Forest Gate school shortens week by half day on Fridays and is considering cutting Thursdays short too

Forest Gate Community School in Newham decided to cut its week down to four-and-a-half days.

Forest Gate Community School has reduced its weekly hours by half a day on Fridays - and this has been so successful that it’s considering cutting Thursdays short too.

Simon Elliott, chief executive of the Community Schools Trust, said: “The reduced timetable is firstly about helping our staff feel valued and appreciated for all their hard work.

“Happy teachers are better teachers. Better teacher equal better grades, it’s as simple as that.

“I think one of the reasons we are among the top schools in the country is that staff are very well looked after. They feel valued.

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“We encourage staff to leave earlier and allow them to do what they want on a Friday afternoon.”

He went on to say that an internal survey showed 98% of teachers appreciated the change.

Mr Elliott added that pupils, who sometimes struggle to focus on Friday afternoons, enjoy the time to spend with friends doing extracurricular activities and homework.

Schools have to teach for 32-and-a-half hours a week, and Forest Gate Community school has moved four 50-minute lessons from Friday to other days.

Children are able to stay on site to do homework or extracurricular activities during this time.

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The think tank Autonomy recently made the case for all schools adopting a four-day week, a trend that has become popular in the US.

It found that two thirds of teachers in UK schools had reached their “breaking point” due to heavy workloads.

Autonomy’s report found that around 75% of teachers support the policy of cutting the working week to 32 hours with no reduction in pay.