EDUCATION Secretary Michael Gove says plans to make Great Yarmouth youngsters spend 45 hours at school each week are “brilliant”.

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Parents have reacted angrily to Greenacre Primary School’s academy plans, which will see Year 5 and 6 pupils kept at school until 6pm each day under a new timetable.

A petition against the move has been signed by more than 130 parents, with criticism including that children will be so tired they are unable to concentrate.

But Mr Gove has welcomed the plans, made possible by millionaire sponsor Theodore Agnew.

Speaking on a recent visit to Norwich, Mr Gove told the Mercury: “I think it’s a brilliant idea. The longer students spend in school the better they will do.

“It also helps parents, actually, making it easier for them to get promoted at work or move jobs in the town and I think it’s absolutely fantastic that the new headteacher there wants to spend time with the students and help them to do better.”

Headteacher Bill Holledge, 33, is leading the troubled school though a period of change - after going through eight heads in just eight years.

Mr Gove called the school “one of the weakest primary schools in an area of real deprivation” and added it is “fantastic” that it is becoming an academy.

Sponsor Theodore Agnew says the move will offer children a rounded education their parents could not otherwise afford, and headteacher Mr Holledge says consultation about the plans was open - with discussion at a coffee morning and information on the school website.

But builder Tony Blencowe - whose son Jack, six, is a pupil at the school - says this is not the case.

“I find it hard to believe that a consultation can take place at a coffee morning,” he said.

He added he tried to view information online, but the school website was not working until the last day of the consultation period.

Mr Agnew last week said parents “do not have the means” to offer this level of education to their children, but Mr Blencowe says this is patronising.

He says his family used to live in a 100-year-old cottage in Banham, but opted to move to the Barrack Estate.

“I find these comments very insulting when it was my choice to buy our house here,” said Mr Blencowe. “Maybe I’m not a multi-millionaire, but our child does after school activities four nights a week plus Saturday mornings, and so do many other children.

“Maybe Mr Agnew should think before he judges people as there are many good working class people who live in this area.”

He added he feels his son “is being forced out of the school” because he does not want to do dance and horse riding - offered under plans - and wants to carry on with his martial arts and swimming instead.

“We will be fighting this all the way, and will be arranging an open meeting soon,” he vowed.

16 comments

  • "Year 5 and 6 pupils kept at school until 6pm each" sounds more like prison! Who do children belong to I wonder, school, the goverment or perhaps their parents? I think it's dreadful and what time will children get to eat their dinner? "The longer students spend in school the better they will do" - really? so how come the chidren from many other countries that don't start formal education until they are 7 are ahead of ours by age 12, perhaps because this govenment has the weird idea that starting younger and younger, and now staying longer and longer is good, they'll be wanting them at weekends too soon, might as well hand them over at birth and get them back at 18!

    Report this comment

    catalonia13

    Sunday, July 1, 2012

  • Michael Gove is an idiot - if he thinks this will solves society's ills, then he'll have a surprise coming. All he'll get is angry, resentful kids that will have to work longer than their parents, do homework when they get home, have a bit of food if they have time and then go straight to be bed without any time to relax or socialise or do sports. And parents will only see their kids for a couple of hours a day - not much of a family life, that!

    Report this comment

    debsyn

    Monday, July 2, 2012

  • Fiona wrote "the head is trying to change the school for the good", perhaps he is but forcing young children to stay at school for another 3 hours a day ain't gonna do it! Offering the option of staying on for extra activies perhaps would, many schools do this anyway, its called 'after school clubs' its not forced, nor compulsory!

    Report this comment

    catalonia13

    Sunday, July 1, 2012

  • What planet is that man on? The adult working week is a maximum of 37 hours. There are laws regarding the working of children. Are we going back to slavery

    Report this comment

    Jacob Burns

    Sunday, July 1, 2012

  • Google Agnew and you will see who he is and his contributions to the Conservatives. The reason this school has a high turnover is the heads do their best to cope and Ofsted does not recognise the problems. The catchment area suffers deprivation, a high proportion of children with English as a second language, I suspect a high turnover because of the nature of the area, parents themselves who are poorly educated, many residents in private rented accomodation and I suspect a fairly high proportion of single parent families. Last time I looked at their report they had a lot of children with special needs and I suspect that they also have their hands full with behavioural problems.The heads and staff try their best then along comes Ofsted and knocks them down because despite best efforts their Sats results don't meet standards. If this had been recognised with funding and more help years ago then there would have been no excuse to make it an academy with an individual chipping a bit of money in and then trying to dictate what is done in a school which is still mostly funded by the state. This is the sort of school which should have been getting the same funding as the most aided inner city schools.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Sunday, July 1, 2012

  • Theodore Agnew can be found on search engines along with his contributions to Yarmouths Tory MP and the Conservative party. But my comment on Greenacre having the same problems as inner London schools and deserving the same funding and less of a kicking from Ofsted has not appeared.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Sunday, July 1, 2012

  • And who exactly is Theodore Agnew anyway? What is his claim to fame, other than being a millionaire, and how does he know so much about education?

    Report this comment

    Johnboy

    Sunday, July 1, 2012

  • More of same does not make something better. I don't think most caring parents would want their children at school for that long. For those parents that do care, but have no choice because of work, then it may help them, but that should be an option only. The money should have been used to provide other requirements, other than just a compulsory longer school time. It is time parents, schools, local authorities and Government look at what exactly will make children happier to learn...and it isn't longer school hours...but how you are teaching them...until you bother to truly give time to consult with parents and teachers from all walks of life about their success stories and not so, you will never have an idea of how to truly change our education system.....

    Report this comment

    Falcon

    Thursday, July 5, 2012

  • jwmummy, I am happy that your children have the opportunity to do all the swimming, squash and rugby but the majority of parents cannot afford this for their children. I do not agree to this idea of school until 6pm though as it takes away the play time however it maywill help parents who have to work late and find afterschool care for their children. IMO it should be an option as it will annoy many parents especially those whose children have clubs and such to attend before 6pm.

    Report this comment

    Christopher Neave

    Sunday, July 1, 2012

  • This is a load of nonsense if they are doing activites shouldn't that be up to us as parents or our kids if they want to do them? How are they going to afford all this, they are doing it for kids in 4 different years for how ever many years how are they going to afford it, are they going to start it of free then start asking us to pay for it, when the realise they can't afford to do it anymore. I think keeping kids in school for that many hours every day they are going to get very tierd in the day and will not be able to concentrate on there school work. This should be called after school clubs not part of the school day.

    Report this comment

    Kaz

    Monday, July 2, 2012

  • According to research done for the Guardian, the average age for a primary school headmaster is 42-45. This situation screams of so many different things. A new broom having a clean seewp to assert authority. Making a name as "Not being afraid to make the tough decisions" as an eye is kept firmly on the monkey above on the greasy pole and then relenting a little so everybody goes "Phew,that could have been worse". Or maybe DaisyRoots is right (she usually speaks sense even if I don't agree with all spoken) and this is the folly of youth. Systems have been in place for a long time and for good reasons and all the money in the world won't buy you one whit of common sense.

    Report this comment

    ThePresence

    Monday, July 2, 2012

  • Whilst I recognise some parents may not offer their childrenextra curricular activites, 8-6 is simply too long to be in school! My 11 yr old son swims 10 hours a week, and does 4 hours land training. My 9 year old swim 6 12 hours a week, 2 hours squash and when the season opens, 4 12 hours rugby! They simply cannot attend more hours at school, and are progressing well on a 9-3.25 school day. Longer in school will not fix society . . .addressing antisocial behaviour takes more than a quick fix. It takes proper parenting.

    Report this comment

    jwmummy

    Sunday, July 1, 2012

  • the head is trying to change the school for the good. 8 heads in 8 years? surely something needs to change! rather than be mandatory,school should fin normal time, and parents opt out of staying to 6 on certain days when other activities are being held. and normal lessons fin at 3 too, but diff extra acttivities held til 6 (diff sportstextilescraftsgardeningsciences etc). would help those who would need to arrange out of school care. surely better to change than you guys to bitch and moan and change nothing!!!

    Report this comment

    Fiona Battigan

    Sunday, July 1, 2012

  • I' m afraid that this is again typical of a politician who hasn't a clue about us normal people but patronisingly thinks the state knows better. We have children to love and cherish them, not to give them to schools from 8.00-6.00. I always though the Tories were about less state and more parent power but it seems that they are worse in this respect than the last lot. Nothing against the new head teacher but he needs to reflect the wishes of his community rather than dictate Government policy to us!!!!!

    Report this comment

    Sportswagon

    Sunday, July 1, 2012

  • Fiona wrote "the head is trying to change the school for the good", perhaps he is but forcing young children to stay at school for another 3 hours a day ain't gonna do it! Offering the option of staying on for extra activies perhaps would, many schools do this anyway, its called 'after school clubs' its not forced, nor compulsory!

    Report this comment

    catalonia13

    Sunday, July 1, 2012

  • Gove is a fool and frankly the new head cannot possibly have, at the age of 33 ,enough experience of teaching in different schools, nor of being a head , nor of family life to make this sort of extreme decision. The area may be poor and may be rough in parts but to ride rough shod making the assumption that school is the best place for these children to be until 6 pm is arrogant. On top of that it is not even as if the school is in a pleasant environment with access to decent playing fields and a wide range of facilities-it is in the shadow of the Pleasure Beach ( and soon the casino) and the Outer Harbour.power station etc. with all the associated noise throughout the day. The head is obviously expecting parental apathy or initial enthusiasm or the inability to transfer to the Priory School or North Denes School to make this work and keep pupils at the school. Agnew may throw money at the Conservative Party and have made his fortune in insurance but this should not give him the right to meddle with the compulsory school day in this manner. The whole academy nonsense has been rotten from start to finish. If this man wants to spend his money let him use it to help kids have books at home or the bright kids who drop out at sixth form and don't go to university because they can't see a way clear financially. And perhaps if the original school had been given enough funding to cope with the high proportion of children with English as a second language and children from deprived backgrounds their Ofsted results might have been better and there would have been no justification for forcing through academy status.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Sunday, July 1, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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