Four-day week at Fresh Start

6th October 2000 at 01:00
THE Government's flagship policy to turn around struggling schools was dealt a new blow this week as Corby community college - opened as a Fresh Start school last month - announced a four-day week for pupils from Monday.

The college - created out of two failing schools in the Northamptonshire town - is seven teachers short and has been unable to find temporary staff to fill in on a consistent basis.

From Monday until the half-term holiday groups of students will spend one day a week studying at home.

In a letters sent to parents Jenny James, Corby's headteacher, blamed the national shortage of teachers for the move. She said: "We will be working round the clock to solve the college's staffing problems."

But she said: "The harsh reality is that there is no other option available at the moment."

The Fresh Start scheme, under which a school is closed and re-opened with a new name, management and teachers has been beset with problems.

Four heads have resined, three of the schools named as needing special attention have been placed on special measures since re-opening and a TES survey last month revealed that the policy had failed to boost results.

Last month the Government announced that all 25 Fresh Start schools would receive an average of pound;200,000 extra for each of the next two years.

Corby community college opened as a 792-pupil Fresh Start school on September 1. It was created out of Beanfield community college and Queen Elizabeth school. A third of the original staff did not transfer.

National Union of Teachers members, who make up 40 per cent of the teachers at the college, fear that a four-day week for pupils will worsen conditions for teaching and learning.

They believe that their workload will increase because of the additional monitoring of the work to be completed out of school.

Last month Beechwood school in Slough instigated a four-day week for pupils because of teacher shortages.

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