Plaistow school to trial four and a half day week

The Cumberland School headteacher Gillian Dineen. Picture: Tom Barnes

The Cumberland School headteacher Gillian Dineen. Picture: Tom Barnes - Credit: Tom Barnes

A Plaistow secondary school is set to free up Friday afternoons as it moves to a four and a half day week.

The Cumberland School will be trialling a new timetable for the 2019-20 academic year.

It follows Forest Gate Community School, who announced earlier this year that it intended to change the timetable from September, in making the move. Both schools are academies run by the Community Schools Trust.

From next month, lessons at the Oban Close school will finish at 12.15pm. There will be optional extra-curricular activities until 2.40pm, while pupils can also stay in school to do homework or private study.

In a letter to parents, headteacher Gillian Dineen wrote: "The success of our students depends in large part on our ability to be able to successfully recruit and retain the best teachers.

"This change to the school day will help The Cumberland School to do this, at a time when recruitment within the profession is at its most difficult.

"Friday afternoon is also the time that both students and staff know to be the least effective in terms of formal learning, as students and teachers are at their most tired."

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Lessons will begin at 8.35am each day, finishing at 3.30pm Monday to Thursday.

Pupils will also be able to use the sports and study facilities before and after classes.

The changes have been made after a consultation with parents, with the exact details of the extra-curricular activites to be confirmed by the school over the summer.

The new timetable is also set to allow staff to use the afternoons productively.

Ms Dineen wrote: "We aim to use the Friday afternoon sessions for staff training and development.

"Ensuring teachers have the time to plan effectively, feedback on students work, moderate assessments, collaborate as a department, as well as keep abreast of the latest educational and teaching developments, requires time.

"This new model will ensure our staff are able to deliver the most effective teaching and learning possible."

The trial will be reviewed throughout the year before a decision is made about whether to introduce it on a permanent basis.