New high school timetable to cause pupils ‘less disruption’

High school rector Alan Williamson
High school rector Alan Williamson

A CONSULTATION that includes proposals to streamline the timetables of high school pupils will invite responses from pupils, staff, parents, and members of the local community.

Plans to move to a 33-period week – and shorten each period by five minutes to 50 minutes – have been circulated among those at the school.

Uptake of any of the five options presented, which includes two blueprints for a 32-period week plus 10-minute ‘tutor’ periods for morning registration each day, would, says rector Alan Williamson, mean “less disruption” to pupils.

Currently, many pupils are taken out of classes of ‘traditional’ subjects in order to receive their quota of health and wellbeing education (which includes physical education, and religious and moral education) stipulated by the recently-introduced Curriculum for Excellence (CfE).

Mr Williamson explained: “The 33-period or 32-plus-one [with morning registration] models are better to deliver CfE. The reason for that is the three extra periods for what the government calls health and wellbeing subjects – each pupil requires two hours of PE a week until fourth year, RME throughout their school career, and PSD (personal and social development).

“At present, pupils are receiving these subjects because we reduce the time for exams and also by ‘extraction’, whereby a pupil might be pulled out a period of English to do some PE, RME, or PSD. It would be better to have these subjects structured into the timetable.”

Within the existing school day, the timetables of pupils in first, second, and third year are rarely disrupted due to no examinations being conducted at that level.

However, Mr Williamson described the situation within the senior phase (years 4-6) as “increasingly challenging”.

Members of the local community interested in participating in the consultation are invited to write to Mr Williamson or, alternatively, attend the next meeting of the school’s parent council in January.