Leeds academy makes extension to the school day compulsory for Key Stage 3 pupils

An academy secondary provision in Leeds has made an extension to the school day compulsory rather than optional.

Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 4:45 am

It is thought that the Leeds East Academy is the only secondary in the city that has taken the decision to make what were after school clubs and sessions a mandatory part of its school day.

Historically the academy day finished at 2.40pm with an opt in extra-curricular programme for students to attend, which ran from 2.45pm to 3.55pm.

However, school leaders found that in relation to the nearly 900 students across the academy, only a small percentage would remain behind at the academy to access the extra-curricular offer.

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The Leeds East Academy has extended the school day for all its pupils as mandatory.

Following consultations with parents and the local authority, the academy extended its usual school day by 45 minutes every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for years 7, 8 and 9 to create an additional two and a quarter hours of curriculum time each week.

Over the course of the year these sessions, from 2.45pm to 3.30pm, provide the young people who attend Leeds East Academy with access to approximately an additional 84 hours of dedicated curriculum time for targeted intervention, acquisition of knowledge and exciting enrichment opportunities.

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Another key element of the offer is ‘equality opportunity’ and the academy is committed to providing these opportunities to students for free to ensure affordability is not a barrier to

Animal care is one of the sessions that are being offered beyond the end of the normal school day at Leeds East Academy.

student participation and engagement in enrichment opportunities.

This offer has significantly evolved over the last four years and now aligns with the new academy vision of ‘Everyone Exceptional’.

Sarah Carrie, Academy Principal, said: “We are delighted with how the offer is evolving year on year and the scope, quality and range of activities we are able to offer our student body. It really is wonderful to know that when many young people are finishing school for the day our students are still on site and accessing a programme of activities to develop their skills, broaden their horizons and support them to be the exceptional learners we know they can all be.

"We genuinely think this is a unique offer for our community and are looking forward to seeing how this develops further in future years.”

Sessions are referred to as Leeds East's E1E offer and at Key Stage 3 they are structured under three strands.

They include deliberate teaching of literacy through the exposure to carefully selected fictional and non-fictional texts and the art of discussion and debate; a creativity and innovation strand which exposes students to a range of creative and enriching opportunities, notably a collaboration with Leeds City College, with activities ranging from animal care to cabin crew; and a core values, health and wellbeing strand where students have opportunity to demonstrate and develop resilience, trust and ambition values, as well as looking at wellbeing, relationships, sex and health education.

To further enhance the creativity and innovation strand of the Key Stage 3 offer the academy has established a number of coaching partnerships for students and the E1E offer. This year they include Leeds United, Phoenix Dance Theatre, Northern School of Contemporary Dance, DBAF (Dale Bottomley American Football), DJ School UK and Yoga Kula.

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