Changes to the school day - September 2023
Dear Parents and Carers,
The government released an Education White Paper in March 2022, setting out its vision for education for this decade. The White Paper outlined the government’s intention for all schools to have a school week which is at least 32.5 hours in length by September 2023. Further details from the Department of Education (DfE) regarding this can be found through the link below:
The information note sets out the requirements for schools and provides guidance on the delivery of the 32.5 hours per week. The DfE requests ‘when school leaders are considering how to use additional time in their schools, this should be guided by their priorities for improvement and learning outcomes for pupils. They should ensure they are delivering a broad and balanced curriculum within the school week for all their pupils.’
At Sewell Park Academy, in Years 7, 8 and 9, our school week falls short of the 32.5 hour intention from the government. In Years 10 and 11, it fulfils the requirement through the current period 6 sessions. I have worked closely with the schools Senior Leadership Team and Broad Horizons Education Trust, to develop a school day which aligns all year groups, meets the ambition of the government and addresses our school priorities for improvements and learning outcomes for students.
From September 2023, the school week at Sewell Park Academy will be 32 hours and 40 minutes in length, starting at 8.30 am each day, with an end time of 3.40 pm on a Monday and Tuesday, and 2.40 pm on a Wednesday, Thursday and Friday as follows:
Through these changes to the school day at Sewell Park Academy, we will be realigning the school day for all students from all year groups. The earlier start time, by 10 minutes, ensures that the finish on a Monday and Tuesday is earlier than the current school day of 4.05 pm (for Years 10 and 11) which supports the safety of our students travelling home from school. As the school has grown substantially over the last few years, the split lunch arrangement allows us to serve all students over a 55 minute period, compared to 40 minutes currently. Although there is an earlier finish of 25 minutes on three days per week, this will provide time for SPA+ enrichment opportunities and library homework clubs for those students who wish to participate, while still ensuring they are able to travel home in daylight hours in the winter months.
As stated previously, designing the school day at Sewell Park to ensure it meets the required 32.5 hours has been focussed on addressing learning outcomes for students and our priorities for improvements. The increase in curriculum time from 25 to 27 lessons per week, means that the time can be put into the following areas:
At Key Stage 3 - curriculum time is to be added to Music/Performing Arts, Computer Science & ‘Study’ sessions
At Key Stage 4 - curriculum time is to be added to Science and ‘Study’ sessions
The ‘Study’ sessions at SPA have been specifically designed to teach our students about the ‘Science of Learning’ using the most up to date scientific research, how the brain works and techniques for them to be most successful both in school and beyond. This will support our Revision and Review procedures and support the completion of this, as well as allowing specific interventions to support learning.
In summary, this change is one which has been directed by the government and is a requirement for all schools. In making these changes, we want to ensure that the students at Sewell Park Academy continue to have the best possible opportunities and that we continue the fantastic development of the school over the last few years, especially following the impact of the pandemic.
I hope that the information here is helpful to explain the changes and the rationale behind this. We will be detailing this with the students, so that they have the opportunity to ask any questions as well. If you have any questions or require additional information or clarification, please do not hesitate to contact the school by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.