Shorter school week defended

Scottish Borders Council logo''April 2009
Scottish Borders Council logo''April 2009

Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for education has defended the shorter school week against suggestions it has left rural children disadvantaged.

Primary and secondary schools in the region have closed at lunch time on Fridays since August, allowing pupils to take part in activities during Friday afternoons.

But Councillor Vicky Davidson has claimed this week that “In some ways there’s less sporting activity taking place than previously.

“Now pupils are often having to choose between three different activities where before they may have done them on a lunch time, and they may have done their sports competitions on a Saturday morning.”

Councillor Davidson summed up: “Because it’s all happening then, in some ways there’s less sporting activity taking place than previously,” and added that some children were missing out because they had to go home on the school bus, before activities began.

“Some of the pupils who live in the most rural areas who are more in need of these kind of things are not able to access them and I think they are being disadvantaged.”

Scottish Borders Council has said that move is beneficial in both “educational and financial terms”.

It was expected to reduce staff costs as well as increase opportunities for e-learning and shared teaching.

Executive member for education Sandy Aitchison said any problems with the new system were “nothing we can’t fix”.

He went on: “It has been a success in the way that it has been dealt with and that is a huge compliment to the head teachers in particular, but teachers generally who have embraced it and indeed are trying to make things better for the children in school.”