Kelso parents ‘feel misled’ over school week changes

Tom Weatherston
Tom Weatherston

A Kelso councillor has raised concern over changes to the school week, which became active when pupils returned two weeks ago.

Tom Weatherston said a number of parents of school pupils feel “misled” over the changes, telling the education committee on Tuesday: “I’ve had several parents contact me quite upset.

“When this was first mooted it was said we needed the Friday afternoon for teacher training etc. – but now parents are seeing teachers leave Kelso High School five minutes after pupils and think they’ve been misled.”

Jeanette McDiarmid, depute chief executive, responded: “Some schools are not using that time on Friday afternoons, and some are staying on one evening to put in that time.

“It is not a case of teachers not fulfilling the number of hours required in their working week.”

Teacher representative Graham Jarvie added that staff would be working extra time Monday to Thursday if they were not working Friday afternoons.

A “leadership programme” for teachers on Friday afternoons is planned for roll-out across all schools.

Committee chairman Councillor Sandy Aitchison said: “We are in a far more positive place than I thought we would be at this time. We need to leave it and see how these negotiations work, and I’m sure things will improve as the system beds in.”

Mrs McDiarmid said: “We have had two weeks with the asymmetric week in place and apart from a couple of teething problems with transport, everything is going very smoothly.”

A detailed report on how the new school week is working will be provided at the committee’s next meeting.