A CITY primary school has scrapped the proposal for a shorter school week after families and local councillors said the plan would jeopardise children's education.

Stanley Road Primary School put forward a plan to close early on Friday afternoons – from this December.

The school blamed the move on ‘funding cuts, leading to staff shortages’ – but the proposal was slammed by councillors, who said the move was “worrying” particularly as the children have just lost six months of education because of Covid-19 lockdown.

Mum Sheena MacKenzie said she feels “really happy” with the outcome.

Ms MacKenzie, who has a child at the school, said: “They’ve listened to the parents and took into account the Covid pandemic and it feels a relief that they’ve responded to all the people.

“The community stepped up and said this is a really terrible idea and the school responded positively so it’s really good.”

Cllr Louise Griffiths, who is a governor at the school, said closing the school early would also have had a "severe impact" on parents, as it would mean juggling childcare.

She said: "One thing I would say is that I’m extremely happy with this outcome.

"I don’t think closing the school early on a Friday is in the best interest of children because in order to do so it would have an impact on their lunchtime and playtime throughout the week, and that’s something that is key to development and socialisation.

"I also think it would have a severe impact on parents, whether they be working or not, as it would mean juggling childcare and it’s unreasonable to expect parents to rearrange work and other commitments on a Friday when they would expect their child to be in school."

Governors at Stanley Road Primary School and Perry Hall Multi-Academy Trust, which the school is part of, started a consultation on September 25 with parents and carers in relation to a change to the structure of the school week.

The school say this proposed change was to allow more consistency in lessons.

Children finishing at 1.15pm on a Friday would have meant that Friday afternoons would have been used by teachers to carry out additional training and complete their planning, preparation and assessment (PPA) duties, resulting in a reduction in classroom cover and up-skilling the teaching team.

The school say the timetable would have been adjusted from Monday through to Friday to ensure children would not have lost out on any learning time.

A spokesman from the trust said: “The views of our parents, carers and the staff are hugely important to us at Stanley Road, and we have always appreciated the support we get from them.

“We have received a number of responses which have been welcomed as part of this consultation.

“Some feedback has been positive and some not so.

“The CEO of PHMAT, the Headteacher and all Governors have read and fully considered the comments, suggestions and concerns put forward by our local community.

“We have also considered the timing of our proposal in relation to the current Covid-19 pandemic, and the additional worry and disruption this change may cause our families and pupils.

“The Trust, Governors and Headteacher have therefore made the joint decision not to go ahead with the proposal for the shorter school week at this time.

“We would like to thank our parents, carers and school community for their support and for those who have used the appropriate channels to raise concerns and offer their support.”

Headteacher David Brownsword said: “I fully support and welcome this decision made by our Local Governing Body.

“It proves that the Governing Body, the Trust and the school are clearly listening to the opinions of all our community, which is as it should be.

“This was always a consultation after all and not a done deal. I think everyone agrees that this is the right decision during this difficult and challenging time.”

City Councillor Lynn Denham said: “I‘m really pleased to hear they’ve listened to parents and changed their decision.

“It’s an important lesson for the head teacher and the academy trust to actually think more carefully about the needs of parents and children.

“The children’s education has to be a top priority and I think it’s a concern that the original letter was sent out before any consultation from the governors of the school.

“It’s certainly made me look at the legal arrangements for academy trusts. As councillors we have received a number of questions from parents about that.”

City councillor Jabba Riaz has praised the school for listening to the concerns of parents and governors.

Cllr Riaz said: “I think credit should go to the governors and the parents who were swift in contacting their local councillors to take action.

“Cllr Louise Griffiths went above and beyond to ensure effective scrutiny and questioning this resulting, through the combined effort, a U-turn.”

The final meeting took place on Thursday where the decision was made.