School day gets a shake-up, Premier pushes for earlier start

Susanna Freymark

Premier Dominic Perrottet, a father of six, has called on schools to look at the 9am-3pm hours students are at school and think about changing the time.

Mr Perrottet said school hours were out of step with modern life.

He said trials were already underway in some schools to see what hours could work better with suggestions of an earlier start to the day.

Merrylands East Primary School in Sydney starts the day at 7.30pm.

During covid, schools have already adapted to many changes including online learning.

Could a 7am to 1pm day with extended after-school care catch on?

The 9am-3pm doesn’t work, Mr Perrottet said.

The current structure of the school day dates back to 1880, he said.

We contacted schools in Kyogle and Richmond Valley to see if they were going to have a discussion about school times with their school community. We are yet to receive their comments.

We asked parents what they thought about changing of school hours: Here’s what they said.

We did at Afterlee School, started at 8:45am and finished at 2:45pm. It was good for parents that didn’t work as it’s a little bush school. It was good for us as we could get to town to do after school sports.

Sandy Szoko

That old chestnut! Just think about the logistics of bus journeys in Kyogle and the commutes of many teachers and kids.

Margie Brace

Might work for city kids but what about regional areas where students may have to already travel up to 40 minutes or more to get to school.

Heather Dennis

My son travels 90 minutes each way. He won’t ever be able to do a 7am start.

Naomi Simpson

Any change will nearly make it impossible for parents that both work full time jobs, if anything allows preschools to allow kids to be dropped off earlier than 9am for parents that start at 8.30am.

Rob Beach

Leave the times as they are, been working for years now.

Chantelle Coonan

Considering we don’t have enough teaching staff for the current hours I’d like to know how he thinks he can staff schools for longer or varied hours.

Jennie King

Would much rather 8am – 1.30pm!

Denn N Behk Hill

Yes but shouldn’t be based on what parents find convenient. Schools are not babysitters and it should be based on genuine evidence of what hours will help kids learn best. And that is not an earlier start in most cases, I can assure you.

Alex Albans

I’m think staggered hours so that there is flexibility for teachers and families. It would be good if included additional funding for supervision and activities outside of teaching time, to support the flexibility of it.

Odette Nettleton

No bloody way. There has been enough change since covid for kids and to make yet another change is insane.. Especially for us parents who have additional needs kids that need things to stop changing on them constantly as it’s a massive adjustment for them every time.

Amanda Neale

They will never please everyone. Shift workers still need babysitters and not many people finish work mid-afternoon.

Natalie Charity

And what about these teachers that are supposed to do these shifts? Teachers are parents too and have kids to go home to. I work in long day-care so I get it, but I couldn’t change my shifts to accommodate staggered primary/high school starts.

Rhianna Rosie Reynolds

I’m not afraid of change, let’s give it a trial, I say!

Mel Alchin

If that happens then bus timetables will have to change. Will really affect the country areas more than city. eg. buses also to/from Casino/Lismore students have to get afternoon buses home around Casino.

Tanya Peart

Schools do not operate to suit parents work times. If we are staggering times when will have the time for prep. I currently work 8 to 5 every day. If I’m face to face teaching or supervising play when will I get my work done. Not thought through at all by people who know nothing about teaching.

Jayne Boyd

My understanding is that he is giving individual schools the opportunity to trial times that may suit their own /community needs keeping in mind transport etc. No one is suggesting that every school in the state is going to have their times changed to all be the same, just allowing flexibly of it works for that school.

Kylie Martin

Teachers have their own kids to look after as well. I don’t think they would like to be there earlier or later. And what about after school sport that some kids do.

Reshenda Thompson

Whatever works for working parents; schools should perhaps be open from 7-5 and kids can start and finish each day at whatever time works best for them and their families.

Mitch Hardman

I think it’s not feasible. Parents work all different hours and it would mean staff would have to get up extra early, especially those that travel for work.

Tracey Graham

So glad my kids have finished school. Has he really considered how this will really affect working parents and those who have to travel to school? Imagine getting young children up so they can be at school by 7am, they will be asleep by the time their parents finish work, not to mention what it is going to cost working parents in extra after school care

Kathy Ward

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