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Shorter school days ‘a clear result of cuts’

Plan to cut academy’s teaching hours by 30 minutes

31 May, 2019 — By Emily Finch

Cllr Comer-Schwartz: ‘This is the clear result of the government’s cuts to schools further compounded by last year’s new educational funding formula’

ISLINGTON’S education chief claims a proposed reduction in teaching hours at a secondary school is a “clear result of government cuts”.

Parents of students at City of London Academy Islington (COLAI), in Angel, were asked to give feedback on the proposed half-hour reduction of hours at the school.

Under the proposed changes, the school will start at 8.40am, rather than the current 8.30am, and the school day will end at 3pm, instead of 3.40pm, from September.

The school blamed “national public sector spending cuts and staffing pressures arising from a crisis in teacher recruitment” for the changes in a letter sent home to parents addressed from principal Sonia Jacob earlier this month. The consultation for the proposed changes at the school, rated “outstanding” by Ofsted, ended last Friday.

Labour education chief, Councilor Kaya Comer-Schwartz, said: “This is the clear result of the government’s cuts to schools further compounded by last year’s new educational funding formula.

Ken Muller

“Problems with the recruitment of teachers is an increasingly concerning issue. With constant educational reform and increased examinations introduced by the government, entering and staying in the teaching profession is a very difficult choice for many.”

The school, which is sponsored by the City of London Corporation and City University, said that the changes in hours would provide “multiple benefits” including “reducing the number of lessons being covered by temporary supply staff” and “offering our students an improved after-school enrichment and intervention programme”.

Ken Muller, the spokesman for the Islington branch of the National Education Union (NEU) who was a teacher at the school before it became an academy 10 years ago, said he “welcomed” the changes because it would bring it in line with other local schools.

But he added: “We are, however, concerned that the change is being made, according to a letter the head teacher has sent to parents and carers, ‘in light of national public sector spending cuts and staffing pressure arising from a crisis in teacher recruitment’, especially if the reduction in the number of lessons is aimed at reducing staffing or results in an increase in school workload.”

A spokeswoman for The City of London Corporation said: “The proposed change would not compromise the quality of education for our students. Instead, it would offer them an improved after-school enrichment programme.”


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