Proposed move to asymmetric week for all schools in the Scottish Borders - Consultations

Consultation subject
Proposed move to asymmetric week for all schools in the Scottish Borders
Summary details
We wish to consult with anyone likely to be affected by the proposed move to an asymmetric week for all schools in the Scottish Borders. Please complete our online survey below to submit your views on what the impact might be for you.
Full details
Why do we need to move to an asymmetric week?

Our Education and Lifelong Learning Department (ELL) are facing a challenging budget situation over the next few years. ELL must prepare to deliver a service to schools with £11m per year less than is currently available. At the same time we must ensure Curriculum for Excellence is fully implemented and attainment and achievement levels for all pupils continue to rise.

As teachers salaries make up the majority of the schools’ budgets, a managed reduction in teacher numbers is the most viable route to achieving these savings targets. A move to an asymmetric week will assist schools to plan and deliver teaching and learning in the most efficient way and potentially in future with fewer teachers.

The key benefit will be that for many, teacher training, development sessions and cross-school working groups will be held during the pupil free afternoon. This will mean that teachers will not have to be released from as many classes to attend meetings or training and result in less disruption to the teaching week for pupils.

There is a consensus among all our primary and secondary head teachers that an asymmetric week would allow for greater collaboration between primary and secondary teachers and enhance joint planning around key aspects of Curriculum for Excellence.

An asymmetric week will also enable secondary schools to increase the number of courses they are able to offer on a shared basis, through timetable alignment, and as a result increase the choices for pupils

What is an asymmetric week?

Instead of each school day being the same length, the change could mean four days of the week being a little longer with every school finishing earlier on the other day. The result would be a four and a half day week in school for pupils without any reduction in the total hours attendance and teaching in the school week. A number of Scottish local authorities are already operating in this way.

Example of a secondary asymmetric week (including breaks):
- Monday-Thursday: start 8:50am, finish 3:45pm, seven periods of 50 minutes each
- Friday: start 8:50am, finish 1:15pm, five periods of 50 minutes each

Example of a primary asymmetric week (including breaks):
- Monday-Thursday: Start: 8.50am; Finish: 3.25pm
- Friday: Start: 8.50am; Finish: 1.15pm
Education and Lifelong Learning
Consultation findings/decisions
All of our 63 primary and nine secondary schools will move to a four and a half day ‘asymmetric week’ from August 2014.
Closing date
28 February 2014
Download PDF