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Future Fridays – it’s yours to make

32-Period Week Frequently Asked Questions

32-Period week for secondary schools and Citizenship, Enterprise and Development Session.

I think my child has missed a lot of school during the COVID-19 pandemic. Why are you taking this step now?

We had plans in place to reconfigure the secondary school week prior to the pandemic. We want to make sure we can create better opportunities and pathways to success for our pupils. The new model allows us to offer so much more, including a range of additional programmes both around the curriculum and development of skills for learning, life and work, health and wellbeing and personal and social development, which will give all our pupils the best possible chance of success after school. Fundamentally, our planning is around ensuring we tackle the attainment gap.

Why are you reducing the school day?

The proposal is to reconfigure arrangements, not necessarily to reduce. There will not be any reduction in key curricular subjects that are taught and no change to the offer of national qualifications for pupils in the senior phase as a result of the 32-period week.

The plan involves taking the 33rd period from the Friday and giving schools the ability to either use that for a registration slot throughout the week or to use that time more flexibly to incorporate appropriate local plans for young people.

The council’s Review of Curricular Arrangements (RoCA) published in May 2020 recommended that a number of specific improvements should be made. Among other things, this review was framed in response to an Employability Review which concluded in March 2020. Both reviews outlined that strengthened pathways in work-based learning and progression routes to employment and packages of support for young people and partnerships to achieve success were important to support best practice in teaching and learning.

As part of this review, secondary school pupils across North Lanarkshire will have access to an exciting weekly extra-curricular afternoon to gain skills for learning, life and work and develop their talent or interests when schools move to a 32-period week (four-and-a-half days) from August 2021.

Some other local authorities are already operating this model with success.

This afternoon session will provide children and young people with opportunities to experience activities and skills they may not otherwise get access to and crucially, provide a platform to support recovery networks to help address any lost school time over the past 12 months.

How much is the taught curriculum being reduced?

The secondary school weekly timetable will move from 33 to 32 periods a week, with a shorter finish at 12.30pm on one of the days, with Friday currently being proposed.

The week will comprise four days of seven periods and one day of four:

  • Monday-Thursday 8:55am-3:45pm
  • Friday: 8:55am-12:30pm

There will not be any reduction in key curricular subjects that are taught and no change to the offer of national qualifications for pupils in the senior phase as a result of the 32-period week.

Each school will inform parents/carers of their own curricular models which includes utilising double periods where appropriate.

Will this affect teacher contact time?

Full-time teachers are contracted to teach a maximum of 22.5 hours of their 35-hour week and therefore there will not be any reduction in face to face teaching time with pupils. Schools are currently working on plans and will share detail in the summer term.

Why have four long days and one short day?

The 32-period week is used by a number of councils across the country. In the model in North Lanarkshire, we have aligned the week to create a block of time that allows significant work to be done to address the aims and objectives of improving pathways and chances for all our pupils. The principle of blocking out a consistent afternoon allows us to focus much of our resources in developing a programme that will benefit our children and young people through participation in a wide range of learning, life and work offers.

What consultation are you doing?

The proposal was agreed by the council in May 2020 and again at another meeting in November 2020. We have consulted with several parent councils, youth groups, teaching unions and staff groups and we will continue to do so in the lead-up to the changes. As this is such a big change, a dedicated team has been set up to plan for the afternoon sessions which will give children and young people access to a range of life, work and leisure opportunities that will give them skills, confidence and capacity for their own futures.  

How will the afternoon session on the Friday work?

Most sessions will finish by 3pm although this may be later depending on which activity children and young people are involved with. Each school will advise parents and carers as appropriate.

The fresh and innovative programme spans the fields of employability, music, sport and arts, health and wellbeing, digital learning, outdoor education, and academic and leadership development. The sessions will give young people greater opportunities to be job-ready, independent, confident and better equipped for post-school experiences.

A dedicated team is working to pull together the offer for all year groups and already we have Active Schools, Community Learning and Development, NLC Music Service, New College Lanarkshire, Skills Development Scotland and a wide range of partners signed up to support this innovative programme. We are still working on the details and will share more information with you in the summer term.

Will pupils still be able to access lunches on the Friday if finishing at 12:30?

Yes, arrangements will be put in place that will allow lunches to be provided.

What kind of activities will children and young people be able to do?

There will be a wide range of activities including sport, arts, academic support and skills-based workshops to be work-ready. The aim of these sessions is to enhance or build on specific interests or talent, provide practical skills to prepare young people for leaving school into a job or training, support for further education or supported study. There will also be the opportunity to carry out volunteer or charitable work, as well as work experience. Already we’ve had offers of provision of some really creative activities such as music recording and production, youth therapy, befriending programmes, leadership academy, visual arts and photography, rugby for girls, rock band, pipe band, work with older people, football and physical activity sessions at professional football clubs, gardening, gymnastics, basketball, health and wellness and so many more!

How will the afternoon session benefit children?

Young people have been involved in the design of the programme and it will fit around four key themes:

Attainment – supported study, additional curricular subjects (including music)

Health and wellbeing – sporting excellence, mental health & wellbeing, outdoor learning.

The world of work – Developing the young workforce, skills for learning, life and work, career information advice and guidance and vocational opportunities.

Citizenship and our community – Youth Parliament, volunteering, community projects, leadership programmes.

Outcomes from the afternoons will include:

  • Increased academic achievements and wider accreditations with the opportunity gain new knowledge and skills or to catch up on lost learning
  • Participation more widely in health and wellbeing and sport activities leading to improvements in physical and mental wellbeing
  • Engagement with future career and work-related activities including apprenticeships, other vocational placements and work-related and employability learning opportunities in the senior phase of learning to improve initial and sustained school leaver destinations
  • Opportunities for children and young people to directly participate in community-based programmes, providing them with a voice and the opportunity to influence decisions and local plans.

Should the afternoon session not be compulsory?

We are unable to make it compulsory as the new curriculum design means that school officially finishes at 12.30pm on a Friday. The afternoon sessions will be delivered by a wide range of internal and external partners, as well as voluntary school staffing and is therefore voluntary for pupils.

What about ASN pupils?

All ASN secondary schools will continue with a normal five-day full-time weekly timetable. However those secondary schools with Language Communication Support Centres (LCSCs) will finish at 12.30pm on a Friday and will be invited to participate in the afternoon sessions.

Will the current extra-curricular activities be affected by this?

The current extra-curricular activities may not necessarily be affected but individual schools will communicate this information. The Friday afternoon offer will be separate.

How much is the taught curriculum being reduced?

The secondary school weekly timetable will move from 33 to 32 periods a week, with a shorter finish at 12.30pm on one of the days, with Friday being the shorter four-period day.

The week will comprise four days of seven periods and one day of four:

  • Monday-Thursday 8:55am-3:45pm
  • Friday: 8:55am-12:30pm

There will not be any reduction in key curricular subjects that are taught and no change to the offer of National Qualifications for pupils in the senior phase as a result of the 32-period week.

Each school will inform parents/carers of their own curricular models which includes utilising double periods where appropriate.

Will this affect teacher contact time?

Full-time teachers are contracted to teach a maximum of 22.5 hours of their 35-hour week. This will not be affected by the rearranged week and therefore there will not be any reduction in face to face teaching time with pupils. Schools are currently working on plans and will share detail in the summer term.

What kind of activities will children and young people be able to do?

There will be a wide range of activities including sport, arts, academic support and skills-based workshops to be work-ready. The aim of these sessions is to enhance or build on specific interests or talent, provide practical skills to prepare young people for leaving school into a job or training, support for further education or supported study. There will also be the opportunity to carry out volunteer or charitable work, as well as work experience. Already we’ve had offers of provision of some really creative activities such as music recording and production, youth therapy, befriending programmes, leadership academy, visual arts and photography, rugby for girls, rock band, pipe band, work with older people, football and physical activity sessions at professional football clubs, gardening, gymnastics, basketball, health and wellness and so many more! A brochure has recently been published which provides more details around this and is available to view online (see link below). It will also be distributed to all pupils, parents and carers.

If school finishes at 12.30pm on Friday, what are working parents to do with childcare?

The programme will provide young people with opportunities to do a range of activities in the Friday afternoon if they choose. There will be lots on offer and we hope our young people take them up.

Those who choose not to participate will finish at 12.30pm on the Friday. 

How will young people be able to find out what is on offer?

Schools will be sharing information throughout the month of June to set up young people with activities for August. Whilst schools may wish to introduce specific opportunities depending on their own context eg school show rehearsals, horticulture etc, there will be a consistency in the offer from our partners including New College Lanarkshire, Active Schools, Active and Creative Communities and Community Learning and Development. These offers will continue to be developed in the months ahead as sustained demand grows. Schools are working closely with Active School Coordinators to match their needs with what is currently on offer and this information will be shared with pupils in secondary school and during transition events for the incoming S1 cohort. 

How will the afternoon session on the Friday work?

Most sessions will finish by 3pm although this may be later depending on which activity children and young people are involved with. Each school will advise parents and carers as appropriate.

The fresh and innovative programme spans the fields of employability, music, sport and arts, health and wellbeing, digital learning, outdoor education, and academic and leadership development. The sessions will give young people greater opportunities to be job-ready, independent, confident and better equipped for post-school experiences.

A dedicated team is working to pull together the offer for all year groups and already we have Active Schools, Community Learning and Development, NLC Music Service, New College Lanarkshire, Skills Development Scotland and a wide range of partners signed up to support this innovative programme. The programme will be further developed in August and grow over the first six weeks of the term as schools return to more normal operations following COVID restrictions

 

What happens if my child gets school transport?

For those eligible for school transport, bus times will be adjusted to align with the school week and will leave at 12.30pm on Fridays.

For the young people who are staying on in the afternoon for the Future Fridays' activity and who are eligible for free school transport, transport will be provided at the end of the afternoon (3:00pm) subject to the activity they are taking part in. Young people who are not eligible for school transport but staying on will make the arrangements that they usually make at the end of the school day. In January 2022 all young people at school will be eligible for the Scottish Government free bus travel pass. More information on this will be shared as and when it becomes available.

Will my child be able to get a school lunch?

The school dining room will still be open on a Friday lunchtime for both hot and cold food. If pupils are staying on for voluntary classes then it will be’ business as usual’. If pupils are leaving at 12.30 then they should pre-order their lunch and pick up on the way out of school.

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Page last updated:
19 Aug 2021

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