‘It has always been a vision of mine’ - Hethersett Academy head Gareth Stevens unveils plans to extend the school day

Gareth Stevens, executive principal of Hethersett Academy Gareth Stevens, executive principal of Hethersett Academy

Wednesday, April 30, 2014
6:00 AM

Children in Hethersett could be spending more time at school after plans to extend their day were put to parents and pupils.

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Gareth Stevens, principal of Hethersett Academy, hopes to extend the school day on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays – keeping students back until 5pm. Currently, the pupils’ finishing time is 3pm.

The longer days – which could begin in September – will provide time after regular classes for homework and extra-curricular clubs, sports sessions and additional maths and English lessons for year 10 and 11 students.

The school hopes the extended hours will help pupils, allowing them to spend more time with friends and family once they get home.

Mr Stevens – who replaced John Catton in the post in January – said: “The extended day has always been a vision of mine. Personally, I believe that it is about opportunities for our students. I firmly believe that it will support students, improve academic achievement and will be an encouragement.” Mr Stevens, 36, hopes the proposed changes could improve young people’s social skills and forge closer ties with the community.

“Our aim is that when students do go home in the evening that is their home time and they can spend it with family and friends,” he added.

Meetings will be held with parents and pupils over the coming weeks.

Melanie Bygrave, whose son is a year 10 pupil, said that the extended hours would be a “great benefit”.

“I did think about the arriving home in the dark issue for younger children, but as 11 or 12 years olds, ideally they shouldn’t be going home to empty homes, they could be met off the school bus,” she added.

Another parent of a child at the academy said: “A homework club would help those children whose routine out of school might not be particularly structured and they will be able to seek help and advice from teachers as they complete the work.

“The additional maths and English lessons are welcome, although I would have preferred to have seen the extra classroom time focused on subjects where there is potentially a current weakness – for instance in the sciences.

“Overall, it has to be encouraging that the school is looking to develop and rapidly improve attainment for the pupils.”

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7 comments

  • Utterly ridiculous !!!

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    Jo Ellery

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

  • Never mind the quality feel the width.

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    guella

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

  • Funny how Thetford (another Inspiration Trust School) are doing something very similar and facing exactly the same issues.

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    TheTruth

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

  • So what happens to time at home as a family? Also the younger children that have to sit in rush hour traffic to collect siblings. Teatime becomes ridiculously late. Who exactly benefits from this?

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    Beauti-Chelle Beautician

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

  • Daisy its not his idea at all. They are an Inspiration Trust puppet school and as such independent thought from the leadership is not encouraged.

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    TheTruth

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

  • If I was a parent I would be asking for a guarantee that this time was not being used to enable the school to save money and asking how many lessons are supervised by the unqualified at present. If routine timetabling is extended up to 5pm and lessons during the normal school day are covered by unqualified lesson supervisors for instance then this is a sneaky move. Not sure I would want GCSE level double maths or Latin at the end of a school day. Another example of a relatively young headteacher coming up with an idea which looks good on paper but is not really compatible with the real lives of children-getting home from school on school buses, time for their out of school lessons in music, sport or dance will be affected. My school day was 08.50 til 15.50 four days a week and 08.50 til 13.10 on the other with sports teams playing and training on that fifth afternoon and the rest of us tootling off home-and we did just fine. Plus, every teacher was properly qualified and most were graduates. I suggest the parents ask that most pertinent question-who is "teaching" our kids-before they say yes to this.

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    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

  • "The longer days... will provide time after regular classes for homework". Well that's not really homework then is it?

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    Jeffrey Osborne

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

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