The era of 9am to 3pm school could soon be over for thousands of students in one Australian state.
The Queensland Government has given public primary and secondary schools the green light to change timetables and shorten the school week.
Schools will consider teacher availability and the “well-being and engagement” of students and staff when implementing changes.
The Ministry of Education distributed to directors this week a draft which will come into force from the first quarter of 2024.
A number of schools in southeast Queensland have already shortened weeks or changed timetables to start earlier in the day.
This major shake-up appears to have been accepted by secondary school principals without “any concerns being raised…at this stage”.
Public primary and secondary schools in Queensland may change their timetables or shorten the school week from the first term of 2024. Pictured are Brisbane students.
Queensland Secondary Principals Association president Mark Breckenridge stressed different arrangements will be in place for younger secondary students than for seniors who need less supervision.
“There will be different arrangements for lower secondary pupils aged 12 and 13, as opposed to pupils in years 11 and 12,” he told the Courier-Mail.
“Recognize that these students can’t be sent home because they need parental supervision and we don’t want 12- and 13-year-olds potentially unsupervised.
This comes after international studies claimed that shorter working weeks increased the productivity of teachers and students.
The Queensland Academies Creative Industries campus in Brisbane will be one of several schools to trial a four-day week next year.
Some schools in the southeast of the state are already testing four-day weeks (stock image)
The school designated Wednesday as a non-class day, rather than a three-day weekend.
“This compressed week would have the same number of contact hours and program time compressed into four days,” principal Mick Leigh said in a letter to parents.
“The change was proposed to support student well-being and reduce cognitive stressors that lead to lower attendance and burnout.
“Wednesday was chosen (as a day off) in an effort to reduce the cognitive load on students.”
Education Minister Grace Grace said Queensland schools should still operate “five days a week, Monday to Friday”.
“Any changes to opening hours for individual schools under the new policy must be approved by regional directors, including any trials,” she said.
“I would expect that any decision to change class schedules would be subject to rigorous review, that it would not be taken lightly, and that students would continue to participate in school activities throughout the week.”
International studies claim shorter school weeks boosted teacher and student productivity
Queensland Academies Creative Industries Campus to trial four-day week in 2024