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Extended school hours for busy families will be tested in NSW primary schools


Primary schools at NSW intend to take part in a trial to extend working hours well beyond the classroom, which has sparked debate about whether to take it more widely.

According to Prime Minister Dominique Perot, the changes were driven by the need to give busy families more flexibility.

Eight schools will work with community organizations and sports clubs to provide activities and care before 9 a.m. and after 3 p.m.

The exact details and timing are yet to be determined, but pre- and post-school classes, dance classes and sports practice will be involved in the tests.

Camera iconEight primary schools in New South Wales will change working hours. Credit: sources

The time of classes will not be affected by the test, which must take place over 20 weeks in the 3rd and 4th semesters.

Mr Perrottet said change is an appropriate modern approach to childcare and education.

“We know this can be a challenge for families juggling the competing demands of work and family life around standard school hours, and this pilot is about to explore options to help with that,” he said.

“We want to offer parents more support and comfort, knowing that their children are safe and happy when participating in a homework group at the school library, a dance class in the school hall or football training at the school oval.”

Education and Early Learning Minister Sarah Mitchell said traditional school days are not suitable for busy families.

“The reality is that a traditional school day, like a working day from nine to five, is a 20th century concept that may not be the best example for families, schools and 21st century society,” she said.

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Camera iconPrime Minister Dominique Perotte has previously said traditional school hours were “archaic”. NCA NewsWire / Nikki Short Credit: News Corp Australia

“It’s not necessarily a change of existing class time. What we are doing is looking for ways to better support students and make it easier for working parents to manage their responsibilities.

“This pilot study will give us a better understanding of what schools are already doing and how we can expand or implement effective practices in such schools.”

The lawsuit involved Cowdor Public School, Hanwood Public School, Hastings College, Kentlin Public School, Matraville Soldiers’ Settlement Public School, Orange High School, Spring Hill Public School and Tacking Point Public School.

Earlier, Mr. Perrote called traditional school hours “an archaic period of time.”

“In my opinion, it doesn’t work from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.,” he said.

“The world of the 1950s is very different from the world we live in today.”


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