24 Dec 2008

Minister welcomes debate on school hours

6:10 am on 24 December 2008

Education Minister Anne Tolley says she welcomes a discussion on making school hours more flexible.

The School Trustees Association has called for the subject to be debated.

Ms Tolley says it has already been raised with her by educators as she travels around the country, but the discussion needs to be a joint effort by interested groups.

The School Trustees Association, which represents almost 2700 school boards, says that if a national debate around school hours does happen, students' needs must come first.

Association manager Ray Newport would like groups in the education sector to look at making school hours more flexible. Morning and afternoon sessions or an 8-to-5 day are just some ideas being floated, he says, but the discussion should be driven by what best suits students.

Wellington High School principal Prue Kelly says traditional hours constrain the way schools operate. The school has been operating modified hours for its senior students for almost five years and Ms Kelly says they would like to take that further. She told Nine to Noon that school hours can be changed without much cost or disruption.