Parents across the region will hear later this month about new teaching arrangements and Friday afternoon leisure activities.
These are a result of the implementation of a four-and-a-half day scholastic week. Each primary and secondary will publish and distribute a “school year planner” by November 30.
That commitment was given at last week’s meeting of Scottish Borders Council by Councillor Sandy Aitchison, executive member for education.
He had been reminded by Councillor Michelle Ballantyne that when the asymmetric school week was introduced in August, it was agreed that forward work programmes should be issued to all parents and pupils. Mr Aitchison was also asked for a round-up of the extra-curricular activities which were available, or were planned, for Friday afternoons for the region’s 63 primaries and nine secondaries.
He said 38 existing out-of-school clubs intended extending their provision to cover 59 schools while three new school activity clubs had been organised by parents and providers with budgetary support from the council. He explained that Borders Sport and Leisure offered a range of Friday afternoon activities, including inflatable pool sessions, in Galashiels, Hawick, Kelso, Peebles, Selkirk and Eyemouth.
In addition, over 100 senior secondary pupils were now attending Friday afternoon courses at Borders College and Queen Margaret University to prepare them for the transition to Higher and Further Education. He revealed the council was currently processing 15 new applications from individuals seeking to become registered childminders.
Mr Aitchison added that, while the Local Negotiation Committee for Teachers (LNCT) was still monitoring the working time arrangements of teachers, these would be reflected in the school year planners.
With Borders schools now opening for lessons as early as 8.30am Monday to Thursday and with the “school run” now taking place earlier, Councillor Gordon Edgar, executive member for roads, gave an assurance that the gritting of all school routes this winter would be completed by 8am.