FURIOUS parents have hit out at a school’s decision to open for just two hours of lessons.
Cardiff West Community High School asked year groups to come in for just over two hours on the first few days of term, WalesOnline reports.
Angry mums and dads blasted the decision as “pointless” and “not worth the hassle”.
Year seven and eight pupils were told to come in between 8.45 and 11am, on Thursday, January 6 and Friday, January 7 – with those in years nine and ten asked to attend between 11.20am and 1.20pm.
It is understood year 11 pupils returned for a full day of face-to-face learning yesterday, with the entire school planned to return full-time next week, if staffing levels can accommodate the move.
A spokesperson for the school in Wales said there were a “number of reasons” for the short schooldays.
The spokesperson said: “Like every school in Wales, we are constantly having to assess staffing levels and introduce mitigations according.
“There were a number of reasons why the school has opened in this way today, and why we felt that it was beneficial for the pupils to attend, including providing wellbeing check-ins for the children and young people, giving them an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the new Covid-19 health and safety measures in place, and to provide a focus on Year 11 exams.”
But parents said the two-hours of face-to-face with teachers wasn’t worth the hassle of getting little ones up for school, or spending money on bus fare.
Mum Sophie, 30, whose son is in year seven, said: “It looks like all they’re looking for is a mark on the register – because what can they actually get done from 8.45am until 11am?
“It just doesn’t make sense.”
She added: “If they were full days, I probably would have sent him because it would have been worth it. But it’s four hours over two days – it’s just bizarre.”
Another mum told how her son – who attends a different school – had gone back full time.
But she said her daughter, in year eight at Cardiff West, was going back for just a few hours.
She said: “I don’t drive and my partner is working, so I have to take my daughter out in the cold, and wait around in the cold.
“It is pointless to go home, as by the time I get home, it will be time to get her again. I don’t see why other schools go back full time and they are not.”
But another mum said she supported the unusual timetable, adding any face-to-face time was “worth it” for her year eight son.
She said: “I sent him in because he genuinely needs all the help he can get.”
It comes as teaching union bosses urged schools to ignore government guidance and enforce tougher Covid rules in schools.
They encouraged teachers to stagger start times, reintroduce bubbles, avoid mixing classes if there are absences and continue using PCR tests – despite ministers insisting keeping schools open was their “absolute priority”.
And teaching staff have warned pupils could be sent home from lessons en masse within weeks due to rising Covid cases causing a potential staffing crisis.
Head teachers have warned that areas with higher cases could struggle with finding enough supply teachers to cover gaps caused by isolating staff.
But their warnings come after a string of hugely positive studies show Omicron IS milder than other strains, with the first official UK report revealing the risk of hospitalisation is 50 to 70 per cent lower than with Delta.
Covid booster jabs protect against Omicron and offer the best chance to get through the pandemic, health officials have repeatedly said.
The Sun’s Jabs Army campaign is helping get the vital extra vaccines in Brits’ arms to ward off the need for any new restrictions.
A spokesperson for Cardiff West Community High School said: “Pupils in Years 7 to 10 are having at least two hours face-to-face with their tutors today, and those hours will start to increase tomorrow, before returning to normal on Monday, dependent on staffing levels.
“Year 11 pupils returned to a full day of face-to-face learning today, as they continue preparations for their forthcoming exams.
“All pupils in years 7 to 10 are being given work to do at home, and Year 7 and Year 8 pupils are able to remain in school for the rest of the day, if their parents have taken up that offer.”
And a spokesperson for Cardiff Council said: “In line with Welsh Government guidance, schools in Cardiff undertook two planning days at the beginning of the spring term this week, to allow for staffing capacity to be assessed and to put the necessary measures in place to support the safe return of pupils from today, Thursday 6th January.
“Discussions with Welsh Government are ongoing as the position develops and the Council will continue to support schools to plan mitigations as part of individual school risk assessments.
“Decisions will be made on a school-by-school basis, and they will introduce possible mitigations in response to pressures at a local level. Currently there are no Cardiff schools reporting that closures are necessary due to Covid-19.”
Source: The Sun