Launch of the Council's budget blog - should we shorten the school day?
26th August 2012
The Highland Council has today (Monday) launched a budget blog on the home page of its web site: www.highland.gov.uk by asking the public if they think it is a good idea to save £3.2 million per year by shortening the school day of Primary 4 - 7 pupils by 30 minutes, bringing their day in line with Primary 1-3 pupils.
Class hours for pupils in P 4-7 are currently 25 hours per week. The maximum class contact time for teachers is 22½ hours per week and so it is necessary to employ additional teachers to cover the 2½ hours per week which cannot be covered by the normal class teacher.
Shortening the school day by 30 minutes per day would reduce the requirement for additional staff to cover those 2½ hours teaching per week. With no additional staff being required for these classes, a saving of £3.2m per annum could be achieved. This could be achieved by the school day starting later, finishing earlier or lengthening the morning break and lunch break.
The blog is a forum which can be accessed by visiting the home page of the Council's web site: www.highland.gov.uk for discussion during the Council's Budget Consultation, which runs until 31 October and will involve 12 public meetings.
It will be moderated by Councillor Dave Fallows, Chair of the Council's Finance Housing and Resources Committee, who will be seeking views on a different topic each week. The aim of the consultation is to help bridge a budget gap of around £30 million in 2013-14 and 2014-15.
Councillor Fallows said: "I hope people will sign up and add their views and comments to the budget blog. Although there are a number of ways people can get involved in the budget consultation and feed in their views, the blog allows us to have an interactive discussion and for people to share and comment on views. The issue of the length of the school day is an important and challenging one and I look forward to hearing what people think on this topic."
The blog is one of several ways that people can feed back their views on the Budget Consultation. People can:-
· Attend one of the consultation events that are taking place across Highland;
· Download a response form (104kb Word) and post the form or general comments to FREEPOST HC BUDGET CONSULTATION 2012
· Email the consultation address: budgetconsultation[AT]highland.gov.uk
· Complete an Online Response Form or
· Join the discussion on Twitter by using the hashtag #Hcbudget
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