What should the new legal minimum number of school hours be?

A public consultation was opened on March 21 and will run until June 13.

Scottish Government launches public consultation on minimum hours of school learning required iStock

The Scottish Government is asking for the public’s views on the minimum hours of school learning required in a day.

If approved by Parliament, councils will be required by law to provide the equivalent of 25 teaching hours per week in primaries and 27.5 hours per week in secondaries across the school year.

Education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville announced plans to introduce the measures last month, in an effort to protect the school week and give parents more certainty about the learning hours children can expect to receive.

The consultation was opened on March 21 and will run until June 13.

Schools are legally required to be open for 190 days each year, but the number of learning hours is currently not legally prescribed.

Learning hours are the period of teaching that learners receive within the school day. In most cases, they do not include lunch and other break times or extra-curricular activities or provision such as breakfast clubs.

“The school week is the backbone of our education provision and benefits all of Scotland’s children and young people,” Somerville said.

“We have been clear that any changes to the school week must be based on educational benefit to pupils.

“Any measures that materially reduce the number of hours children spend learning in school could impact pupil attainment and wellbeing, and undermine our collective efforts to close the poverty-related attainment gap.

“This is an opportunity for parents, children and young people and everyone else with an interest to make their views known about the potential impact of this policy.”

The public consultation is seeking the public’s views on a mandatory requirement of 950 hours per academic year of teaching time in most council-run primary schools and 1,045 hours per year in secondary.

The consultation sets out situations where fewer hours may be provided or where councils can apply for an exemption from the regulations.

The next steps will be announced after the consultation closes and responses have been considered.

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