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Agreement reached on 33-period model

OFFICIALS at Glasgow City Council and the local Educational Institute of Scotland association have reached agreement on the implementation of a controversial 33-period timetable.

The deal opens the way for Glasgow secondaries to adopt the Lothians model of Friday afternoons off. Prior to the most recent negotiations, education officials had told the unions this particular model was banned.

The agreement has led to officials deciding to relax their demand that the city's 29 secondaries all adopt the same 33-period model of three days of seven periods and two days of six periods.

Ronnie O'Connor, the executive director of education, training and young people, has told heads they can vary the timetable as long as it delivers the policy objectives which the new timetable was designed to produce.

These are:

* increased time allocation for PE in S1-S4;

* equal teaching time for all S5S6 courses;

* more time for literacy and numeracy in S1-S4;

* enhanced provision for pastoral caretutor time;

* efficient use of teaching time resources.

The model was piloted in All Saints Secondary in 2004-05, but staff reported a deterioration in teaching and learning, an increase in teacher workload, and a rise in discipline problems between classes. They also argued that a 50-minute period was too short for some practical subjects, that the removal of the registration period had an adverse effect on attendance, and that the irregularity of the working day caused confusion.

The EIS's biggest complaint was that the council wanted to impose the model on them without consultation. Late last year, the Glasgow branch threatened in-dustrial action, although no ballots were held. It was confirmed this week that schools would be given another year before implementing changes in 2008.

Willie Hart, Glasgow EIS association secretary, said: "Oppo-sition parties are not as thirled to the 33-period week as the current administration. We may be dealing with a different council next year after the elections."

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