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Why not finish at 2.30pm?

WORLD Cup fever inspired a radical idea for cutting workload at Grinling Gibbons primary in south London, writes Helen Ward.

The lack of traffic on England match days prompted head Cynthia Eubank to realise that she could avoid the rush hour every day - if school started earlier. Furthermore, a shorter lunch would mean a 2.30pm finish. Staff could run after-school clubs and do marking yet still leave at a reasonable time. She said: "We could start at 8.30am and lop a bit off lunch. If school finished at 2.30pm, you could do admin in the school day. Teachers would also be fresher and inclined to run after- school clubs."

The 233-pupil Lewisham school aims to introduce an earlier day next year but must consult parents first. The school is one of 32 taking part in the project to find ways to cut workload (see story, left).

Mrs Eubank also wants a bigger resource room with a PC so assistants can prepare materials during the day. Currently teachers have to use computers in a Year 6 classroom, where a lesson may be going on.

She said: "The project means if we come up with an innovative idea then it can be funded." Mrs Eubank already brings in specialists to teach dance and music, freeing up teacher time.

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