CamdenNewJournal

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Haverstock School to close early on Fridays

Headteacher encouraged by new inspection report rating secondary school as 'good'

18 July, 2019 — By Helen Chapman

Headteacher James Hadley says the timetable changes are not based on financial pressures

PUPILS will be sent home from school an hour earlier on Fridays at a secondary school – but its headteacher insists the move is not to save money.

James Hadley, the head at Haverstock School in Chalk Farm, said the time would be used to develop staff.

He said: “It is about saving us time and improving the school, rather than saying we have to do this – it is not financial. It is professional.”

A letter from Mr Hadley went home to parents on Tuesday informing them of the changes to the timetable.

It states: “The governors have asked me to stress that the decision is purely to support school improvement and is of no financial gain to the school.”

The school will now close at 2pm on Fridays. Sixth-form pupils, however, will not be asked to come in at all. Their new schedule has been described as four days a week of “contact time” and a “develop­ment day” on Friday, when pupils are encouraged to focus on independent studies.

Across the country it has been reported that schools have shut early due to funding issues with shorter hours reported in Stockport and Birmingham.

But Mr Hadley said: “We are reducing the lengths of periods on Fridays to increase the professional development of staff so that the quality of what we are doing can improve.”

Thirty parents had responded to a consultation survey on the change at Haverstock – whose alumni includes David and Ed Miliband and footballer Joe Cole – with 20 per cent of respondents not being in favour of the switch.

David Miliband went back to teach politics at his old school

Mr Hadley said: “We will review everything we do. The aim is to make the school better. The time will be used to improve the school’s priorities and help the staff become better practitioners.”

Meanwhile, the school was this week celebrating after receiving a “Good” rating from Ofsted. The report said that exclusions had reduced and behaviour had improved since the last inspection in 2017 when the school was rated as “requiring improvement”.

Mr Hadley, who joined the school in 2017, pointed towards the prefect system in Year 11 and the “honours badge” system for younger years as helping encourage good attendance and good behaviour at the school. Inspectors said the school’s sixth-form provision still requires im­provement, with not enough emphasis on developing the social and personal skills of pupils.

Mr Hadley said a new head of sixth form is starting in September, adding: “They will look to transform the sixth-form by, of course, improving results but also developing the students’ personal development.”

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