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Moves to cut school hours – half day Friday mooted

Section:  Annan and Eskdale, Dumfries and West, Lockerbie and Lochmaben, Moffat  | Tags: ,

HALF a day may be slashed from the school week, a council insider has revealed.

Plans to close schools after lunch on a Friday are being mooted in the local authority in a bid to make long-term budget savings.

The option was leaked this week and has been met with mixed feelings by parents, with many expressing concerns about attainment, additional homework, childcare and the flexibility of employers.

The insider confirmed drastic measures are being considered in light of the major savings required at Dumfries and Galloway Council.

They said: “This is one of the things that’s going to be considered given the level of cuts. It is so bad.

“A consultation would be carried out before any decisions were made, probably just after the summer.

“Nothing is set in stone.”

They also commented that the idea is not a new or unique one, with similar hours being adopted in other areas of the UK.

Annan mum Fiona Robson said: “Though I’m sure there would be children cheering across the region to have school-free Friday afternoons, it would put an even bigger squeeze on schools trying to fit the curriculum into the school week.

“I already don’t know how they manage it in five full days.

“Something would have to give.”

And she added: “And while school is far more than childcare, it would put another burden on working families.”

Expressing her concerns for working parents, but suggesting more opportunity for outside play, Gemma Richardson from Irvington said: “Four longer days and an extra day off would be good as a 3 pm finish is hard to fit anything in.

“Less homework would to be great also as fitting this in as well as outdoor play is hard.

“A three-day weekend would be better for home life.

“But whatever they decide won’t fit everyone – it’s work places that need to be more flexible.”

And hoping for extensive research before any decision is made, Fiona McKean from Dumfries said: “I’d like to know the implications for learning and what would be done away with to allow for the loss of that half day.

“I’m not against it in principle but cost should not be the deciding factor. Nor should childcare for that matter.

“If there is evidence to show this is good for learning and behaviour, I would be for it.”

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