A CITY primary school has put forward a plan to close early on Friday afternoon, blaming the move on ‘funding cuts’. 

Stanley Road Primary School has told parents pupils would finish at 1.15pm on a Friday – from this December if the plan is agreed.

The school has blamed ‘funding cuts, leading to staff shortages’ – but the move has been slammed by local councillors.

In a letter to parents, Amarjit Cheema, CEO of Perry Hall Multi-Academy Trust, which the school is part of, says the extra time will be used by teaching staff to do their planning, preparation and assessment (PPA).

The letter also says that an early finish on a Friday will help to improve the school’s attendance figures, as parents will have more time to book appointments such as doctors, dentists and hospital for their children.
But city councillor Louise Griffiths, who is a governor at the school, said she is “really concerned”. 

She said: “The main issue is citing cuts to funding. I got hold of the funding for the school from the department for education which actually shows there hasn’t been any cuts – there’s actually been an increase to funding. 
“This is worrying that they are willing to cut children’s education time to save money, despite the fact they have had an increase in funding. The is not acceptable."

In addition to the school day ending at 1.15pm on Fridays, the new start time will be at 8.45am and classes would finish at 3.15pm Monday to Thursday. Lunchtime will also be reduced to 45 minutes, from 12.15pm to 1pm.

Cllr Griffiths added: “The thing that worries me is not only closing the school early, but they will also reduce lunchtimes. If you are expecting five, six, seven-year olds to hurry up and eat their lunch and then have socialisation within 45 minutes, it’s just not going to happen.”

County councillor Paul Denham said he has been contacted by concerned parents who have written letters to the school to object the plan.

Cllr Denham said: “Especially after the children have just lost six months of schooling because of covid-19 lockdown it seems such an insensitive thing to do. The timing is so bad.

“When the school became an academy there was a lot of opposition and objection by parents. One of the reasons the school became an academy was because they would have more money to spend and be able to do a better job of educating the children.

“But now a couple of years later they’re saying they can’t afford to keep the school open for normal hours. It seems against the argument of them joining for extra money.”

City councillor Jabba Riaz said he has written a letter to governors to express his concerns regarding the proposed early closure after receiving several complaints from parents.

The school says it will provide free after school care until 3.15pm for any families who can prove that both parents work full time on a Friday afternoon. 

If both parents work, then the child will be able to attend a free childcare club until 3.15pm.

All teachers are entitled to PPA time – away from the children they teach – during their working hours. 

The Worcester News contacted the school leaders but they failed to provide a comment before our deadline.

Meanwhile, a student from the school has tested positive for the virus. The children who have been in close contact with the individual who has tested positive have received a letter informing them that their child must isolate at home for two weeks.