The new school year started in March and it was going to be a physical full school session. Timetables were sent out to parents for the new semester, but something was amiss. The school ended too late on Wednesday and Thursday – at 145pm.
Initially, I thought of giving this new timetable a try although I know that it would be challenging to rush it all within the lunch hour. What more for my son and niece to make it in time for their Sekolah agama in the afternoon at 230pm. I had to do something about this but before anything, I have to prepare myself.
Check the school session times for other schools
I clarified with my friends regarding their kid’s school time. I needed to see if this is a standard going home time for all schools within the state. I asked for their children’s timetables to compare and even sought from those who live in different states. Turns out that most schools are able to finish their school session earlier which made me wonder ‘how is it possible?”. It gets more interesting to see more high performing schools being able to complete their school session earlier every day.
I came across this policy where schools are given the autonomy to decide on their academic weeks while fulfilling the minimum hours for their subjects to complete for the year. I learned that schools can choose a minimum of 36 academic weeks per year. Having said that, I was certain in my mind that even with a min of 36 weeks, the subject hours could be covered automatically.
So I would need to ask the headmaster if there was a change in academic weeks which led to a change in the school timetable. Turns out there was no change in academic weeks. So, why is the timetable longer? What changed?
Longer recess hours from 20 mins to 30 mins. Later school starting times.
Writing the email
The purpose of the email was to make it a formal, documented complaint. which would require a formal seat-in where both receiver and the person who makes the complaint have time to prepare for the session. The headmaster did say that I could just knock on his door and talk, instead of sending the email to the district education office. I feel that it would cost me at least two trips to get it sorted and ‘leave’ is a luxury nowadays. d
The headmaster called me and arranged a meeting. During the session, the headmaster appears quite defensive but a few hours later, after discussion with ‘the others’, he was able to come up with a better conclusion than the earlier one. Recess was shortened to 25 mins. The school session starts earlier by 10 mins.
I was pleased with the outcome and sent another email – this time to make it known that he’s done a good job and hope that it would boost his morale to continue doing the best for the school. To be honest, he was running the school by the book and needed just the right input and influence to assimilate policy and real-life situations.
This experience in a way made me wonder if I should be a more proactive member of the PTA association. If in the near future, there will be a greater room for improvement for not only my kids, and my nieces but also for other kids in general.