Following the Secondary Education Council of 15th October at which this issue was raised the following position has been reached. Please note that this is being carefully monitored.
The school agrees that there is a current issue problem with the lunch hours – especially (though by no means exclusively) mainly in S4 – and have been working with the APEEE in order to improve the situation. The timetable that was agreed at the SAC of 30th May 2013 and by the Admin Board has proved to be difficult.The two main problems seem to be that there are not enough students in S4 to create more parallel classes and the limited availability of CdCs in the required timetable slots. The bottom line is that there are not enough hours in the week as it stands.
The school agree that our starting point should be that eating & childrens’ health is not a luxury but a prerequisite of anything else & that therefore we should ALL work together to find a solution. Most reports on the subject recommend a minimum of 26 mins time SEATED, which by the time one adds time to & from the classes probably equates to 40 minutes total. (If anyone wishes to contest this or check feel free!). On the other hand, we have the interest of the Primary and Nursery children to have a short day.
There is unanimous acknowledgement that we need action now (even if flawed, interim stop-gaps) as well as commitment to sort out better, more sustainable solutions as soon as possible. Finally we also need a really long-term vision.
1. Everyone agrees that action needs to be taken NOW and so, as an immediate measure, 5 minutes has been shaved off the start & end of lessons before & after the 20 minute lunch break in order to give a total of 30 minutes. In addition the affected students have been given priority cards for the canteen. The canteen closing time has also been extended till 13.30 – we would like to thanks Mrs. Streul for her part in helping with these practical solutions. S4 students have double lessons before lunch break. In order to regain the lost lesson time there won’t be a 5 minutes break between these double periods are being squeezed together & children will be excused to go to the toilet (this replaces the normal 10mins between lessons which evidently rarely serves any purpose).
2. In the medium term Mr Schlabe has promised to look at the structure of the current timetable as soon as possible with a view to making any changes the school can.
3. In the long term the community might needs to look again at the transport options – in order to give the pupils the time they need. We would either need to extend every day to 15:35 or have 2 longer days rather than the one we currently have. Clearly this is a complex issue & will have to be balanced with the needs of other groups such as those who already feel that the day is too long for the younger children.