Angry parents whose children are facing a 45-hour school week have organised a public meeting to oppose the plan.

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Education secretary Michael Gove has already hailed the plans for Greenacre Primary School, in Great Yarmouth, as “brilliant”.

He added that “the longer students spend in school the better they will do”.

But parents fear that the plans, designed to improve a school which had gone through eight headteachers in eight years, will impact on family life and leave their children too tired to concentrate.

Changes to the timetable will come into force after the school becomes an academy in September, with year-five and -six children staying until 6pm each day as part of an enrichment programme.

This would include horse-riding and dancing, and multi-millionaire sponsor Theodore Agnew says it will offer children opportunities that their parents cannot afford.

But a petition against the new timetable has gathered more than 130 signatures, and a public meeting will be held on Friday.

Lynne Lear, who is helping to organise the meeting, wrote: “Our children are being forced out of school due to the fact we do not agree to our children being kept in school until 6pm.

“Our argument is very simple – we want this to be optional. We, the parents, hope people will attend the meeting to help back us and make these people aware that these are our children and we have a right to a say in their schooling.”

Under the new regime, the school day for pupils aged nine to 11 would end at 6pm. At the end of standard lessons at 3.30pm, those youngsters would be given a school-supplied snack and drink.

Then from 3.45pm to 5pm they would be offered a high-quality, free programme of extra-curricular activities, ranging from sport and dancing to IT and horse-riding; from 5pm to 6pm they would be doing homework and reading in school, freeing them from the need to do it at home.

After October half-term, the plan is for youngsters in years three and four to join in the extra-curricular programme.

Nobody at the school was available to comment on the open meeting yesterday, but headteacher Bill Holledge has previously said that he was happy to meet parents on an individual basis to discuss their concerns.

And Iain MacDonald, chairman of the governors, told the EDP last month: “They’re not going down the mines or up the chimneys – these will be rich, extra-curricular activities.”

The open meeting at Great Yarmouth Town Hall starts at 6pm on Friday.

samuel.russell@archant.co.uk

31 comments

  • ..... who is a dinner lady and who has a BA from Oxford? .....The dinner lady is an expert in the science of cooking and the Oxford BA may be an expert on Shakespeare's sonnets, but who is to say which one can teach the best?

    Report this comment

    Fly Tipper

    Thursday, July 12, 2012

  • it says" year 5" who are 9-10 years old.

    Report this comment

    wiggywoo

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

  • What is wrong with these parents. Their children are being offered a wonderful opportunity. Would they rather that they sat in front of the TV at home as couch potatoes.

    Report this comment

    Norfolk Lad

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

  • Sorry, should say "school" not work. ;-)

    Report this comment

    2Legit2Quit

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

  • Surely a 5 year old should be fed and watered and getting ready for bed by 6pm? The school is offering a snack? Sounds like a load of Tory nonsense to me....

    Report this comment

    Babelfish

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

  • Ace-there is every possibility that Greenacre is being used as a trial and Gove is behind it-the sponsor is a financial backer of Brandon Lewis and the Tory party. If the promised enrichment materialises all well and good but if it turns into extra coaching for government grammar tests -what then? Especially if for the rest of the day children are in classes supervised by unqualified instructors or ancilliary workers as in happening more and more often. Gove and his pet head teachers should ensure children are taught by qualified teachers every minute of the school day before they worry about spending money on compulsory " enrichment".

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

  • Ace-there is every possibility that Greenacre is being used as a trial and Gove is behind it-the sponsor is a financial backer of the Tory party. If the promised enrichment materialises all well and good but if it turns into extra coaching for government grammar tests -what then? Especially if for the rest of the day children are in classes supervised by unqualified instructors or ancilliary workers as in happening more and more often.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

  • So where do children's existing activities fit into this - music lessons, dancing, swimming, membership of uniformed groups or sports clubs, and most importantly, a family meal and some unstructured play.

    Report this comment

    point du jour

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

  • Sounds like a great opportunity to me. When children progress to high school, extra-curricular activities are available. If this scheme encourages children to take part in such activities it has to be good. From my experience, people that take part in such activities are generally more rounded; it enables them to discover and develop valuable life skills which are not nurtured in the classroom or in a home setting. I accept that it would have an impact on home life in some instances, but on balance, I would think that this would benefit most.

    Report this comment

    AE

    Wednesday, July 11, 2012

  • What does it take to get the EDP to accept a post that points out that the sponsor of this project is also a sponsor of the party currently in government?

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, July 11, 2012

  • I will try again to post this. I am more cynical. The sponsor contributes funding to the Conservative party and our local MP's campaign. The government is looking at how to provide cheap childcare. I believe Greenacre is being used as a trial and that the deprivation in the area and its previous poor results are being used to justify it. I cannot see where they plan to take large numbers of children riding, it needs busses and staff and risk assessments, as do any out of school activities-Greenacre is not overblessed with acres of playing fields. If these proposed activities really materialise it would be nice, but what if the extra hours at school turn into coaching for the proposed grammar and other tests? If I was a parent I would be more worried that my child was being taught by qualified staff between 9 and 3 and not by unqualified "instructors" which now proliferate in many schools as heads juggle their funding. School is for education not childminding. The head should concentrate his funding on employing ample qualified staff for the school day and make any enrichment activities voluntary.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, July 11, 2012

  • How will the staff be paid or will the school take on "instructors" instead of fully qualified graduate teachers, which is happening all over Norfolk, notably at one failing SW Norfolk school which is to become an academy. Which would parents rather have, a school day with plenty of properly qualified staff or maybe " enrichment" activities ?

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, July 11, 2012

  • Nice to see that Tracey Glover puts the free childcare aspect of school before its primary purpose: education.

    Report this comment

    NigelS

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

  • How many parents reading this article know who will be teaching their children today? Are they expecting every lesson to be taught by teachers who have a degree and a PGCE or QTS? Wrong-almost every child will spend some time being supervised or "taught" by a person who does not hold a teaching qualification.Can you even tell from your school staff list in these times of "everyone is equally important to the school" who is a dinner lady and who has a BA from Oxford? Have a listen to some real teachers about the failings of this system-some might be glad to have Mrs Barely-Educated hear infant school pupils read but others will tell you they have had to correct the reading of the assistant, never mind the child. Others will talk of instructors who don't have a clue how to speak properly to children or " handle" a class and who are not adequately supervised by school management teams. When the bureaucrats who run schools and academies are allowed to short change our kids when they balance their books by employing unqualified staff it seems something like sickening hypocrisy for Gove to bang on about standards.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Thursday, July 12, 2012

  • .....it says" year 5" who are 9-10 years old. ......The perfect size to clean chimneys.

    Report this comment

    Fly Tipper

    Wednesday, July 11, 2012

  • Where are they going horse riding that they can access from Greenacre in the hour and a quarter from 3.45pm to 5pm? On the sand on landau horses? As far as I know the nearest riding schools are at Filby and Ormesby-are they signed up for the package?

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

  • I don't see why a child, or caring parent would want this as compulsory. It may be used and hopefully not abused, as a form of childcare and give options not available to some families that need them, but the point here is it should be optional. This is not a Tory or Labour thing, both have been negligent – unfortunately also a reflection of our times - the importance of family time is being lost. Pay in relation to housing and living are way out of sync. Sadly children may not enjoy their home life, some parents are awful, that’s another major problem, not all but, some parents are happy to work and not have to spend so much time with their children - At the end of the day it should still be an option available for the choice of the free programme of extra-curricular activities and the ones a child enjoys to do, or subjects they might need help with. It is time parents, schools, local authorities and Government look at what actually makes children happier to learn...and it isn't longer school hours or more standard options imposed on our children... until they bother to truly give time to consult with parents, teachers and children from all walks of life and learning methods (at home or school) about their success stories, what they enjoyed, why... and the opposite, they will never have an idea of how to truly change the ‘education system’ and allow more options of ways to teach our children. Children when in a happy and free flowing environment want to learn – it is in their nature...they need adults they can trust in to allow them to do this and interact with them on their level and time of interest. Respect and manners which has to work both ways as child or adult - this is paramount when it comes to their home environment too...some children thrive at some schools and enjoy it, unfortunately the daily structure of the way most schools have to run, can also knock this sense of enthusiasm to learn out of some children....they need another way.......or you can just become a regime producing a load of robots punished if they do not school as long as working hours.....

    Report this comment

    Falcon

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

  • I am envious -would have loved those opportunities when I was at school. After all they are really things that many children might do it it were not for TV and computer games and much more valuable than Facebook etc. As to what parents want not being important - well in some instances parents do have their priorities wrong and so this move provides the children with activities that parents should encourage. And I bet those parents who object are the same ones who want their children otherwise to be someone else's responsibility at other times! Another case of the school being damned if it does and damned if it does not! Perhaps the parents should find out what the children might like??

    Report this comment

    midupper

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

  • Where are they going horse riding that they can access from Greenacre in the hour and a quarter from 3.45pm to 5pm? On the sand on landau horses? As far as I know the nearest riding schools are at Filby and Ormesby-are they signed up for the package? Are the teaching staff meant to be on hand to supervise this "homework" until 6pm -what of their child care arrangements? The question the parents should be asking is this-how many unqualified "instructors" and ancilliary staff does the school intend to employ and for how much of the normal school day will their children be taught by properly qualified teaching staff. Enrichment is wonderful, school plays, learning instruments, school field work-even being heard to read- but a compulsory school day as long as this is not.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

  • Surely these parents have realised by now that in the new Tory world of Gove education, what parents want doesn't matter? Nor indeed do the parents until it becomes time to blame them for some shortcoming or the other. Put them into a decent school, not this Dotheboys in miniature.

    Report this comment

    T Doff

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

  • Why the compulsion.....can this not be voluntary? It seems yet again that the State knows best and the citizens must do as they are told. Additionally, this all costs a lot of money and in this world u get aught for naught so somewhere down the line someone will expect payback!!

    Report this comment

    Sportswagon

    Thursday, July 12, 2012

  • Nearest riding school Filby or Ormesby Risk assessments, staff to accompany, coaches to take them-does anyone really think this is feasible in an hour and a quarter?

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, July 11, 2012

  • Absolutely.Presumably this head has crammed a lot (taught in several schools including ones in deprived areas, held positions of respsonsiblity including deputyships or headships) into the 10 or 11 years maximum since completing his PGCE, in order to feel qualified to take on such a difficult school as Greenacre, one where experienced heads have done their best and still fallen foul of Ofsted's demands. Or surely he would not have been appointed. There are several areas of concern here. One is the element of compulsion and the worry that the enrichment may turn out to be coaching for testing to improve league tables.If pupils are needing more tuition be honest . Then there is the assumption that because these kids live in a deprived area they do not already participate in after school activities. Many may not, but this is a bit of a high handed way to offer opportunities.Another concern is for the teaching staff-will more qualifed teachers be employed to cover these extended hours or will the numbers be made up by unqualified employees?

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Thursday, July 12, 2012

  • As a working mother, this means I can increase my working hours without having to pay excessive childcare costs and have the additional finances to really enjoy the weekends with my daughter without having to worry about the effect the costs of days out and holidays are going to have on my monthly household budget. Not only does the family time at weekends benefit, but my daughter gets to do all the extracurricular activities such as horse riding, dance etc at no extra cost on weekdays too!! It seems to me, a win-win situation. Go Greenacre.

    Report this comment

    Tracey Glover

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

  • V I have posted and posted on this to no avail. I think this is a covert trial for an extended school day in order to provide cheap day care. I serously doubt their ability to provide the activities they are grand standing

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, July 11, 2012

  • I see a few comments on here are saying and I quote: "Would they rather that they sat in front of the TV at home as couch potatoes". Who says all young children come home from work and sit on their bums for the rest of the night? I'm lucky that I'm home from work before my children come home from school but when they do get home we'll play football in the garden, they might read a book or in the summer we might go to the park. I'd be disgusted if my childrens school suddenly kept them there until 6pm, I can see why parents are opposing this. Some parents actually enjoy having their children at home and sharing activities rather than seeing it as a free babysitting service!

    Report this comment

    2Legit2Quit

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

  • Well done to Greenacre! I just wish my sons school would follow, to be able to offer these activities is wonderful as many parents are busy working to pay billls and food and it leaves nothing for activities for these children.the parents that are opposed to this obviously would rather have their children stuck in front of a tv or computer screen instead, get these children out of that rut and let them experiance chances that most parents cannot afford, this also leads to dicipline and routine for later life, well done Greenacre just hope more schools follow your idea.

    Report this comment

    lisa sharp

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

  • No wonder Mr Gove thinks it is a brilliant idea. He appointed Theodore Agnew to become a non-executive member on the Department of Education Board in December 2010. So you have the local MP the Secretary for Education and a non executive member of the board all with a (political) interest here (just how much does Mr Agnew get for his directorship here though). You also have a very VERY young headmaster who must be after crumbs from the political table. He looking to go far. The further the better I say.

    Report this comment

    ThePresence

    Thursday, July 12, 2012

  • I don't see why a child, or caring parent would want this as compulsory. It may be used and hopefully not abused, as a form of childcare and give options not available to some families that need them, but the point here is it should be optional. This is not a Tory or Labour thing, both have been negligent – unfortunately also a reflection of our times - the importance of family time is being lost. Pay in relation to housing and living are way out of sync. Sadly children may not enjoy their home life, some parents are awful, that’s another major problem, not all but, some parents are happy to work and not have to spend so much time with their children - At the end of the day it should still be an option available for the choice of the free programme of extra-curricular activities and the ones a child enjoys to do, or subjects they might need help with. It is time parents, schools, local authorities and Government look at what actually makes children happier to learn...and it isn't longer school hours or more standard options imposed on our children... until they bother to truly give time to consult with parents, teachers and children from all walks of life and learning methods (at home or school) about their success stories, what they enjoyed, why... and the opposite, they will never have an idea of how to truly change the ‘education system’ and allow more options of ways to teach our children. Children when in a happy and free flowing environment want to learn – it is in their nature...they need adults they can trust in to allow them to do this and interact with them on their level and time of interest. Respect and manners which has to work both ways as child or adult - this is paramount when it comes to their home environment too...some children thrive at some schools and enjoy it, unfortunately the daily structure of the way most schools have to run, can also knock this sense of enthusiasm to learn out of some children....they need another way.......or you can just become a regime producing a load of robots punished if they do not school as long as working hours.....

    Report this comment

    Falcon

    Thursday, July 12, 2012

  • Daisy. What does iot take for the EDP to accept criticism on it's blogs about stories published !. I have been bounced on this story, yet again. EDP. Either stop the blogs if you refuse to publish criticism or perhaps Archants new MD might like to have a quiet word about vested interests in articles and councils !.

    Report this comment

    "V"

    Wednesday, July 11, 2012

  • I don't see why a child, or caring parent would want this as compulsory. It may be used and hopefully not abused, as a form of childcare and give options not available to some families that need them, but the point here is it should be optional. This is not a Tory or Labour thing, both have been negligent – unfortunately also a reflection of our times - the importance of family time is being lost. Pay in relation to housing and living are way out of sync. Sadly children may not enjoy their home life, some parents are awful, that’s another major problem, not all but, some parents are happy to work and not have to spend so much time with their children - At the end of the day it should still be an option available for the choice of the free programme of extra-curricular activities and the ones a child enjoys to do, or subjects they might need help with.

    Report this comment

    Falcon

    Sunday, July 15, 2012

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