EIS closes the door on split day for pupils

18th February 2000 at 00:00
NOT a single teacher or parents' group in Argyll and Bute is in favour of the council's ambitious outline plans to restructure schools, the Educational Institute of Scotland claims.

Archie Morton, its director of education, has floated the idea of creating lower and upper schools in secondaries and for both to run at different times. The lower school would include primary 7s and operate in the morning and early afternoon while the upper secondary would start later and run into the early evening.

Among other plans is a four-term year with a maximum of four weeks' holiday in summer.

But Dougie Mackie, EIS local secretary, slammed the "unnecessary consultation" and condemned the proposals as "anti-child, anti-parent, anti-family and anti-business". If implemented, they would lead to "the most drastic change to family life in Argyll and Bute for decades".

No headteachers were consulted beforehand and sine then no secondary head has backed the concept of lower and upper schools, Mr Mackie said. Educational problems were the stated reason for the plans but he warned that underachievement among boys would become "10 times worse".

The union says all the evidence shows the best period for learning is in the morning, while teachers were unwilling to teach until early evening and did not want to work a varied weekly schedule. Recruitment and retention of staff would become a problem.

Not least of the EIS's complaints is that family life would be disrupted with earlier starts for younger pupils and later arrivals home for older children.

The first casualties of Argyll's projected budget cuts of pound;1.3 million should be the "men in suits" and not chalkface teachers, the EIS says. The union would rather the number of senior managers was cut from six to four and complains of cuts for a fourth year running.

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