A consultation and feasibility study will be carried out on a common school day proposal as part of the council’s commitment to raising attainment and improving inclusion, wellbeing and equality.

If introduced all secondary schools will have the same start/finish times and a period structure in place to support school partnership and consortia arrangements.

There is currently variation in timetabling and the length of the secondary school day which presents some practical difficulties.

This in turn means all primary schools would have a common school day – albeit likely to be different from that in secondary schools. This is to ensure best value through the sharing of school transportation.

Such a move will lead to joint delivery, mutual support, sharing of best practice and collaborative professional development opportunities. It would mean greater equity of resource and opportunity for young people across East Lothian and, as a result, barriers to travel would be reduced.

The consultation and study will also look at the potential opportunity to increase the number of hours of education for primaries 1 and 2. Current legislation does not state the length of a school day. 

In East Lothian, children in primaries 1 and 2 receive 22.5 hours of education per week, whereas those in primaries 3 to 7 receive 25 hours. 

An increase could assist teachers in providing a broad, balanced curriculum, while assisting families who have childcare costs or whose children currently finish school at different times of the day.

At a recent meeting, East Lothian Council’s Cabinet agreed to the consultation and study.

Shamin Akhtar, Cabinet Spokesperson for Education, said:

“These proposals are all about improving inclusion, wellbeing and equality. We’re always keen to look for new ways of raising attainment and improving positive destinations for our children and young people.

“There are a number of potential practical benefits associated with such changes – both for school staff and parents. It’s important that we listen to the views of staff, pupils, parents, carers and other stakeholders. That’s why I’m pleased Cabinet has agreed that the council will hold a consultation and carry out a feasibility study. This will be launched in due course.”

Published: Thursday, 21st June 2018