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Colindale grandfather angry at 'mad' change to school hours at Edgware's London Academy
A grandfather is outraged by “mad” changes to his grandson’s school hours.
Neil Smith, 66, has spoken out about changes to school hours at the London Academy, in Edgware, which mean his grandson is required to be in school by 8am.
Mr Smith, who lives in Dishforth Lane, Colindale, believes the day is now too long for children coming straight from primary school, and that the changes have only been implemented to help working parents.
The school day at the Spur Road school used to start at 8.45am and finish at 3.25pm.
This start time has been retained for Years 8 to Upper Sixth but, since the beginning of this term, the day for Year 7 has started at 8am.
Mr Smith said: “It is an incredibly long day. Can you imagine in industry what would happen if the boss came in and said you had to start work an hour earlier? There would be a riot.
“My grandson used to love school and always got good results but now he dreads it.
“They just don’t consider the kids’ rights. The day is much too long for a child.”
He added: “It is putting finance over welfare. When are parents going to see their children?
“All children deserve a happy childhood. These kids aren’t getting that anymore.
“You are moving from a school to a prison camp when you go to senior school. It’s mad.”
Mr Smith said the change had been implemented for the convenience of working parents.
However acting principal Paddy McGrath strongly refuted the claim.
He argued the changes had been implemented for the children’s benefit.
He said the extra school time was being used for reading to help improve pupils’ literacy.
Mr McGrath added: “Our commitment to our children is that by the time they leave us they can go out to university and to the jobs they want.
“This programme is vital as if children read everyday their reading improves greatly and this will help them in the long term.
“Our first priority is about literacy development.”
Mr McGrath also denied Mr Smith’s claims that the changes were unpopular with parents and pupils.
He said: “Ninety per cent of the kids love the reading sessions. It is reading. It is good fun.
“We have some great books and passionate staff and encouraging children to read for pleasure is going to be an aid for them no matter where they end up.”
He added: “The vast, vast majority of children love it and the vast, vast majority of parents are very happy.”
Mr McGrath said he was happy to discuss the changes with Mr Smith.