Danemill School abandons early finish proposal

Danemill Primary SchoolCash-strapped Danemill Primary School will not be finishing at 1.05pm after angry parents stood up to the head teacher.

Suggestions of an early finish time on Fridays from October at Enderby’s Danemill Primary School were put forward by the head teacher last month.

The letter had stated that it was due to funding cuts, but parents said it would not fit in with work commitments.

Executive head teacher Dawn White and the head of school Tracey Lawrence said the Friday afternoons would become planning and preparation time for teachers.

The letter cited budget cuts and the ‘current economic climate’ at the school for the planned change.

However the idea has been panned by parents concerned about having to find additional child care on Friday afternoons.

One parent, speaking to the Hinkley Times, is quoted as saying:

“This is in the middle of the working day. Lots of parents have to work to make ends meet.

“It is lunch time. How can they even suggest ending the school week at this time? It is unworkable madness.

“This is not the best option for the children or their parents but it may be the best option for all the teaching staff.”

When another local paper, the Leicester Mercury contacted the school on 25th June, a spokeswoman said:

“It is only a proposal.

“This is all we have to say.”

The matter was raised with South Leicestershire MP Alberto Costa who met head of the academy trust responsible for Danemill Primary, the Discovery School’s Trust, in Westminster last week.  The M.P. says on his website that he is committed to working with Leicestershire County Council to deliver fairer funding for Leicestershire.

The school has now written again to parents saying the plans have been scrapped.

Mr Costa said:

Alberto Costa M.P.

Alberto Costa M.P.

“I am delighted to hear that the school have made the correct decision following their consultation, and will not be closing early on a Friday afternoon.

“I was very concerned to hear of these plans initially and this was reiterated by a number of calls and emails from parents who were displeased with the proposals, hence why I was very keen to make urgent representations to the school on behalf of my constituents”.

Chief executive of the Discovery School’s Trust Paul Stone said:

Paul Stone

Paul Stone

“I am grateful to Mr Costa and to the parents that contributed to the consultation.

“This was a very useful exercise to gain important stakeholder views.

“I can confirm that we will not be proceeding with the outline plan to close early on a Friday afternoon, clearly this reflects the views of parents and other stakeholders.

“The school will continue to look to improve teaching and learning opportunities for all our children in partnership with parents.”

Mr Costa added:

“I do hope this announcement from the school will seek to reassure parents regarding this matter.

“Understandably my constituents were concerned about the potential impact these plans could have had, if they had gone ahead, but ultimately I am pleased that the school have listened attentively to the views of parents”.

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