are once again being considered more important than the needs of their children.
There was a serious suggestion in the press several days ago that the school day should be lengthened - to accommodate the needs of working parents.
The idea was that children would be at school between 8:30am and 5:00pm. They would do their homework there and have their other after school activities there. That way their parents would not need to care for them until after 5:00pm and they would not need to supervise homework.
Oh, there was supposed to be an advantage for the children too. They would have everything finished by 5:00pm. The "pressure" they feel would no longer exist because, when they were picked up, that would be an end to their working day.
This seems muddled thinking to me. Many children are already in extended day care at school. There is nothing to stop these things happening already. The real question is whether school hours need to be extended.
The local state schools start at around 8:45am (secondary) and 9:00am (primary) and finish at 2:30pm (for the first year of school) or 3:30pm. The fee paying schools tend to start earlier and finish later. The Whirlwind's first class starts at 8:45 but she has to be in her form room at 8:30am. She finishes at 4:00pm. There is also supervision for preparation until the mid-secondary years after which the girls can stay behind and work if they wish to do so and their teachers are available until 5:00pm. If not called upon they use that time for their own preparation. It is what the parents are paying hefty fees for. I believe the other fee paying schools have similar arrangements.
But out in rural areas children often need to travel long distances too and from school. My father ran a very big rural school where one of the bus runs (and buses were driven by teachers) started at 7:20am. The smallest children would fall asleep on the way home. It was a very long day for them. When the children reached home they would have farm duties as well as homework.
Starting the school day earlier in an area like that simply would not work.
But I also wondered at the other reasoning. This was not about making things easier for the child. It was about making things easier for the working parents. It was about allowing them to hand over yet more parenting responsibilities to others. They would not need to supervise "homework" or sport or ballet or music lessons. Someone else would take that on. Some grandparents already do a great deal of that but at least they might be able to watch the progress a child was making and take a personal interest in what they are doing. Other grandparents are still working,
Like my concerns yesterday about parents not being able to attend school events this seems to be another area where the many consequences of having both parents in paid work seems not to have been considered. Having both parents work is nothing new. It has happened right through history but it is where and how they work and the type of community we live in which has changed. Without the "village" or "local" environment in which to be cared for some children seem to lead lives which are regulated almost entirely by the needs and desires of their parents rather than having a balance between the two.
Perhaps it is why some children feel so isolated?