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Fury, spin and apathy at a Daventry primary school

The Daventry Express had the news first. Ashby Fields Primary School, in Northamptonshire, is thinking about closing early on Friday afternoons in order to help its teaching staff maintain a “healthy work-life balance”. At 1:15pm, the teachers will clock off.

Headteacher Jacqui Johnson sent a letter out to parents outlining the idea. No all recipients are thrilled. Kelly Holmes, whose daughter attends Ashby Fields, wondered: “What do they intend to do to accommodate working parents?… They’re making working parents pay for extra childcare and we will have to fight it out for places.”

Currently, the teachers work a 27.5 hours a week timetable. The school’s letter told of the teachers’ “huge workload”. The teachers work “60 hours a week during term time and through their holidays to keep up”.

The letter than pitches teachers as warriors in a kind of battle zone, talking of “frontline teaching”.

“They [teachers] have the school holidays and bank holidays,” adds Holmes. “They get more days off than working parents.”

Can teachers not be working parents? And what working parents don’t fancy a longer weekend on the same money?

The school says not teaching on Friday afternoons will allow the school to “access additional staff development time to enhance the quality of teaching and learning”. Less teaching will make for better teaching and pupils will learn more. The pupils aren’t there as often, of course, but the point is that teachers will get more time away from them. Do you see?

The school’s local newspaper makes no mention of any parent being in favour of the scheme. But the Guardian says, “Parents had mixed reactions when the plan was discussed at a public meeting.” The Sun counters that with: “Parents furious as school announces plans to shut at lunchtime every Friday so stressed teachers can ‘chill out’.”

The Indy also spots those “mixed reviews”, but like the Guardian it too fails to cite any parent supportive of the idea.

Over in the Express we’re told: “PARENTS have reacted with fury after a primary school announced plans to end the week at lunchtime on Fridays – to give teachers more time ‘to chill’.”

The story is being spun. It’s not about chilling. It’s not about fury. And it’s not much about meaningful debate. It’s a small story that appeals to your prejudices:

  1. Do you think teachers are selfless workaholics?
  2. Do you think teachers are work-shy and cosseted?

Or 3. Do you wonder how school came to be such a booming industry that keeps children trapped in a corporate system until their early 20s?

Posted: 29th, April 2018 | In: News | Comment


McCartney Plays Israel And The Super Furry Animals Die

PAUL McCartney is to play Israel, and the suicide bomber will try to hit a moving target as Macca’s head wobbles this way and that.

“We have worked it out,” says the Indy’s front page

All you need is 5,000 bodyguards – £1.5million security blitz to protect Macca from security threats,” says the Mirror, in words that Yasser Arafat look-alike Ringo Starr would put to music.

But what if… what if Macca is killed?

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 25th, September 2008 | In: Broadsheets, Celebrities, Tabloids | Comments (4)