Flexible school hours

Stuff reports:

Parents say they’re “horrified” at the idea of flexible school hours and the potential chaos it will cause for families enrolled at several different .

The idea of schools having flexibility with their opening and closing hours is part of the Education Legislation Bill that is currently before select committee.

On Wednesday, principal Perry Rush of Wellington’s Island Bay School said he had done a “straw poll” of about 20 parents on Tuesday afternoon asking them what they thought of the idea.

“I’m at a decile 10 school so a very professional community in Island Bay and I asked a good 20 parents what their thoughts were on more flexible hours and they were horrified”.

He said parents’ responses consisted of concerns about how it would work and the practicalities of picking up children from different schools with different finishing times.

This seems a bit scaremongering.

First of all I doubt many families have children at lots of different schools.

You may have a kid at primary and secondary school. but they have different hours already – 9 am to 3 pm vs 8.40 am to 3.20 pm.

Different hours can help if you have to pick up kids from different locations.

Most kids are not be getting picked up anyway, but using public transport or cycling or walking.

But finally, wouldn’t you trust schools to be sensible and work in the best interests of their communities – so schools in southern Wellington might ensure they all have the same hours, but schools in Wairarapa may have different hours to South Wellington.

One size fits all is rarely a good approach.

Rush said the whole concept was a “minefield” and he wasn’t entirely sure what the problem was with the status quo.

Lack of flexibility for a school to determine the best hours for their parents and students. Also the lack of flexibility to try different models – some parents might like a choice of school where say the hours are 8.30 am to 4.00 pm but finishes at 2 pm on Friday.

“Why are we thinking this is important? I think it’s decidedly unimportant in terms of the structure we have for schooling and the way it works to best deliver outcomes for kids in New Zealand,” he said.

Green Party education spokeswoman Catherine Delahunty agrees with the Island Bay School community and says school hours should be best for kids and their families.

And who is best to decide – each school for their community, or the Government for every school in NZ?

ACT leader David Seymour supports the proposal and backs schools to best understand the local community and its needs, not MPs sitting in Parliament.

“What I’d say to people who object to giving schools extra freedoms is this – you don’t have to use them but that does not give you the right to stop other people having their freedom to run schools in their communities in a way that best suits their children’s future.

“I get sick and tired of these people who do not understand that giving freedom to others does not affect them and they have no right to take away other people’s flexibility just because they don’t want to use it themselves,” he said.

Well said.

I wonder if the fear of flexible hours, is that decisions will be on what is best for families, not teachers?

Comments (32)

Login to comment or vote