Primary school first to cut week to four-and-a-half days in bid to save cash

CREDIT: This story was first seen in The Sun

The Sun reports that a primary school in West London could become the first in the country to cut down to a four-and-a-half day week in a desperate bid to save cash.

St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Isleworth has come under fire after proposing that the school week could end at 12.45pm on Fridays.

In a letter received on Friday, the school asked parents to “actively investigate child care options for your children on Friday afternoons” from September this year.

The “new departure” is pitched as a last-resort attempt to save cash after the government demanded an increase in pensions and National Insurance contributions without upping school funding.

The school said it is developing the proposals for a shorter working week “as a matter of urgency” following a consultation in October 2017. Other suggestions included getting each parent to stump up £400 a year, or cutting teaching assistant roles in multiple classrooms.

However, the school yesterday claimed that “no decision” had been made about how it would reduce its budget.

“At this stage no decision has been made and the governors, following the consultation with the parents, are now consulting with staff.

“There’s a lot more reflection and prayer to go until a decision is made.”

Some parents were critical of the plan and expressed their outrage at having to find additional childcare.

Writing on Facebook, Emma White said: “I know that childcare is a massive issue for most people, but surely the main problem is that OUR children will be receiving 10% less education than their peers and I don’t believe this will have no impact when they get to secondary school.

“The school day already seems ‘crammed’ and to have less time to do all the tasks that the teachers have to get done is just insane.

“For teachers as well as children. It’s just so sad that our school seems the worst affected in the country.”

Another parent wrote in response to the initial consultation: “It doesn’t seem logical or fair to cut the school day.”

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In the follow-up consultation letter the school says it will “develop the proposals as a matter of urgency”.

The letter notes that Friday afternoon clubs would be in place but would have space for 150 only – just half of the pupils who attend the school.

In the past five years, the school has cut a part time teacher, music teacher, parent support worker and school gardener.

Education unions say 18,000 schools face funding cuts by 2019, despite the Government promising an extra £1.3bn over the next two years.

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