Parents of Faro line up to file an official complaint against time changes

Parents of students from two schools in Faro lined up (even) to file an official complaint with the Group of […]

Parents of students from two schools in Faro they (even) queued up to file an official complaint with the Afonso III Schools Group.

This was the way found by the guardians of the Basic Schools of Alto Rodes and Carmo to protest against the alteration of the children's schedules, who saw their teaching hours reinforced and the recreation time reduced.

A situation imposed by the General Inspectorate of Education and Science, which is irreducible in the decision that children have to work 30 hours a week of total workload. The parents have already presented an alternative and have already presented it to the school board, which has not yet given an answer due to an alleged “lack of time”.

At the door of Escola EB 2,3 D. Afonso III, headquarters of the group, dozens of parents shouted slogans and held up posters, after a small procession from the Escola do Alto Rodes to there, passing by the Escola do Carmo. But they ended up taking their protest further, making it official in the group's complaints book.

Cátia Ferreira and her husband were two of the parents who were waiting to complain. With two children studying in the morning shift, these parents do not accept the change of schedule, essentially because of the workload in the classroom that they came to impose.

“What is fundamental, and common to the morning and afternoon shifts, is that we are talking about kids aged 6 to 10 who are locked in a room for 5 hours, with a break of just 20 minutes in between. This is insufficient. In schools with older kids, lessons take a maximum of 90 minutes. My children spend 2 hours and 50 minutes in the room», he illustrated.

A situation that does not please teachers either, who have sought to ease the burden imposed on students in whatever way they can. “There are teachers who already have a snack inside the classroom, so that the children can take advantage of the 20 minutes to play”, said Cátia Ferreira.

This protest was joined by the delivery of a petition, launched by the Association of Parents and Guardians of the EB1 School of Alto Rodes, but which also represents the will of the parents of the children of the Escola do Carmo. In this document, they re-present the many arguments that have already advanced against the measure and to suggest an alternative, considering that «the imposed timetable is unfair and inappropriate, not protecting the interests of children

“It is unacceptable to subject children between the ages of 6 and 10 to 5 hours in a classroom with just 20 minutes of break. For children who are already penalized for not having a normal regime [both schools have double timetables], this situation affects them even more.

We also add that the current timetable is not the one contained in the group's internal regulations and that nothing was communicated by the school at the time of registration. This timetable does not respect the Student Statute and School Ethics», reads the document, which was delivered to the group's management.


Parents ensure that more Extra Curriculum Activities resolve the issue

During the protest, the president of the parents association Paula Coutinho explained to the Sul Informação which, at the last meeting, presented an alternative proposal to increase the workload of the teaching component from 22 and a half hours to 25 hours. This proposal shows “that by increasing the AEC Extra Curricular Activities, the problem is solved, without having to change the schedules”. A proposal based on the number of children currently enrolled in these activities and which, he guaranteed, would allow the school to comply with the law.

The parents guarantee that the direction of the Afonso III Group promised an answer by November 1st. “But whenever we contact the director, we are told that there has not yet been time to look into the matter”, revealed Paula Coutinho.

A situation that the parents do not accept and, therefore, they left to protest again, after having demonstrated on October 28, the day the new schedules came into effect.

“We are talking about a situation that is happening in a school, which we think should not be happening. Therefore, we believe that this is a matter to be seen as urgent and is not being treated as such», considered the representative of the guardians of Upper Rhodes.

The change in schedules led, however, to "a mini-chaos situation in the afternoon shift", since "most parents are not complying with the new schedule", which requires the children to leave 25 minutes later.

“There is a default on the part of the parents, who are picking up the children at 18:15 [original departure time]. We, as parents' association, do not subscribe to this position, but we understand and are in solidarity with those who do not comply and the reasons that lead them to do so», considered Paula Coutinho, who, like her colleagues in the direction of the association, has respecting the schedule, despite not agreeing with it.

«It doesn't seem to us that what is happening at school at the end of the afternoon should be maintained. It's harmful for the children who stay there and watch their classmates leave and for the teachers themselves, who don't really know what to do. And the group's management has to take action in this regard, which involves putting the departure time at 18:15 pm and not at 18:40 pm,” he added.