Plans to extend school day for West Cumbrian pupils

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Cockermouth School is extending its days to keep up with the demands of the new curriculum.

Rob Petrie, headteacher of Cockermouth School
Rob Petrie, headteacher of Cockermouth School

From September, pupils will take six classes a day instead of five.

The school day will begin five minutes earlier, at 8.40am, and finish 10 minutes later, at 3.30pm.

Lessons will be changed from one hour to 55 minutes, with the morning form period cut to 15 minutes.

In years 10 and 11, pupils will have daily lessons of maths and English.

The move comes amid sweeping changes to the curriculum and GCSEs, which include a new grading system and tougher assessment.

Rob Petrie, headteacher of the 1,350-pupil school, said: “We have listened to a considerable amount of feedback from parents, students and teachers about the demands that the new curriculum and GCSEs are placing on the school community.

“The new timings will allow students to spend more time in lessons at school so that they are better placed to cope with the increasing workload that comes with the new curriculum.

“We want to increase the emphasis on the key foundations for any student’s future and spend more time on English and maths, while maintaining a broad and balanced curriculum.

“We want to reflect the increasing demand, both in terms of complexity and quantity, of the recently introduced GCSE qualifications.

“We plan to do this by having daily lessons of English and maths in years 10 and 11 and by increasing the time for the preference subjects.”

A parent, who did not wish to be named, said: “Having more lessons and making them a bit shorter is good as far as I’m concerned.”

Dr Petrie said that, in order to make the changes, the school had considered a variety of models.

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“The final model has been discussed with a number of parents, and staff and governors. The school governors have given this their unanimous endorsement,” he said.

It is unclear how many parents were consulted or how.

Deputy headteacher John Brettle said schools are under a lot of pressure which is why changes had to be made.

Regarding staff, he said: “There are mixed feelings, yes there are more lessons but that doesn’t necessarily mean there will be more marking.

“We have also given them some more non-contact time in school so they have more time to prepare.”

Friday, May 19, 2017 at 4:02PM
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