Swindon AdvertiserTimely petition hits at lunch break cuts (From Swindon Advertiser)

Get involved! Send photos, video, news & views. Text SWINDON NEWS to 80360 or email us

Timely petition hits at lunch break cuts

Swindon Advertiser: Pupils James and Angelos who face having 15 minutes chopped off their lunch breaks. Picture: THOMAS KELSEY Buy this photo Pupils James and Angelos who face having 15 minutes chopped off their lunch breaks. Picture: THOMAS KELSEY

PUPILS at Isambard Community School have launched a petition to fight against proposals to cut their lunch break by 15 minutes.

The trial scheme was announced to pupils last Monday, with letters being sent to parents the following day.

Chris Brady, a Year 10 pupil at the school, said the scheme was flawed and contradictory in his petition, which has now gained more than 100 signatures.

“Only one lesson in five a day would be make longer, making it random as to which lessons are extended,” he said.

“Due to disparity in timetables between classes, the content cannot be moved through faster, meaning the extra time cannot be utilised properly.

“Shortening the only period of the day where students have the chance to relieve stress and unwind would be extremely unhelpful, as with the ever-increasing pressure of schoolwork and exams students may be unable to cope.

“As well as this, there have been several issues with the idea, such as differing claims in regard to the reasoning behind the proposal.

“In the original letter sent to parents, it was claimed to be in place in order to aid students’ education.

“However, when questioned by pupils several teachers stated the scheme was there due to behavioural issues.

“This contradiction either means there has been severe miscommunication about the scheme, which brings into question whether it has been properly considered and planned, or that parents or students are being directly lied to.”

A spokesman for the school responded to the petition by saying: “Our first concern is always for our students’ education.

“While social time and letting off steam are important, we feel 45 minutes is ample.

“Most other local secondary schools have 30 to 45 minutes without any problems.

“Part of secondary education is about preparing students for the world of work where you will find breaks are few and short.

“Students spend far more time outside school than they do in school – this is the time for social life and play, school time is for learning.

“It would be refreshing if all those who signed this petition were as interested in educational success as they appear to be in a minor change to the school day.”

Headteacher Rachael Mattey defended the scheme by insisting it is only a trial at this stage.

“Isambard Community School’s top priorities are the education and wellbeing of our students,” she said.

“This change to the lunch break is being trialled to assess whether the extra 15 minutes that this would enable us to add onto the last lesson of the day will improve students’ learning and levels of engagement across the afternoon. There will be no change to the start or end times of the day.

“We understand concerns that this reduces the time students have to eat, socialise and take part in extra-curricular activities, which are all important aspects of the school day.

“However we have looked at this in detail and believe that lunches can be served in this time and that enrichment activities can continue as normal.

“The length of our lunch break will also be brought closer in line with other schools across Swindon, in fact still ensuring our pupils enjoy one of the longest breaks in the borough.

“This is, however, a trial for the coming term.

“Only if we see that the changes are beneficial to our students will this become a permanent amendment to the timetable.”

Comments (2)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

12:34pm Tue 18 Feb 14

rixon says...

Thirty minutes as per Lydiard Park Academy is fine.
But if you want a hot meal, by the time you have queued for lunch found somewhere to sit, it will then be time to leave your lunch and get back to lessons.
If you eat your lunch as you should do you will be marked late.
Thirty minutes as per Lydiard Park Academy is fine. But if you want a hot meal, by the time you have queued for lunch found somewhere to sit, it will then be time to leave your lunch and get back to lessons. If you eat your lunch as you should do you will be marked late. rixon
  • Score: 0

7:16pm Tue 18 Feb 14

R Walker says...

What a disappointing statement.

“It would be refreshing if all those who signed this petition were as interested in educational success as they appear to be in a minor change to the school day.”

Students should be applauded for taking a constructive and democratic approach.

After reading the school's account of the situation and receiving the letter informing us of the change it appears to be at odds with what the students are saying.

Students have told me that there is very little time to queue for hot food and the reduction in the break-time will impact this further.

It's interesting to read in the letter to parents that they have cited their supplier as stating that they can feed all students in the allotted time.

I wonder if the governors of the school have taken an independent look at the situation or if there is any commercial benefit associated with reducing catering provision?
What a disappointing statement. “It would be refreshing if all those who signed this petition were as interested in educational success as they appear to be in a minor change to the school day.” Students should be applauded for taking a constructive and democratic approach. After reading the school's account of the situation and receiving the letter informing us of the change it appears to be at odds with what the students are saying. Students have told me that there is very little time to queue for hot food and the reduction in the break-time will impact this further. It's interesting to read in the letter to parents that they have cited their supplier as stating that they can feed all students in the allotted time. I wonder if the governors of the school have taken an independent look at the situation or if there is any commercial benefit associated with reducing catering provision? R Walker
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree