Furious parents have criticised teachers after a school announced it was closing half-a-day every week – to let teachers catch up on paperwork.
All 355 pupils aged between 7-11 at Cottesbrooke Junior School, in Acocks Green in Birmingham, will be ordered to go home at lunchtime every Friday from January.
It means pupils will lose the equivalent of 16 days of school every year – compared to the national minimum attendance of 194 days.
The school told parents staff needed the extra time to catch up on marking pupils’ homework and lesson planning for the week ahead.
More than 100 parents staged a protest outside the school on Thursday night after they received a letter telling them of the new half-day closing measure.
Parents reacted furiously to the early closing – with some accusing teachers of adopting a “POETS day – P*ss Off Early Tomorrow’s Saturday” policy.
Mum-of-one Alaine Lumber, 38, said: “This is not just parents having a moan about nothing.
“This is a vitally important issue.
“We asked if the teachers would be giving up 16 days of the summer holidays to make up for the 16 days of teaching the children will be losing.
“We did not get an answer.”
Another mum stormed: “When we heard the school wanted to close early on a Friday it smacked of POETS day to me – as in P*ss Off Early Tomorrow’s Saturday.
“It’s interesting the school chose a Friday afternoon to close, why not a mid-week day.
“A lot of the staff are young and a lot of parents think it’s an excuse to let the staff have an extended weekend.”
Another dad, a 40-year-old banking consultant from Yardley, Birmingham, said he met teachers to discuss the proposal at a consultation evening.
He said: “You could describe the atmosphere as spicy. There were some very angry people in there making some very valid arguments, and there were no real answers.
“There is no information to back this idea up, including how and when the lost teaching time will be made up.
“They talk about legal requirements, but surely the biggest legal requirement is making sure you do not cut teaching time?
“This is a critical issue.
“How are they not able to manage this problem when other schools in the city can?”
Schools have a legal requirement to ensure that all teachers are given planning, preparation and assessment time – known as PPA – during the day to ease their workload.
The school said this worked out as the equivalent of half a day each week.
In a letter to parents, headteacher Pearl Jones said: “We can assure you [the parents] that the children’s education is the number one priority and we believe that this method will ensure that the children get the best out of their education.”
The half-day closing measure comes just months after teachers were criticised by Ofsted for failing “the most able” pupils.
In May an inspection of how lessons in personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) were taught, an Ofsted report stated: “Lessons have appropriate learning objectives but tasks are not always planned to meet the needs of the range of pupils, particularly the most able for whom expectations are too low.”
The school was rated “satisfactory” after last January’s Ofsted report – with inspectors recommending teachers “extend the range of activities and resources”.