Schools in UK are being forced to cut the length of classes on a Friday in a bid to save money.
The move, which is seeing pupils in for just 4.5 days a week – finishing early before the weekend, has so far been implemented in at least 24 schools. However in total, more than 200 head teachers are believed to be considering following suit.
The move, which could jeopardise education, has seen 14 schools in Birmingham alone scrap Friday afternoon lessons. It allows head teachers to employ less classroom assistants.
The cuts follow an investigation by The Mirror, which claimed that behavioral problems in special needs pupils were on the rise as so many teachers had been axed. This meant that they were not getting the support needed.
General secretary of the National Union of Headteachers, Paul Whiteman, said: ‘The idea that some schools have moved to a 4.5 day week and that others are considering the same option ought to be ringing serious alarm bells with the Government.
‘School budgets are at breaking point. School leaders have made all the obvious savings, now they are faced with having to make major changes to the way they provide education.’
Joint general secretary of the National Education Union, Kevin Courtney, added: ‘Unless this is addressed a dire situation will only get worse. Children and young people deserve better than this bargain basement version of an education system.’ The lack of teachers in schools is not the only worry, however.
Budget cuts mean classes have less basic equipment, more pupils, and even cancelled school trips. Some cannot afford to repair damage to buildings – including cracks and leaks. According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, there has been an 8% rise on budget cuts in schools since 2010.