Councils banned from cutting primary school week

Councils planning to save money by cutting the length of the primary school week are to be banned from enforcing the cuts. 

The Scottish government is set to change the law to make sure children spend a minimum of 25 hours per week in class. The move has arisen following rows over some councils attempts to reduce the length of the school week to help balance their books.

The government assures primary school children will be guaranteed at least 950 hours of teaching time per year, equivalent to 25 hours per week. 

In promising this, ministers have decided to amend the Education Bill, which regulates these timings will be reached before Parliament. 

While the EIS teacher union has voiced their approval of the move, local government organisation Colsa has contended it is a ‘knee-jerk response’. 

Councillor Stephanie Primrose, Cosla education, children and young person spokesperson, said: "The government seems to be suggesting that they have no choice to legislate for the length of the school day despite not once raising it with Cosla. 

"They have, after all, had plenty of opportunity to discuss this with us. We met with the Cabinet Secretary to discuss the Education Bill only a few weeks ago and have been in almost daily contact with government as part of the spending review without even a hint to suggest this was on their radar. 

"Yet we hear about it only a matter of hours before amendments are submitted. This is either bad planning on their part, or a knee-jerk response to an issue that was far from the top of the pile a matter of weeks ago."

General secretary Larry Flanagan said: "The EIS has always been vehemently opposed to any attempts to reduce the length of the pupil week which would serve only to dilute the quality of education in Scotland's primary schools. 

"This important piece of legislation is good news for pupils and parents as it will guarantee equity of provision across the country and will also ensure that teachers' jobs and pupils' learning time are protected."