‘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 - Credit: Archant

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

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.

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'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.

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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.'

What do you think? Write to the Letters Editor, giving full contact details, at Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE, or email EDPLetters@archant.co.uk

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