School day shake-up gets full council approval

School pupils will soon enjoy shorter Fridays now that a new timetable is set to be rolled out.

Shetland Islands Council approved the changes at its full meeting on Wednesday morning.

From 29th May, secondary schools will operate a slightly longer day from Monday to Thursday, while letting the “home time” bell ring shortly after lunch on a Friday.

Children's services director Helen Budge.
SIC director of children’s services Helen Budge.

SIC director of children’s services Helen Budge said “many benefits” will be drawn from the 33-period-a-week timetable.

She added: “We recognise that there is still a lot of work in front of us explaining the changes and implications, especially for parents, and we will prioritise this in the weeks and months ahead.”

Aith Junior High School and Whalsay School already work to the new timetable, which does not reduce the amount of time pupils spend in school.

The timetable will also be adopted by the primary departments of Baltasound Junior High School, Brae High School and Mid Yell Junior High School.

It is claimed the 50-minute periods will provide a “good time” for teachers to review, introduce and evaluate lessons.

Another benefit, according to the council, is that pupils staying in halls of residence will be able to travel home on Friday afternoons rather than Friday evenings.

However, earlier this month Matthew Moss, the local representative of the Educational Institute of Scotland, noted some concerns about the overhaul.

He told The Shetland Times it was “extremely worrying” that the new timetable will lead to a cut in the number of full-time teachers.

The reduction is intended to cover the rise in costs brought about by the changes. Some transport operators have said they will need more – or bigger – buses.


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