Shake-up fears for timetable at high school

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PARENTS of pupils at the high school have expressed “serious concerns” over a proposal to change the timetable.

Scottish Borders Council is exploring the possibility of moving all secondary schools from a 30-period week to a 33-period week, in a bid for timetable subject alignment, better use of resources and increased flexibility.

This would mean a Monday, Tuesday and Thursday would comprise seven periods, starting at 8.50am and finishing at 3.40pm, but a Wednesday and Friday would have six periods from 8.50am until only 2.50pm – with no registration class.

Hawick High School Parent Council secretary Dawn Nairn says such a change to the school week has raised numerous issues.

She told the Hawick News: “The biggest concerns are from parents with younger children regarding no registration class – where they usually see the same faces and teacher every morning. And the early finishes on two days due to work commitments and being home alone.

“Parents are also concerned about how employers will react.”

Problems with pupils being unsupervised while waiting for buses on short days and after-school activities have also been highlighted, although Mrs Nairn assured: “If this proposal puts money back into school funding I’m sure, as a parent council, we would be more likely to consider these changes and try to find the best solution to our concerns.But if these changes are another ‘efficiency saving’ and SBC trying to claw back money, I think there would be serious concerns.”

High school rector Alan Williamson commented: “We will be working with parents, pupils and staff to determine the best outcome for Hawick High School pupils.

“There are clearly arguments for and against changing the structure of the school day and whatever system we agree, needs to be best for pupils.”

Local councillor and education portfolio holder George Turnbull added: “The council takes very seriously the comments from all concerned when carrying out any consultation, as was proved after the Kit Campbell report on sport and leisure facilities.

“This also proves no one should pre-empt the outcome until all correspondence has been analysed and reported back through the appropriate committee and then to council.”