Proposed Changes to the School Day | September 2022
Thank you to everyone who responded to the consultation letter which was sent out and for completing the questions in the MS Form. Here is the summary of responses, plus our response to the questions and comments that were raised in your feedback.
Q: When will this change to the school day begin?
A: From September. Although we begin the new timetable in July, the new structure to the day will take effect from September to allow for time to implement this programme of change. As such, students will follow the current timings and structure of the day up until summer.
Q: Will this be a permanent change or is it temporary for a fixed period of time?
A: We view this as a positive addition to our school offer, which we are making for the long term as it will help us to meet our school intent for students. However, we will continue to evaluate it to see whether it is positively benefitting students.
Q: How does the new school day affect the length of lessons compared to the current length?
A: Currently, students experience three 1 hour lessons, and two 1 hour 5 minute lessons per day. Under this proposal, students would experience five 1 hour lessons, ensuring sufficient time remains in lessons to fully explore concepts and allow students to deepen their knowledge.
Comment: It would be better to shorten form time by ten minutes and finish at 2:55.
A: Form time serves a valuable purpose in enabling the delivery of our values and character curriculum, our assembly programme, pastoral support and mentoring. Reducing this by a further 15 minutes would prohibit these important programmes from taking place.
Comment: This is punishing students who worked hard during the pandemic and have not fallen behind.
Comment: It would feel less of a punishment if it did not involve staying behind at the end of the day.
A: Far from being a punishment or catching up, we are introducing this in large part to enrich the curriculum, enabling all students to participate in an enhanced range of new clubs and activities. Whilst remote learning during the pandemic was purposeful and related to curriculum studies, national research shows that all students lost out most on social aspects of learning and interacting with their peers, and the enrichment programme will help us to address this. Additionally, increasing research is showing the vital importance of reading as a driver of social mobility and improved student attainment, and the research indicates that all students benefit from reading together (even if they read often and fluently at home).
Q: Has any extra time been taken from break or lunch times?
A: No, lunch and break times will remain the same length as they are currently, at 30 minutes and 20 minutes respectively.
Comment: The extended day should be used to facilitate longer breaks and lunches for students, as they are currently too short to be served and find somewhere to eat.
A: Three parents raised that more time should be given to break and lunch due to concerns about the time taken for students to be served. Temple Moor has run these break and lunch timings for over a decade and our monitoring of the queues indicates that students have sufficient time to be served and enjoy a meal. Additionally, we have invested in recent months in providing additional seating within the atrium to provide greater space to eat inside.
As part of this proposal, we have also taken the step to split Y8 lunch so that there is an even split of students on each break, rather than having 2 year groups on one break/lunch and 3 on the other. We anticipate this this will further support all students in being served quickly, as well as having time to eat and enjoy their breaks.
Q: Why have Year 8 breaks been split and what is the rationale for choosing this year group?
A: We have taken the decision to split Year 8 so that we can balance the numbers of students evenly on both breaks/lunches, to enable the best experience for students in buying meals and enjoying them within the canteen and atrium spaces. Year 8 has been selected for this split as KS3 year groups are already split into W and X band. However, older year groups have begun options which are not taught as W and X band but instead delivered across the whole year, which precludes them from being able to easily split.
Our intention is that this split will be in place for Year 8 each year, meaning that when students move up to Year 9, this split will no longer be in effect for them.
Q: Will students have the ability to choose enrichments that interest them, and what will those options be? Will activities such as Drama continue?
A: Students will be able to choose enrichments from a wide variety which we intend to offer. We are in the process of preparing an enrichment “options” booklet for students to use in opting for their
enrichment choices. An “options-style” process will then be conducted to facilitate as many of these
choices as we can accommodate. Detailed planning is now taking place within faculties and details of this will follow.
Q: Will Duke of Edinburgh be offered to all year groups and how do we ensure that our child is considered to participate?
A: Currently the Duke of Edinburgh award is only offered to Post 16 as the programme prescribes that students must be 16+ to participate in the Gold Award. To do the Bronze and Silver awards, students must be 14+ and 15+ respectively. Therefore, as part of the enrichment after school, we will be offering Do it 4 Youth, which is a Duke of Edinburgh run programme which can contribute to Bronze or Silver awards, in which students undertake four DofE inspired parts – physical, technical, willpower and community. Once launched, we will then assess popularity of this in terms of whether we run a Bronze award for Y9 upwards.
Comment: Forcing older year groups to read will be unsuccessful, and the extra time should be spent on enrichment and exam preparation.
A: Research indicates that all students, regardless of current reading ability or age, benefit from undertaking reading, as it improves their comprehension, fluency and vocabulary. With careful text selection, our aim is to expose students to a wide range of books which develop their cultural capital as well as their reading. Students in Y7-10 will still be prepared for assessments within curriculum areas, but experience has also shown that exam preparation is most meaningful when students are running up to formal examinations.
Comment: The school should focus on setting more homework and having homework support as one of the Period 6 sessions.
A: The school evaluated and renewed its home learning policy last year, built upon the latest research from the Education Endowment fund (EEF). One of the outcomes of this is that 1 hour supervised “Home learning support” periods are already running after school for those who miss several homework pieces. These will continue from 3:05-4:00 under this proposal.
A small number of parents also raised conflicting concerns about the level of home learning, with some indicating it was too little and others indicating it was too great. Our policy outlines standing expectations for tasks which students should complete each week (e.g. reading; TT rockstars and GCSE Pod study); these are outlined in the Home learning policy on the school website (https://tmhs.co.uk/students-parents-carers/home-learning/). Subject homework is set on top of this.
The EEF research is also clear that quality of home learning is much more important than quantity, with short tasks tied in with their main class learning being most impactful. We have listened to conflicting parent views on the appropriate volume of home learning, balanced against a work life balance for students so that they can pursue interests outside school, to arrive at the current levels which are outlined in the policy.
Comment: The school day is already too long for students.
A: From 2023, the Department for Education has issued guidance that all schools should offer a 32.5 hour school week for students. This proposal will mean that Temple Moor offers a 32.8 hour school week, which is in line with this guidance.
Comment: A later finish could be dangerous for students in winter months.
A: A 15 minute addition to the school day will still mean that students are leaving school when it is still light, and will actually be a 15 minute earlier finish than Year 7 and some Year 8 have experienced this year. This finish time is also comparable to many secondary schools within the East of Leeds, who also finish at around 3pm, and is earlier than primary schools typically finish.
Additionally, we have historically run enrichment after school from 2:50, so students will actually leave earlier from enrichment than when it was previously run after school.
Comment: It would be easier if all days finished at 3:05 rather than the early finish on Friday.
A: The school must operate under the national contract framework for teachers, which sets limits on the hours per year which teachers can be directed to work. To facilitate an increase in the school day on a Monday – Thursday, the earlier finish on a Friday enables us to stay within the teacher contract limits.
Question: Could the enrichment be voluntary for those already accessing enrichment outside of school?
Unfortunately, this is not possible, as all students in a year group must finish at a common time to enable us to effectively safeguard students. As such, a 3:05 finish would apply to all students. Enrichment for all will also enable students to access a variety of enrichments which are not easily accessible outside of school, or which are prohibitive to some families due to cost.
Comment: This new structure presents parents with challenges in picking up children, where one is at primary and one is at Temple Moor as both finish at similar times.
A: Where issues occur in terms of picking up older and younger siblings at different schools, we are happy (with prior arrangement) to supervise Temple Moor students for a short period of time beyond 3:05, until the parent is able to collect them after primary school pick-ups.
Comment: Year 13 students should receive intervention in the same way as is being proposed for Year 11.
A: The use of sixth form students in support of KS3 reading was proposed as we see it as important that the sixth form actively contribute to the Temple Moor community, with these activities also benefitting Year 13 in support of UCAS references and job applications. The Education Endowment Foundation also advocates that the use of peer tutoring is a highly effective way of supporting students’ progress. Additionally, we have introduced an additional timetabled hour within the school curriculum model, for larger A-level subjects, to support students in receiving more lesson time to allow revision. However, we recognise the strength of feeling that Year 13 should have a similar structure to Year 11, in terms of accessing intervention, and therefore we will adjust the proposed Year 13 programme intervention occurring in Term 2 and 3, to still enable Year 13 to contribute to the peer reading programmes for the first term whilst also supporting their own examination preparation.