Algarve parents concerned over school timetables


By Paula Martins,
in News ·
02-10-2020 01:00:00 · 0 Comments

The school year has begun and children have returned to face-to-face classes after a semester without social contact. In the Algarve, two different schools, public and private, have started this atypical school year trying to answer parent’s concerns but, in some cases, without success.

The year has begun and some parents are concerned about the new school rules. A parent of children who attend the Espamol group of schools in Lagoa told The Portugal News: “The change in the timetable has been difficult because we still don’t have a bus to get the children to school in time from Carvoeiro to Lagoa. I am lucky enough to be able to take my children but others do not have a car so they have to find alternatives.”

The parent added that children are becoming used to the new rules in place: “The children complain a lot about wearing their masks all day but they understand that this is the new normal and are adjusting to it day by day, although they do admit that not many of the students are abiding by the social distancing rules and that there are not enough staff to control this.”

The Portugal News spoke with Sandra Tenil, the Director of the school group of Bemposta in the Algarve and she reiterated that there are also many complaints at her school from parents that were used to leaving their children at school during their working hours and are now restricted by the new timetable.

According to Sandra Tenil, the school tried to teach mostly in the morning because that is the period of greatest school performance; however some students have to have classes from 2pm, which has generated complaints from parents.

Despite the measures in the contingency plan involving reducing the number of people inside the school, Sandra Tenil said: “We have parents wanting to drop their kids off at school at 8.20am when they only have classes in the afternoon”.

In classrooms students continue to sit side by side, they are just not able to stand face to face. “It is impossible, in a public school, to have a table for each student”, she said. However, the director guarantees that the school is a safe place and added that children are adapting and “comply religiously with the imposed rules”.

Related to the social conditions of families Sandra Tenil spoke of her concerns: “Right now we have families in situations of poverty, but they are ashamed to ask for help, so we try to make discreet interventions when we hear about it,” she explained.

Following the same ethos, the Nobel International School, a private and multicultural school, have adjusted break times to avoid gatherings of groups of students. “The children of various classrooms have different breaks”, guarantees the Director of the National Section, Francisco Claro, in comments to The Portugal News.

However, unlike the public schools, the timetable remains the same as in past years; children have classes in the morning and in the afternoon. “The private school respects the family’s professional and private life and takes this into account when making timetables”, said the director.

When asked about students’ academic performance, Francisco Claro said that the students are very happy being back at school. There is a “climate of happiness for students being back at school and they have great motivation to learn and to be with their colleagues”, he concluded.

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