Wednesday, April 5th, 2017
Opinion piece by Highland Green Candidates for the forthcoming local elections.
We oppose in principle the move to a 4 ½ day week for all secondary pupils from August and if elected we would work to find alternate solutions to closing schools – education decisions need to be based on educational needs.
More schools closing on a Friday afternoon could harm pupils and will make it very difficult for parents who face the choice of losing a half day of work or leaving children and young people unsupervised.
Where this is already in place in Inverness, there have been complaints of anti-social behaviour and a need for extra police on the beat on a Friday afternoon.
Under the new timetables young people will have less time to play and socialise at lunch time as their lunch break has been cut to 40 minutes. Some children already have long bus journey times (40-45 mins). A longer day Monday to Thursday will make it harder for them to concentrate and learn particularly with an early start. The changes would require them to leave for school much earlier and could lead to higher levels of absence.
Bus companies will also face the difficulty of delivering a different timetable on a Friday making it harder to use the same buses for other services during the day and contributing to their recent decision to cut services.
It is extraordinary that anyone thinks this is a wholly positive thing. The risks associated with prioritising budget cuts at the expense of children’s education is not path we should be considering.
In some areas pupils and parents have had no information from schools or the council about changes, which is unacceptable.
Pippa Hadley, Donnie Macleod, Anne Thomas, Russell Deacon, Chris Ballance, Vikki Trelfer, Sandra Owsnett, Topher Dawson
Green Party Candidates for Badenoch and Strathspey, Culloden and Ardersier, Inverness Millburn, Inverness Central, Aird and Loch Ness, Black Isle, Thurso and Northwest Caithness, Wester Ross, Strathpeffer and Lochalsh