secondary school to switch to four-and-a-half-day week

A high-performing comprehensive will adopt a four-and-a-half day week to create a happier workforce, boost productivity and tackle teacher shortages.

From September, students at Forest Gate Community school in east London, rated “outstanding” by Ofsted, will leave just after midday every Friday afternoon.

The school will remain open until 5pm for supervised study and talks from guest speakers, though attendance is optional, a letter to parents confirmed this week.

Staff will be given training to manage the shorter timetable ahead of the introduction of the new policy at the start of the next academic year. Pay, holiday entitlement and benefits for teachers will remain unchanged, according to the school.

The change comes following a similar experiment at a financial company in New Zealand, where switching to a four day week led to a 20% boost in productivity and a happier workforce.

Forest Gate executive headteacher Simon Elliott said that despite the shorter timetable the school would maintain its high standards and results.

He said: ’We are confident that the introduction of a shorter timetable will not impact on our capacity to continue to achieve among the very best results in the country.

‘On the contrary, with believe happier, less stressed staff who feel valued will help create the type of learning environment to improve productivity.’