‘My job is on the line’ - Working mothers concerned about impact of school’s new timetable

Ormiston Cliff Park Junior Academy has said that breakfast and after-school clubs will not be "immed

Ormiston Cliff Park Junior Academy has said that breakfast and after-school clubs will not be "immediately available" when children return to school in September. Picture: Google Maps. - Credit: Archant

A working mother concerned about the impact of coronavirus on the timetable at her daughter’s school fears she is being forced to choose between her job and picking her child up after class.

Demi Hollis, 26, from Gorleston, says she and her husband rely on the breakfast and after-school clubs at Ormiston Cliff Park Junior Academy - where their nine-year-old daughter studies - to allow them go to work.

The school has told parents the clubs will not be immediately available and that the situation will be reviewed throughout September, while staggered start and finish times mean Ms Hollis’ daughter, who is in Year 5, will begin school later every day, at 8.50am, and leave earlier, at 2.25pm.

Ms Hollis, a quality control manager at an engineering company, says the changes mean she could lose up to 80 working hours a month and this is “putting [her] job on the line”.

“I do not think it’s acceptable. I’m being forced to pick between having a job and a career or picking my child up from school,” she said.

“If the school feels my daughter’s health is being put at risk by going to after-school and breakfast clubs she should not be in school, because she’s already at school mixing with teachers and mixing with children,” she said.

Another parent, who works as a cleaner and did not wish to be named, said: “It feels like we’re being penalized for working. I know the school is only trying to do what’s best but it feels like working parents haven’t had a chance to have their say.”

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A spokesperson for Ormiston Junior Academy has said the school is “implementing social bubbles and staggered school days to reduce the risk of transmission”.

“To safeguard our pupils and staff, we are following a deliberately staged approach to our school return which will mean that extended provision, such as breakfast clubs, will not be immediately available.

“This is something we are really sad about as we absolutely recognise how important extended provision is for many families. So we will be reviewing this on ongoing basis in September, so that we can offer this additional provision as soon as it is safe and possible to do so.

“We completely understand and appreciate that this is a very challenging time for parents and carers, and we have been very grateful for all the support we have received from families both during the home learning period, and in response to our plans to re-open for all pupils in September,” the school said.