A few weeks ago there was a consultation into the proposal to move to a 49 period fortnight from September. Below, as well as the original consultation, you can find a summary of the information collected through this consultation and a response to the issues raised.
Having considered the finding of the consultation, the Governors have ratified the decision to adopt these proposals in full from September 2021. In summary:
- there will be a 49 period timetable – students at Key Stage 3 will study and additional hour of MFL and at KS4, an additional hour of Science
- there will be two split breaks of 20 minutes (2 year groups on one; 3 on the other) – there will also a split lunchtime both of which will be 40 minutes
- there will be a five period day for students on Wednesday week 1 and a shorter four period day on Wednesday week 2.
Mr M Halls
There were three key areas of the proposals that were addressed in this consultation:
- The move to a 49 period fortnight to give more curriculum time to MFL at Key Stage 3 and Science at KS4
- The proposal to retain split lunch and breaktimes
- The effect of moving to 49 periods on Wednesdays – Wednesdays will have an irregular pattern just once per fortnight rather than every week.
36 parents and students responded to this consultation.
Question 1 – Do you have any comments about the proposal to increase the number of lessons from 48 to 49?
There were 29 responses to this question. 20 agreed with this proposal – nine disagreed. Where respondents agreed the reasons in support of this were generally about the increase opportunities this gave students. A few commented that this would help make up for the lost learning due to the Covid pandemic. Where respondents disagreed and gave a reason it was because they felt that the students did enough as it is or that they like the short day every Wednesday.
Question 2 – Do you have any comments about the proposal to increase the amount of time for Modern Foreign languages in years 7, 8 and 9 and Science Year 10 and 11?
13 respondents agreed with this proposal. 10 responses agreed with more time but didn’t think hours for MFL should be increased at Key Stage 3. This was mainly on the ground that they thought it was more valuable to spend the time on core subjects – a few responses mentioned other curriculum subjects. There was only one response that commented on the additional hour for Science at KS4.
Question 3 – Do you have any comments about the proposed school day for 2021/22 including the proposal to continue with split breaktimes and lunchtimes?
15 respondents agreed with this proposal. The reasons they gave were that they reduced crowding and because of the continued risk of Covid. Four respondents disagreed. One comment that was made a number of times was that the lunchtime this year has been too short.
Question 4 -Do you have any comments about the proposed pattern of the school day on a Wednesday week 2?
The responses to this question were quite varied. About a third felt that it was a positive development and had no issue with it. Some respondents agreed that hours should be increase but ideally wanted hours to increase to 50 hours so that the school day was the same everyday. There were some who felt it would be confusing. They wanted hours to increase but unless it was every week, they felt it was not a good idea. Some respondents didn’t agree with the proposal because they liked the shorter day every week.
Question 5 – Do you have any other comments relating to this consultation that you would like to make?
General responses to this questions reiterated points that had also been made to previous answers. One respondent asked about the situation with lockers. Another respondent challenged the idea that additional staff training was necessary.
Response to Issues Raised in the Consultation:
Why increase MFL at Key Stage 3?
Students must study a Modern Foreign Language as part of the National Curriculum and it therefore compulsory. The number of hours schools give for teaching languages at KS3 varies between three and six hours per fortnight, with four being most common. Whether MFL should have a prominent place in the curriculum is really something that is being dictated by the government rather than the school. Certainly the government is encouraging schools strongly to increase the provision of languages in schools, and Ofsted are now looking at what schools are doing to encourage more students to study it at GCSE.
With seven lessons of English and seven lessons of Maths at KS3, The Radclyffe School places quite a lot of emphasis on the core subjects. We recognise that it is important that the curriculum offers a varied diet for our students, and a foreign language is part of this. Some students find the core subjects particularly difficult. If we spend too much time on English and Maths this could turn out to be counterproductive.
Lunchtimes are too short
Under these proposals lunchtimes will be 40 minutes. During 2020/21 lunchtime has been 30 minutes – before this it was 50 minutes. 40 minutes should be ample time for students to be served in Café Mojo and to eat without hurrying.
Why not 50 hours? A different finish time and pattern for the day once per fortnight will be confusing
This is of course is a significant downside – it will cause issues for parents and students losing track of which week it is. However, we feel that there is a genuine need to increase curriculum time. We will ensure that a list of the dates on which Wednesday will be shortened is published on the website so that parents can plan with this in mind.
In future we may feel it is time to move from 49 hours to 50. We will keep this under review and will consult if when we plan to do this.
Why do hours need to increase? Why can’t they stay the same?
The demands of the curriculum have increase significantly in recent years. We always aim to do the best for our students. We believe that there is the need for increased curriculum time and that this is the right thing to do to ensure the very best opportunities for our students.
A link to the original proposal can be found below.