our current time allocation. Movement time will be built into our school day to ensure that lessons begin promptly.
Our curriculum will retain its breadth and balance. We will continue to provide a diverse curriculum and no subjects will be withdrawn. The extensive range of extra-curricular opportunities will remain available at lunchtimes and after school.
SCHOOL DAY MODEL (from September 2020)
8:55 am Warning Bell
9:00 am Form Time / Assembly
9:15 am Period 1
10:15 am Morning Break
10:25 am Period 2
11:25 am Movement
11:30 am Period 3
12:30 pm Lunch Break
1:30 pm Period 4
2:30 pm Movement
2:35 pm Period 5
3:35 pm End of School
RATIONALE - why change?
When the new Headteacher arrived at Lady Manners School, students and staff completed a survey to ascertain what changes, if any, they would like to see at the school. Responses from both surveys clearly showed that the school day was the main area students and staff would like to see changed, including the school finish time. Direct comments received from parents and from parent surveys have supported this viewpoint.
The welfare of our students is of paramount importance. We are keen to support the large numbers of students who currently experience very long school days. An earlier finish will provide more time to complete homework and revision tasks and help to alleviate the pressures faced by students during busy examination periods. More time will also be available to take part in recreational activities and to pursue interests outside of school.
Improved teaching and learning
We believe an earlier finish time and re-structured lesson format will enable students to sustain high levels of concentration and engagement in lessons throughout the school day. This will lead to high quality learning experiences for students in all lessons, ensuring that key knowledge is retained and developed. This in turn will potentially have a positive impact on student progress and attainment.
Improved rates of staff recruitment and retention
The quality of a school's workforce is a major factor in ensuring high educational standards. We believe a revised school day model will help us to retain our current staff, and also help us to recruit high calibre staff from other schools as opportunities arise.
In deciding the new timings, we have carefully considered all aspects of school life, including the following:
We are committed to extra-curricular provision and are proud of the extensive range of opportunities offered to our students. We have carefully considered the impact of our changes and are confident that clubs and activities will be able to run as normal. Aligning our end of the day with other local secondary schools will also help with the arrangement of sporting fixtures.
We believe that lunches can comfortably be delivered within a reduced time-scale. Serving arrangements at break will be modified to ensure sufficient time is available for students to purchase food.
Assemblies and Tutor Time
Tutor periods will begin promptly, supported by the introduction of a five-minute warning bell before the start of the school day. Students will go directly to assemblies on their scheduled assembly day, rather than initially going to form rooms.
We are in consultation with the bus companies and are confident that we will be able to accommodate these changes from September 2020. In a very few cases, there may be a short interim period as bus contracts are amended. The students affected will be supervised until their bus arrives. Details of bus routes and timings will be communicated later in the academic year.
We would welcome your views on the re-organisation of our school day. Although it will not be possible to respond to individual questions, all comments will be duly considered and your views are appreciated. We look forward to hearing your feedback via email contact with our Business Manager, Janet Snell (email@example.com) by Wednesday 11 March 2020.
Gary Peat (Headteacher) and David Coe (Chair of Governors)