After a lengthy rant to the Secretary of State for Education re his plans for the school day, I was amazed I got a reply, here it is:
Dear Mr Heard
Thank you for your email of 16 January, addressed to the Secretary of State, about lengthening the school day. As you can appreciate the Secretary of State receives a large amount of correspondence and is unable to respond to each one personally. On this occasion I have been asked to reply.
I understand your concerns about the reporting of comments made by the Secretary of State that teachers should work longer and have shorter holidays and the impact this will have on their work life balance.
The Government is not planning to compel schools to extend the school day so that teachers work longer hours or make changes to their school holidays. However, they want schools to be able to change the conventional three term model if they wish to do so. I must stress that varying the length of a school day or year are matters for individual schools themselves to decide having consulted all interested parties including the staff, parents, pupils and local authority.
The Government places enormous value and trust in the professionalism and skills of the teaching workforce. The Secretary of State has stated that the country currently has the strongest cohort of teachers for many years. The Department recognises that there are many teachers across the country who are devoting many hours over and above the statutory requirements with the sole motivation of improving the life chances of our children and young people. In trusting the professionalism of teachers there is a responsibility on individuals, as well as school leaders, to ensure that an appropriate work-life balance is achieved.
As part of our commitment to improving the service we provide to our customers, we are interested in hearing your views and would welcome your comments via our website at www.education.gov.uk/pcusurvey
Public Communications Unit