ASCL comment on guidance over minimum school week

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, comments on the Department for Education guidance over the minimum expectation of a 32.5-hour school week.
“This is petty government tinkering masquerading as meaningful policy-making. Most schools already have a school week of at least 32.5 hours, and the majority of those that don’t are within 15 minutes a day of meeting the requirement. In many cases, the only thing these schools will realistically be able to do to meet the expectation is have slightly longer break times. However, in order to implement these changes they will have to consult parents, notify staff, and adjust transport arrangements. It is the government that is wasting time, not schools.

“The government claims that it has deferred the deadline for schools being expected to meet this non-statutory expectation from September 2023 to September 2024 ‘in recognition of the pressures facing schools’. In truth, they have been forced to introduce this delay as a result of their own dithering, with this guidance publishing a full year later than planned. This is yet another example of the lack of respect schools have, sadly, come to expect in the government’s dealings with them.”