EGGAR’S School has taken the bold step to break away from tradition and change the timings of the school day.
In a letter to parents, headteacher Patrick Sullivan said: “After a long period of discussion and reflection it has been decided that the current school timings model, which has been in place for more than 20 years, no longer makes efficient or valuable use of both student and staff time.”
As a result, from September the school will operate five one-hour lessons as opposed to the current six 50-minute lessons. While the amount of teaching time per day will remain the same, the extended lesson time is expected to “better support high-quality learning in the classroom, as well as the opportunity to check the learning which has taken place”.
Mr Sullivan said: “Quality first teaching is the priority for this new model.”
The model is based on the findings of research carried out by The Sutton Trust, which seeks to improve social mobility in the UK through evidence-based programmes, research and policy advocacy.
According to Mr Sullivan, The Sutton Trust research shows that “teaching and learning, and continuing professional development, are the main priorities in improving student outcomes and progress.”
And he added by way of explanation to parents: “We are making these changes because we believe this model not only presents us with opportunity to enhance continuing professional development of staff every week, it will ultimately improve progress and outcomes for your child.
“The model also better supports our Eggar’s experience opportunities. With more staff able to offer clubs and events, this will broaden student choice to more than 50 activities per session.”
From September, the school day at Eggar’s will start at 8.30am and finish at 2.30pm, with a morning break at 10.45am and lunch at 1pm.
With the new refectory and a special Year 7 serving point due to open in September, and having trialled the food service this term, the school is confident in its ability to be able to provide high-quality refreshment for students.
School transport operator Top Marks has agreed to adjust its times accordingly, and the school has also informed Stagecoach and Passenger Transport of the forthcoming changes.
In his letter to parents, Mr Sullivan said that while he recognised the changes could present a change to family routines, the school would be increasing its after-school provision. It will be operating a homework club, which will run until 4pm Monday to Thursday and 3.30pm on Fridays, to give students the opportunity to complete homework supported by a qualified teacher.
While the changes have concerned some working parents, especially those who work part-time around school hours, according to Eggar’s out of more than 940 pupils only around five per cent have responded with concerns.