By Andy Merrett
Apr 12, 2007
Risk to families from long school days, says UK headteacher
It feels as if the possibility of UK schools staying open from “dawn ’til dusk” has been a possibility for quite some time now, but now a headteacher has spoken out on his belief that it will pose a risk to families.
The government’s policy of opening schools from 0800 to 1800 risked damaging family relationships, head teacher Stuart Merry told the NASUWT.
Mr Merry, from Kirklees, said schools should not encourage parents to be away from their children for long days.
Delegates said extended schools should not mean extended hours for teachers.
Mr Merry said some parents regarded their children as “accessories” to their busy lives and left them with childminders for up to 12 hours a day.
He acknowledged some children, especially from deprived backgrounds needed help, but said that should not be done on the “backs of teachers”.
He said: “They are actually better off being with someone who’s qualified, getting a decent breakfast so they’re ready for school and having some care afterwards.”
“But I know children who are left with childminders at sometimes seven and eight in the morning who don’t see their parents until half past six or seven at night.
“It’s not a real issue for them to make a cohesive family.
Let’s be honest. This is all part of the increased pressure parents find themselves under. The increased cost of living in many parts of the country, plus the rise in single-parent families, means that parents feel pressured to work longer hours.
It’s rather unfair to say that all parents see their children as commodities, though of course this is a sad reality in some cases.
This is an important issue and will change the lives of children, parents, and teachers.