Primary schools introduce 9-5 workday so pupils can 'catch up' post-lockdown

·3-min read
A primary school head has revealed why she's decided to extend her schools' working hours. (Posed by models, Getty Images)
A primary school head has revealed why she's decided to extend her schools' working hours. (Posed by models, Getty Images)

Two primary schools have decided to extended the working day by an extra hour to help pupils catch up after losing so much class time in lockdown. 

After discovering how far some students had fallen behind, Keri Edge, executive headteacher of Hallsville and Scott Willie schools in Newham, east London, decided to take action and add an extra half an hour at the beginning and end of each week day.

The change means the pupils will study longer than their secondary school counterparts.

Parents have backed the scheme with the overwhelming majority agreeing to their children staying behind for extra tuition.

Both schools ran live lessons for three hours every day while schools were closed during the pandemic, with staff making phone calls home if students didn’t log on.

Read more: Family 'unschool' their children in tiny caravan after selling family home

Should primary schools extend their hours to help children catch up after lockdown? (Posed by models, Getty Images)
Should primary schools extend their hours to help children catch up after lockdown? (Posed by models, Getty Images)

Read more: It's not just mums: Peter Andre confesses he suffers from 'dad guilt'

But despite offering extensive teaching during the various lockdowns, Mrs Edge says Year 6 students still need the extra support to be ready for secondary school.

“Without the extra support our children may not have all the necessary skills that they need to be secondary ready," she explains. 

“We have had tremendous support from our parents. They understand that this extra hour will make the difference later in their education."

Watch: Longer school days, shorter summer holidays considered in pandemic recovery plan for schools. 

Though the schools are considered to be in one of Britain's poorest communities, results at both schools are among the best in the country and that's something Ms Edge is keen to maintain. 

“Closing the attainment gap is our key priority," she continues. "Many children were already at a disadvantage prior to schools closing.

“Then you add the pandemic into the mix, which despite what has been said has not been a level playing field.

“At my schools, it is not acceptable to let our children move to secondary without the skills they need to succeed.”

Read more: Returning to school after lockdown: How to help with anxiety, according to a psychologist

Two primary schools have extended their hours to help children catch up after losing out on their education during the pandemic. (Posed by models, Getty Images)
Two primary schools have extended their hours to help children catch up after losing out on their education during the pandemic. (Posed by models, Getty Images)

The move comes as the government is due to announce a comprehensive spending review on education later this month.

The budget is expected to include funding to help schools stay open from 8am to 6pm every day, possibly including Saturdays.

As well as continuing to help pupils who are already attending school, there are hopes the measure will help encourage students described as "the lost children of Covid" back into classes.

Between 95,000 and 135,000 have not returned to school this term, data revealed on Sunday. 

Some children's campaigners and parents have criticised the proposals, arguing that the extra hours mean a day that's too lengthy for children to manage and will cause exhaustion, and rush-hour chaos.

However, Mrs Edge added: “The Government plans are absolutely right and correct, but they need to have started months ago.

"We have not waited to act. Our children’s futures are too important.”

Additional reporting SWNS.

Watch: Newlywed couple travelled the world with son during the pandemic. 

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting