Friday, 12 April 2024
    Four day school week proposed

    Four day school week proposed

    Senior students learning from home, four-day weeks for teachers and a shake-up of standard 9am to 3.30pm school days are among the radical solutions being touted to better prepare young people for the outside world and deal with worsening teacher shortages, The Age reports.

    Education experts say our secondary schooling model is outdated and stuck in a traditional structure, rather than using lessons learned from the pandemic to keep pace with modern living.

    Two Catholic secondary schools will next year introduce a more flexible learning schedule, including self-led study time for senior students, but Victorian Association of State Secondary Principals president Colin Axup said government schools were hamstrung by departmental policies, which limited opportunities for change.

    “There’s a reticence within our system to acknowledge that as a legitimate pathway,” Axup said.

    “If we’re going to prepare students for the future, don’t we have to provide some flexible learning for them? We keep students right up until year 12 and they’re in school the whole time. And four months later, they go to uni and we expect them to cope.

    “It’s about providing the flexibility for principals and their communities to have a discussion about what works best for their students. We need to have a more flexible approach to how we offer schooling.”

    Victorian public schools have one of the longest school days of all OECD countries, with the average 6½ hours compared to a maximum of five hours in Finland and Estonia, which both outperform Australia in international PISA rankings.

    Axup said COVID lockdowns had proven many senior schools could consider a reduction in face-to-face lesson time without a direct effect on results.

    Educators say a break from the 9am-to-3.30pm, classroom-based model could better prepare students for the challenges of university and working life, and free up resources to address the worsening teacher shortage.


    Four-day weeks, shorter school days: Radical changes that could boost learning at Victorian schools (The Age)


    Sacred Heart College in Geelong will introduce an experimental timetable next year that aims to encourage greater student independence.CREDIT:EDDIE JIM