Next round in the Falkirk schools’ timetable battle

After consultating with parents, the proposal to cut the time pupils spend in the classroom has been dropped

After consultating with parents, the proposal to cut the time pupils spend in the classroom has been dropped

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A row over cutting school hours to save cash has ended up costing taxpayers extra money.

In its recent budget, the Labour administration proposed cutting the primary school week from 25 to 22.5 hours.

A report said it would save £1.91 million on teacher costs but the initiative would only be introduced in 2016/17 if no other ways of saving the cash could be found.

There was an immediate outcry from opposition politicians and parents, and after a meeting with parent councils two weeks ago, it was announced that the proposal was scrapped.

However, members of the SNP group were unhappy that there had been no formal announcement of the decision and put forward a motion calling for a statement.

This is due to be debated at a special meeting of Falkirk Council today.

But since this date was arranged, another council meeting has been set for Tuesday when several items will be debated, including a motion about the reduction of school hours.

It states that having listened to the views of parents and considering the financial sanctions it would face from the Scottish Government if teacher numbers were not maintained, Falkirk Council would remove the option to reduce hours.

The motion adds that officers will be asked to look at other options to save cash.

Councillor Craig Martin, council leader, said: “We have asked the SNP to withdraw their motion as it is due to be discussed two working days later. Officers’ time could be better spent rather than having to attend this meeting.”

But Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn, SNP group leader, said: “We believe it was pertinent to bring the motion as we asked for a report at the last full council and it wasn’t given. However, the administration seem happy to make this a political football.”