Union hits out at longer school day proposals

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Education news
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RECOMMENDATIONS to increase the hours of the school day would turn teachers into “child-minders”, a Wigan union leader has said.

A former advisor to the Prime Minister last week claimed that the government is considering longer school days and shorter holidays, a move described as “a real game changer in education.”

Education secretary Michael Gove introduced reforms last year to allow schools to vary hours and term times.

But the National Union of Teachers (NUT) Wigan secretary Max Atkins believes the plans could end up costing Wigan families.

He said: “Michael Gove, who hasn’t the faintest idea what teachers do, is extending the school day so that teachers become child-minders. We have a message for him, teachers teach, child-minders mind children - that would mean a lot of Wigan child-minders out of a job.

“Pupils in other countries do well in tests because they go to school six days a week, are in school from 8am to 6pm, have private tuition and then have homework. Gove wants that for your child.

“Children need a childhood. With these proposals, there would be thousands of tired, stressed and miserable Wigan children.

“And if there is only a four- week summer holiday, that would mean forcing everyone to book a holiday in that period which will put prices through the roof.

“So that would mean thousands of Wigan parents hundreds of pounds out of pocket.”

Former policy advisor to David Cameron, Paul Kirby, said the proposals would appeal to working parents and would be the “perfect election promise” amid speculation that the Government is considering adopting them.

A spokesman for the Department of Education said: “We are already giving all schools the freedom to set the length of the school day and term. We will obviously consider recommendations for further reforms.”

Teachers in Wigan joined colleagues across the region in strike action last year in opposition to education reforms.