FAQs for 2024-25 timetable changes

In September 2024, we’re making some changes to our timetables to achieve the best outcomes for our students.

What time will lessons start and finish?

Lessons will start at 9.15am but in many cases students will have a later start.  On Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, lessons will be extended to 4.15pm.  However, on these days, the first lesson will either start at 11am or students will be compensated by earlier finish times on other days. 

Will everyone finish at 4.15pm on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday?

No, this will occur in 1 out of 10 cases.  In 6 out of 10 cases, it will be on 2 occasions and in the rest, 3 out of 10 cases, it will be just once.

Transport – how will my bus journey be affected?

Our bus timetable will be adjusted to adapt to these changes and we’re working with Suffolk County Council to review scheduled bus services. 

Why are you making these changes now?

We review our timetables regularly to provide a transformative educational experience for our students and we regularly assess and improve the structures that shape their learning environment.

Why change halfway through the course?

We have been planning these changes to the college timetable for several years and we are confident that they will bring beneficial learning outcomes.  We are acutely conscious of potential disruption and therefore we are consulting with our Yr12 student ambassadors regarding the possibility of distributing lessons over 4 days for those at a mid-point in their studies.

In doing so we will be able to phase in new timetable arrangements, which retain aspects of the current table which appeal to existing students whilst introducing innovations that include. 

  • Increasing the frequency of subject lessons, from 2 to 3 times a week will enhance learning by reinforcing concepts regularly, promoting better knowledge retention, and deepening understanding. 
  • Reducing lesson length, from 130 minutes to 90 minutes will help to maintain focus, reduce overload, and optimise attention span. 
  • Providing teachers with an extra lesson per subject per week will give them greater flexibility to implement a wider variety of teaching methods to make learning experiences even better. 

How long will lessons be?

The length of lessons will change from 130 minutes to 90 minutes, the overall time per subject will remain at 4.5hrs.  Feedback from students and teachers suggests that shorter lessons are better for focus and mental health. 

How many lessons will I attend each day?

Students will study a maximum of 3 lessons per day (more typically this will be 2 lessons per day). 

What about time for rehearsals, extra-curricular and practical activities?

We are extending the lunchbreaks on Wednesdays and Fridays from 75 to 90 minutes to accommodate extra-curricular activities. We will plan for rehearsal slots and practical activities to be timetabled, rather than squeezed into lunchtimes. 

However, it will still be possible for music rehearsals and clubs to run on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday as we can carefully timetable teaching staff so that they are available at a common time (e.g. 12.30-13.15) but can take their lunches earlier (11.45-12.30) or later (13.15-14.00). It is likely that students will have similar flexibility too. 

What if I need to attend a revision session during a designated “lunch” period?

Many students may find that their timetable has the flexibility to offer a lunchbreak during other non-contact time if they need to attend a revision session during the designated “lunch” period 

What about time for independent study?

We will give students dedicated time for meaningful, independent study between lessons with teachers and learning mentors on hand for any added support.  We anticipate that students will benefit from a “non” teaching day, together with later starts and/or earlier finishes, which can be taken onsite or offsite.

Will students be able to have a day off during the week?

We are consulting with our student ambassadors regarding an option to distribute lessons across 4 days.  More information and clarification will be available when individual timetables are issues at the start of September.  

More lessons each day means carrying about more books!

Lockers are available for students to use, if more are required, we can review arrangements.

I have a job/other activity after college and theses are going to negatively impact these.

There will still be occasions when student timetables will offer the flexibility of later starts and/or earlier finishing times that will be compatible with part-time work. Furthermore, we can certainly make unique adjustments for individuals, so that they can balance life and college commitments.

As the lessons are increased to 3 time a week, will be the timetables be on a two week or one week rotation and will students have one teacher to teach two of those lessons and one for the other?

The timetable is weekly - in most cases lessons will be split between two teachers on a 2 lessons/1 lesson basis.

When will these changes be implemented?

Timetable changes will be implemented for the new 2024/25 academic year this September.

Why make these changes?

Increasing the frequency of subject lessons, from 2 to 3 times a week will enhance learning by reinforcing concepts regularly, promoting better knowledge retention, and deepening understanding. 

The changes will give students dedicated time for supported independent study between their lessons, allowing them to develop their critical thinking skills; excellent preparation for higher education or the world of work 

The changes will improve student experience and provide a more flexible timetable. Moving forward, the adjustments ensure that our students will receive the full entitlement to their planned learning hours as we prepare for future curriculum changes prompted by national educational policy. 

These changes will allow a greater choice of combinations of subjects. 

Won’t flexible timetabling cause irregular start, finish and mealtimes which can be disruptive?

The college day has a standard start time of 09.15am, with a lunch break at 12.30pm, on three occasions in the week, lessons are extended until 16.15pm. However, note that the timing of lessons is generally consistent 09.15-10.45 / 11.00-12.30 / 13.15-14.45 / 14.45-16.15 - apart from Wednesday and Friday afternoon when lessons run 14.00-15.30. 

Although, lessons may start at different times during the week, students are welcome onsite across the day. 

Can the college accommodate more students on site at any one time and will there be places to sit and study?

We will be reviewing the provision of study spaces in the Turquoise LRC.  The timetable changes will still result in half-days on site for many. 

Will there be more homework?

No, but there will be structured time for independent learning outside of class time. 

Some students might find these changes unsettling and stressful. Is there support available?

Yes, the wellbeing of our students is paramount and we have invested significantly in an extensive pastoral and welfare team to provide comprehensive, wraparound support. 

What process did you go through to come up with these changes?

We have gone through an extensive process of research, planning, and consultation with our staff to develop our preferred timetable model. We have conducted focus groups with our student ambassadors and welcomed feedback. We are now informing current students, prospective students, parents, and external partners. As we engage more widely, we will update this document to reflect any further changes. 

What about students with special educational needs? Is there any impact?

High needs funded SEN students within our Supported Learning provision won’t be as affected by these changes as their timetable is fixed at 9:15-3.30pm every day.

I still have questions, who can I speak to?

There are plenty of options to ask questions or voice any concerns: