RESIDENTS can have their say on plans to create a common school day across East Lothian's six secondary schools.

A feasibility study has been launched into the idea, which if introduced would see all secondary schools in the county have the same start and finish times and period structure of 32 periods each week.

Councillors agreed to explore the possibility of implementing the change at a meeting of East Lothian Council’s cabinet in June.

That heard that secondary schools had historically been given considerable autonomy in planning their school days and “curricular arrangements”. But this had resulted in “six different structures, length of the school day and different levels of access in terms of experience and opportunity”. And there was “significant variation” throughout East Lothian in the range of Advanced Higher and Higher courses offered and the number of qualifications available in S4.

The consultation runs until next Sunday (November 11).

The council believes that implementing a common school day and curriculum structure would allow better sharing between schools, partnership-working and increased opportunities for pupils to participate in inter-school learning and initiatives.

On the proposed 32-period week, the council's consultation document says: "A 32-period structure provides the flexibility required to ensure breadth, personalisation and choice within the broad general education (S1-3) and the senior phase (S4-6).

"It is possible for all pupils to receive their entitlements and a range of extended experiences, which should enhance coherent and flexible progression pathways, enabling young people to develop the skills, knowledge and understanding that they need to succeed in learning, life and work."

Two different options are being considered for the proposed common school day.

Option A would see registration start at 8.30am followed by two 50-minute periods, a 15-minute break at 10.20am, then two more periods, lunch from 12.15pm to 12.55pm, followed by three more periods in the afternoon ending at 3.25pm. On a Friday, school would finish at 12.15pm at the conclusion of the fourth period.

Option B would also begin at 8.30am but see two different structures for Monday-Thursday compared to Friday. While Fridays would follow the exact same timetable as for Option A, on Monday-Thursday there would be three periods running until an 11.10am 15-minute interval, then two more periods leading up to lunch at 1.05pm to 1.45pm. There would then be two more periods in the afternoon for a finish at 3.25pm.

The change would also impact upon primary schools due to the shared home-to-school transport provision.

Under the proposals, all primary schools would also start and finish at the same time, although individual schools could choose to move their time by up to 30 minutes at either end of the day.

Primary schools would follow a 25-hour week across all age groups – East Lothian is one of only two Scottish local authorities where P1-2s currently have a 22.5-hour week.

Councillor Shamin Akhtar, council spokesperson for education, said: “We believe having a common school day would benefit our young people by increasing attainment and offering improved opportunities for learning across the county.

"We want to develop fair and fulfilling learning journeys that fuel our young people’s interests and ambitions.

“I’d encourage everyone to find out more about our proposals and the benefits they would bring, and share their views with us.”

Drop-in sessions are being held in Knox Academy on Thursday and Ross High School, Tranent, next Tuesday (November 6), both from 4pm to 7pm.

Full proposals are available online from the council’s consultation hub at