Not enough hours in the day?

11th December 2015 at 00:00

Highland Council was taken aback by last week’s announcement that ministers intend to amend the Education (Scotland) Bill, so that every primary school pupil must have a minimum of 25 hours with teachers every week.

The full impact of such legislation must be considered very carefully. The proposed imposition of a 25-hour week on schools and authorities does not take account of local needs and circumstances. For example, much education is supported by tutors, instructors and assistants who are not registered teachers. Would this legislation mean that music or artistic tuition could not be delivered? What about children with additional support needs who have therapies delivered by other professionals? How will residential trips and excursions be affected? These are all questions which must be answered.

There is no evidence to support a connection between the length of the school week and educational attainment. Most European countries operate on a lower number of hours per year than in Scotland. Children in other countries start school at a later age, with more time spent in kindergarten and nursery. And many of these countries achieve better attainment results than in Scotland.

Councillor Drew Millar

Chair of Highland Council’s education, children and adult services committee

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