All the areas in Wales where schools are closing early or planning to

Schools across Wales have announced they are shutting early as education leaders warn of an ongoing cash crisis.

Areas where schools say they are, or may have to, shut early include the Vale of Glamorgan, Pembrokeshire, Bridgend and Anglesey.

Some schools say they are making the move to save money, others say they hope it will drive up standards by giving children a break and more family time.

Hard up schools can shave their budgets by shutting early because it means they don’t have to pay for cover to allow teachers to prepare and mark.

Giving teachers time away from formal teaching gives them statutory time in the week to prepare lessons. Otherwise this time out is funded by teaching assistants covering their lessons as schools are required to give teachers time to plan and mark as part of their working day.

The schools in Wales that shut early or are planning to:

Bridgend

Porthcawl Comprehensive, Pencoed Comprehensive and Ysgol Maesteg School and Nottage Primary School have all put forward plans to close earlier

 

These schools have all forward proposals to close earlier from September 2019

Porthcawl Comprehensive

Pencoed Comprehensive

Ysgol Maesteg School

Nottage Primary School – Consulting on ending lessons at 2.45pm for nursery pupils; 2.50pm for those in reception, year one and year two; and 2.55pm for year three to six.

Lessons currently end at 3.30pm

Nottage primary said in a statement: “This is an ongoing consultation and that no final decision has been made yet.

“There are a number of reasons for why the proposal is under discussion, but it is focused upon how we can best deliver the new curriculum for the maximum benefit of our pupils.

“Parents, carers and guardians have been provided with full details, and their feedback will be analysed and used to inform a final decision.”

Pembrokeshire

Queen meets pupils after she officially opened Pembroke Dock Community School.

The Queen meets pupils after she officially opened Pembroke Dock Community School in 2013.

 

Pembroke Dock Community School – shuts early on Friday afternoons. It opens at 08:45 on Fridays and shuts at 12:15pm on Fridays or 12:45pm for pupils staying for lunch.

The rest of the week it opens 8.45am with the school day ending at 3.15pm for early years and reception, 3.20pm for years one and two and 3.25pm for years three and up.

Ysgol Harri Tudur – shuts early on Friday afternoons. The 1,500 pupil high school in Pembroke Dock is open from 8.40am to 3.15pm Monday to Thursday. On Friday it shuts early with school running from 8.40am and stopping “formal learning” at 1.30pm.

It says on its website: “Our new school day includes an early finish on Fridays to allow for an extensive programme of pupil enrichment activities, whilst also enabling professional development time to support teachers.”

Neyland Community School – from September 2019, the school in Milford Haven will close at 12.25pm instead of 3.20pm on Fridays.

In a letter to sent parents, it said one reason for the change is that on Friday afternoons “pupils often suffer from a greater lack of attention/focus than at other times in the week” and claimed the spare time could improve “greater family time”.

The letter said it is also hoped the shorter day will “further raise standards and improve outcomes for learners across the school”.

Some other schools in the Milford Haven area are also understood to be planning tio shut early.

Vale of Glamorgan

Victoria Primary School, Penarth

Headteachers at a cluster of 16 schools in Penarth say they are considering a four and a half day week shutting early on Fridays to save money in the face of a £1m budget shortfall.

Sam Daniels, head teacher of Victoria Primary, Penarth, emailed a letter with the plans – titled The Funding Crisis Deepens – on behalf of heads from the 16 schools, last month.

The letter says: “One of the cost saving measures some schools are now considering is closing on Friday afternoons. This would enable us to ensure that teachers have their planning, preparation and assessment time (PPA) but without the need to cover them.”

The cluster includes Albert Road, Evenlode, Fairfield, St Joseph’s , Victoria, Cogan and Llandough Primary as well as Ysgol y Deri and St Cyres High School.

Anglesey

(Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A school on Anglesey told Anglesey AM Rhun ap Iorwerth that it is thinking of shutting early in a move it believes could save it thousands of pounds.

Are schools allowed to shut early?

Yes, but they must follow procedure.

Schools wanting to change opening and closing times must abide with the Changing of School Session Times (Wales) Regulations 2009, which includes a full consultation with, amongst others, staff, parents and the local authority.

What does the Welsh Government say?

“Schools must fully consult before making any changes, ensuring that the number of teaching hours are not being compromised and that the curriculum is being delivered in its entirety.”

Parents for and against

One Nottage Primary School parent, who wishes to remain anonymous, said: “Our concern is that the lunchtime play will be cut down by 15 minutes and there will be no afternoon play.

“The majority of children will go straight into an enclosed after-school club, and extra childcare cost for already struggling parent, or go home and spend an extra half hour a day on the screen.

“A reduction in social interaction, fresh air and exercise leading to obesity and increased mental health issues.

“There are concerns about slow eaters who leave food behind as they do not want to miss out on playtime. The impact on them would be worse.”

Sarah Harries, who has two children at Pembroke Dock Community School, has no problem with it closing early once a week, even though her and her husband work full time.

Their daughter is due to go to Ysgol Harri Tudur in September and they are also happy that that school shuts early too.

“School lessons (at Pembroke Dock Community School) finish at 12.15 (on Fridays), “ Sarah said.

“They have options to go home or stay for lunch and do craft or sport with the teaching assistants.

“Reasons given were for giving teachers time to prep. They were actually doing more hours than required previous to this.

“Also in the Pembrokeshire area a lot of parents work nine day fortnights having every other Friday off.

“So it would help with work life balance, giving more time with children on a Friday.

“My husband and I both work full time and don’t have an issue with it. After all it is school and not a childcare facility.”

Article source: https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/areas-wales-schools-closing-early-16203664