A SCHOOL will shorten its days by shaving time off of assembly, break and lunch, to allow for two extra hours of lessons on Fridays.

A timetable shake-up will be introduced at Aureus School in Didcot after the February half term, cutting 50 minutes off of most days.

The changes will see the secondary school's day end at 2.50pm instead of 3.40pm from Monday-Thursday, with the option of children staying on for an extra hour for extracurricular clubs.

Then, from September, the school's current 1pm early finish on a Friday will be scrapped and brought in line with the rest of the week, also ending at 2.50pm.

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One pupil's mother, posting on Facebook via Spotted: Didcot, said: "It’s ridiculous.

"With a child that has autism these changes, along with the worry of exams, is going to be a huge change to adjust to."

Another parent said: "Do any other parents out there think this is absolutely ridiculous?

"Me and my husband have already had to juggle our work times."

One father responded: "Yes it's ridiculous.

"The 2.50pm pick-up time makes it much harder for parents to pick [their children] up, especially if you have other schools to go to.

"They will be the only school in Didcot that won't finish early on a Friday."

It is thought he was referring to Didcot Girls' School and neighbouring St Birinus School, which already finish early on Fridays.

Parents were emailed on Monday about the confirmed plans.

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An earlier finish has already been brought in by Aureus Primary School, which implemented the changes this week.

Its school day now runs from 8.40am-3.10pm, and it also no longer finishes early on a Friday.

The sister academies, located on Didcot's Great Western Park estate, are both run by GLF Schools trust.

At the secondary school, pupils will still start their day at 8.25am as before, but will begin with 20 minutes of 'coaching/assembly' rather than the current 30 minutes.

Lessons will still last for an hour, but morning break time will be slightly later and will be 20 minutes long instead of 30.

Lunch will also be later and will only last for 40 minutes rather than 65 minutes.

A five-minute slot for transition between two of the morning lessons has also been scrapped.

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Aureus School opened in September 2017, and now has students in Years 7, 8 and 9.

Its website says of the current timetable: "We have an extended day so that on Fridays we can finish early at 1pm and maintain the school community’s wellbeing."

Headteacher Julie Hunter said: "The continued success and rising pupil numbers at Aureus School has led to a review of the smooth and timely running of the school day.

"Following parent consultation in October and November, it has been decided to add two hours of teaching time each week from September 2020, with a two-phase alteration of times which start after February half-term."

The first phase will begin on February 24, with the later Friday finish introduced next academic year.

While some parents have criticised the plan, another mum said on Facebook: "I don't live in Didcot so for me this works well, as I can pick my child up...get back pick my other child up then head to work.

"Happy days."

Two parents who posted on Facebook said they understood there had been little response to the school's consultation, despite the complaints on social media.