Not all parents are happy about half day closing on Friday at Westwood School in March

Shorter week planned for Westwood School, March. The plan is for school to finish by 1.30pm on Frida

Shorter week planned for Westwood School, March. The plan is for school to finish by 1.30pm on Fridays - Credit: Archant

Parents have taken to social media to criticise a March primary school that has announced plans to finish at lunchtime on a Friday.

The problem is not just about working mums finding child care but also the early finish does not include reception and playgroup children which may result in multiple school runs for some families.

Gill Thomas, the head of Westwood Primary School and Maple Grove, said in a letter to parents that the proposal ensures “that children receive the same amount of quality teaching by qualified class teachers and get more time with their families with Friday afternoons off.”

She said that since 2005 teachers have been entitled to planning, preparation and assessment (PPA) “non contact time” within the school week.

The school has offered low cost childcare for working families whose children need to remain in school on Friday afternoon.

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But parents took to social media to point out worrying downfalls to the plan.

Lynda Raines said: “So the working people get penalised yet again. This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Thank God I don’t have kids at school.”

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Jessica Heslop said: “From a teachers point of view I completely understand this and think it’s a great idea for the teachers and a positive change for the children.

“But as a working parent I fully agree that this will cause lots of problems for working parents.”

Stacey Ohara said: “My genuine hope is that everyone who has a say on social media actually comes to meetings that we have been invited to to put there point across, as all of this on here (as said in the letter) won’t be noted.

“It certainly will happen if no one actually bothers to go and just has a little Facebook moan! I’m so glad to see others were as shocked and outraged as I was.”

Bev Allcock said: “Just another of their pathetic ideas like moving year 5 children over to the other side to play with reception and year 1.

“Well done Westwood, stress for us working parents, just what we all need.”

Gillian Ward said: “Never heard anything quite like it, a school going to charge you for child care if you work and if you need it, more stress for working parents.”

Nicola Christy said: “Penalising working parents as they will have to pay for childcare grrr thank god my child is out of education

Justine Petrou said: “This is absolutely ridiculous! I’m pleased I don’t have this drama as a hard working parent.”

Kristi Watson added: “They can’t be serious!”

Tina Webb said she had been in to school, who had now sorted a school run situation as outlined below.

She said: “My children go to Westwood, it’s only years 1-6 that will be finishing early!

“So on a Friday I would have to take my eight year old to school for 8.45, go back at 12.15 to take my three year old to preschool, back again at 1.30pm to get the eight year old, then back again at 3.15pm to get my three year old.”

Mrs Thomas hopes parents and carers will attend one of a series of meetings this month to discuss the reasoning behind the proposal.

For those not able to attend a power point presentation explaining the proposals has been put on the school’s website.

In her letter she wanted parents to keep comments outside of the school to a minimum and asked for them not to be discussed on social media.

The plans would mean:

•School start at 8.45 am for all children.

•The lunchtime shortened to 45 minutes for pupils in Years 1 to 6.

•School will end at 1.30pm on Friday to allow all teachers and teaching assistants to participate in PPA.

•For working parents childcare will be offered on a Friday afternoon at a very reasonable cost.

The school has around 350 pupils – its last Ofsted report two years ago rated it ‘good’.

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