School Considers Friday Afternoon Closures To Stop Teacher ‘burnout’
Ashby Fields primary school in Daventry, Northamptonshire is considering a proposal to close its doors to students on Friday afternoons. The move comes as a measure to help prevent teacher burnout, allowing staff members extra time to develop a more exciting curriculum for their students. The school has begun seeking feedback from parents on the proposed timetable change, which would be implemented from September if approved.
According to the school’s published proposal, children would be sent home at 1:15 pm on Fridays, but the school asserts that students will receive more classroom time per week than the government’s recommendation. Support services, such as "wraparound care", would be available to parents who cannot pick up their children early.
The school cites the recruitment and retention of quality teachers as a national challenge that impacts children’s education, well-being, and confidence. The proposed change would offer teachers more time outside the classroom to develop their curriculum and collaborate with colleagues. This, the school believes, will enable teachers to avoid burnout, which is a common reason many educators leave the profession.
The school’s proposed plan has raised mixed reactions from parents, and a consultation period will proceed until the 4th of May. The Department for Education has expressed a commitment to working collaboratively with teachers to ensure that the teaching profession remains an attractive and fulfilling option. The Department recognizes that teachers face significant pressure, concerning workload, and is working with Ofsted and various unions to minimize work that does not add value. Additionally, primary schools will not face any curriculum changes or new tests for the remainder of this parliamentary term. Across the country, academies and free schools are exercising their autonomy and discretion to tailor their curriculums and working days to the needs of students, parents, and staff.