26 September 2023

Research pilot to study school family hours

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Schools across the State have signed up for a Government research pilot which seeks to maximise the school day to better suit the needs of students and parents.

Announced by Premier Dominic Perrottet, the trial is to see eight schools partner with community organisations, local businesses and sporting clubs to offer a range of high-quality activities for kids on school grounds outside the standard 9:00am to 3:00pm school day.

“We know it can be a challenge for families juggling the competing demands of work and family life around standard school hours and this pilot is about exploring options to help with that,” Mr Perrottet said.

“We want to offer greater support and comfort to parents, knowing that their kids are safe and happy taking part in a homework club in the school library, a dance class in the school hall or soccer practice on the school oval.”

He said the pilot, to run during Terms 3 and 4, would examine how access to school sites could be improved, particularly for sites that were under-utilised.

Minister for Education and Early Learning, Sarah Mitchell said the traditional school day was already being reimagined by many schools to better meet the needs of students and their community with breakfast clubs, study centres, and fitness and arts programs.

“The reality is that the traditional school day, like the 9 to 5 workday, is a 20th century concept which may not be the best model for 21st century families, schools and the community,” Ms Mitchell said.

“This isn’t necessarily about changing existing class times,” she said.

“What we are doing is finding ways to better support students and make it easier for working parents to manage their commitments.”

Ms Mitchell said the 20-week research pilot would give Government a better understanding of what schools were already doing, and how it could expand on or implement effective practices at similar schools.

The Minister said the pilot had been informed by research into current successful extended hours programs in schools, both locally and overseas.

She said the participating schools were Cawdor Public School; Hanwood Public School; Hastings Secondary College; Kentlyn Public School; Matraville Soldier’s Settlement Public School; Orange High School; Spring Hill Public School; and Tacking Point Public School.

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