Public consultation launched on legal minimum hours of school learning

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People are asked to share their opinions about the new legal minimum hours for school learning.

If approved by Parliament, boards would be required by law to provide the equivalent of 25 teaching hours per week in primary and 27.5 hours per week in secondary schools throughout the academic year.

Shirley Ann Somerville.
Shirley Ann Somerville.

Education Secretary Shirley Ann Somerville announced plans to introduce the measures last month to protect the school week and give parents greater certainty about how many hours of learning their children can expect to receive.

Consultation is now open It will run until June 13th.

Ms Somerville said: “The school week is the backbone of our education provision and benefits all children and young people in Scotland.

“We have made it clear that any changes to the school week should be based on the educational benefit for the pupils.

“Any measures that materially reduce the number of hours children spend learning in school can affect pupils’ achievement and well-being, and undermine our collective efforts to close the achievement gap associated with poverty.

“This is an opportunity for parents, children, youth and everyone else who has an interest to express their views on the potential impact of this policy.”

Public Consultation seeks opinions on a mandatory requirement of 950 hours per academic year (25 hours per week) of teaching time in most primary schools run by the Board and 1045 hours per year at the secondary level (27.5 hours per week).

The consultation identifies cases where fewer hours may be provided or where councils can apply for an exemption from the regulations.

Next steps will be announced after the consultation has closed and responses have been considered.

The Scottish Government will work with COSLA, the Public Teaching Council for Scotland, unions and pupil and parent representatives.

Schools are legally required to be open for 190 days each year, but the number of learning hours is not currently legally limited.

Learning hours is the period of instruction that learners receive during the school day.

In most cases, it does not include lunch times and other breaks, extra-curricular activities, or provision such as breakfast clubs.

The Education Minister announced plans in Parliament to introduce a new statutory minimum number of teaching hours in schools earlier this year.

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