Blatchington Mill Consultation: 'A Later School Day'
At Blatchington Mill, we are increasingly looking to educational research to inform our decision making across the school. To this end, we will be launching a consultation with staff, students, and families to consider an adaptation to the start and finish times for the school day. The initial proposal, that is subject to revision and is by no means a definitive plan, is to shift the start time of the school day later by one hour – to 9.25am, and correspondingly move the finish time of the school day to 4pm. There is a growing consensus view that early start times do not support the biological rhythms of adolescents, and it is our intention through this consultation to investigate whether this change of start time could impact positively on student concentration, work ethic, attendance, punctuality, and ultimately educational outcomes.
The purpose of this consultation is to answer three broad questions, and to consider the organisational changes that would be required in order to make this change. The questions are: ‘In what ways would this proposed change impact on staff?’, ‘In what ways would this proposed change impact on students?’ and ‘In what ways would this proposed change impact on parents and carers?’
The consultation will be conducted over the next two months, and an initial summary will be shared with all stakeholders at that stage before any decisions are made about whether to pursue this change.
How to get involved
Staff members will have access to a survey in school, and will also be offered a chance to contribute to a working group to analyse the results of the consultation.
Students will be engaged through Student Voice, and will have opportunities to discuss this in form time. The student commissioners will also lead some work on gauging student feedback, and will conduct research within the school community. The senior students will also consider the views of the upper school and sixth form on this proposal.
Parents and carers will be sent a survey to complete electronically, and there will also be the opportunity to come into school and contribute to sessions on this topic.
The consultation will begin in February, and will close before the Easter break. There will then be analysis of the consultation and a decision will be made about whether to take the proposal forward. The proposed timeframe for implantation of the change will be considered as part of the consultation, but could not be before September 2018 at the earliest.