Concerns over proposal to change school week at Waid Academy

Waid Academy.
Waid Academy.

Concerns have been voiced about the potential impact changes to the school week could have on parents and pupils.

Parents and carers with children at Waid Academy were asked last month for their views on proposals to change the school week.

One option would be for normal-length school days on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, with shorter days on Tuesday and Friday.

Both these school days would end at 3pm.

The second option would see normal-length school days between Monday and Thursday, and a half-day on Friday.

The proposals have been put forward by the school as it aims to manage a reduction in its budget.

Waid Academy has been asked to save more than £52,000 from its budget.

East Neuk councillor Linda Holt says she had been contacted by constituents with concerns about the proposals.

She said parents were concerned the two shorter days, both ending at 3pm, could lead to chaos in the car parks, as pupils from Waid would be leaving at the same time as children from the neighbouring primary school.

She said the option of the half-day “discriminates against working parents, those on low incomes and others who have difficulty finding childcare for Friday afternoons”.

She added: “Either way, reduced school budgets are already putting some head teachers in extremely difficult positions, particularly in north east Fife, where high schools have suffered some of the council’s deepest cuts.

“Neither the Education Service nor the administration at Fife Council is straight with the public, or with elected members, about what ‘savings’ mean in practice for parents and pupils when the budget is set.

“This is why nine months down the line, parents like the ones at Waid can find themselves presented with a consultation which is really a fait accompli, where their only choice is between a rock and a hard place.”

Education and Children’s Services convenor, Cllr Fay Sinclair said the consultation would involve the parent council, pupils and staff.

“Any minor changes will not impact on the curriculum, structure or delivery of education,” she added.

“The quality of teaching and learning in our schools is fundamental to our ambitions for our young people and a fairer, stronger Fife. Our focus will continue to be on the best possible outcomes for children and young people and their future life chances.

“Any changes affecting transportation would be discussed with the bus companies and arrangements made.”

Last week, the Educational Institute for Scotland (EIS) said changes to the school week in Fife would impact on all families.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) claims Fife Council’s Education and Children’s Services service had put forward a proposal to review the secondary school week, which could lead to children spending less time in school.

Fife EIS publicity officer David Farmer said the move was driven by “budgetary pressures” and warned about the impact any change to the timetable could have.

Fife Council co-leader David Ross responded: “As a council we have to take a much wider view of how best to protect the full range of council services when our core budget is being cut.

“All these proposals are still under consideration and should any of them be agreed, there will be further discussion on how they would be implemented to minimise any negative impacts.”