UK schools consider three-day weeks
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Schools in the UK are reportedly considering a three-day week in the autumn term as they battle with rising energy costs as well as teacher pay rises.
Headteachers are said to be holding 'crisis meetings' as they look ahead to the autumn term, which sees children go back to school next month.
It comes as budgets have been stretched to the maximum amid rising energy bills and teacher pay rises, which are awarded at the start of the academic year.
One chief executive, who did not want to be named, said: “Shorter school days, fewer after school clubs and enrichment opportunities and draconian restrictions on energy usage will become a reality for all trusts and the situation is particularly challenging for smaller trusts and standalone schools.”
Meanwhile Dr Robin Bevan, headmaster of Southend High School for Boys in Essex, told The Telegraph that 'if a four-day week is not already being planned, it will certainly be being considered' by some schools.
Schools have been facing considerable pressure as funding per pupil in England has dropped by nine percent between 2010 and 2020.
The government has tried to combat the problem by pledging an extra £7 billion to school budgets by 2023, but with living costs rising, it's expected to fall short.
For example, Dr Bevan's school is due to receive an income boost of £300,000, but is faced with a £200,000 rise in utility bills as well as additional teacher pay of £70,000 and costs to pay support staff of £40,000.
Talks are now underway over the summer holidays to try and tackle how to deal with the increasing costs. Other ideas thought to be discussed include cutting back on maintenance work and other resources.
Meanwhile, Marc Jordan – the chief executive of Creative Education Trust said there had been discussions of a 'three-day week'.
A spokesperson for the Department for Education said: “We recognise that schools – much like the wider economy – are facing increased costs, including on energy and staff pay.
“Our schools white paper set out our expectation that the school week should last a minimum of 32.5 hours – the current average – for all mainstream state-funded schools. Thousands of schools already deliver this length of week within existing budgets and we expect current funding plans to account for this.”