Furious parents have blasted a primary school after it announced controversial plans to save cash – by finishing at LUNCHTIME on Fridays.
A letter was sent to parents of Danemill Primary School in Enderby, Leics., suggesting pupils will finish at 1.05pm – two hours and 15 minutes earlier than the usual 3.20pm.
The school claims the move, which is due to come into force in October, will save money by allowing teachers to plan lessons instead of teach on Friday afternoons.
But the proposal has been slammed by furious parents who say they will lose money by having to cut their working day in half in order to collect their children from school.
The measure has also been dubbed “Poets Day” – urban slang for “P*ss Off Early Tomorrow’s Saturday”.
Dad Graeme Harford, 39, a self-employed plumber, said: “My wife works full time in Leicester and I work for myself so if we can’t get child care I’ll have to pick them up.
“That means losing half a day’s pay on a Friday. I understand the school wanting to save money but having a Poets Day every week isn’t the way to do it.
“Kids go to school to be taught, why can’t teachers plan lessons at home? They have 13 weeks holiday every year after all.”
The school, which caters for 400 pupils aged 3-11, has defended the plan, saying they will provide a “limited number” of places for children to stay at school until 3.20pm, doing “enrichment activities.”
Writing to parents, headteacher Dawn White Tracey Lawrence said: “As you may be aware the Fairer Funding Formula has resulted in schools receiving significantly less money in their annual budgets from the government and Danemill is not an exception.
“Our prime concern is to provide your child with quality first teaching to enable them to achieve their full potential.
“In order to do this in the current economic climate we propose making the following adjustment which will have the least impact on your child’s education.
“Effective from October 24, 2017 the school day would end on Friday afternoons at 1.05pm, lunchtime and Wrap Around Hours will remain unchanged on Fridays.
“It is good practice to provide teachers with Planning and Preparation Time (PPA) and this is covered by our Learning Support assistants during the week.
“The implementation of this new timetable will allow teachers to have their PPA together on Fridays afternoons and your child will continue to have quality first teaching during the rest of the week.
“This means you will be able to pick up your child from school at 1.05pm on Friday afternoons.
“However we appreciate this may initially cause problems for some parents and carers and we will offer a limited number of enrichment activities for the children on Friday afternoons, these sessions will be free of charge in the first instance and will finish at 3.20pm.
“We have given this much thought and consideration and we feel this is the very best option for the children.”
But some parents have expressed their outrage by writing their feelings on the school Facebook page.
Susan Hobster said: “Hold on, I thought every hour counted and we are not allowed to take our children on holiday but it’s ok to miss a couple of hours each week? Can’t have it both ways.”
“However, the abuse that the equally hardworking teaching staff are getting for a decision that hasn’t been made by them is disgraceful.
“If you want to be angry, try directing this at our government and their continuing failure to adequately fund our schools while at the same time pursuing ‘back door’ privatisation of schools through their academy programme.
“This is a business decision taken by executives with their balance sheet at the forefront of their minds, which has been forced upon them by an elitist Tory government.”
Rob Grassby said: “Yet again more cuts whereby the general public are hit the hardest.
“Something has gone very wrong with the mis-managing of this country and it shouldn’t be us and our children having to pay the price!!”
Chris Simms said: “I think everyone should finish work early on Friday and have three months off a year.
“Good luck getting a pint when you skive off early, your local will be closed too!!”
Mum Samantha Verity said: “What a super idea.
“British children are already far behind their peers in the rest of the developed world, what’s a few hours a week less learning eh? Why doesn’t the headteacher surrender some of her giant salary?”
Phil Carson said: “Absolute stupidity, is this signs of a city that doesn’t work?
“Which again means parents that do work have to pay out more!”
Glenda Freeman commented: “This will make it very difficult for working parents. Kids will be wandering about all afternoon.”
The school, which received a ‘good’ Ofsted rating in 2015, refused to comment.