A COMMON school day will be introduced across three secondary schools in East Lothian on Monday, with the remaining schools following suit next summer.

The county’s six secondary schools are set to follow a universal schedule after years of traditionally setting their own timetables – leading to different start and finish times as well as a range of lunch breaks.

The local authority carried out a public consultation exercise over plans to synchronise the days to bring all the schools in line.

Once introduced, it will mean an earlier start for five of the secondary schools once introduced with a new registration time of 8.30am five days a week.

The school day will then end earlier at 3.25pm each day except Fridays, a long-standing half-day at schools, when classes will finish for the week at 12.15pm.

Three schools are ready to introduce the new timetable from Monday: Dunbar Grammar, Knox Academy in Haddington, and Musselburgh Grammar.

After nearly three quarters of those surveyed gave the thumbs-up to the change, Fiona Robertson, East Lothian Council’s head of education, recommended  all schools have a 32-period week.

East Lothian Council said the remaining secondaries – North Berwick High School, Preston Lodge High School in Prestonpans,  and Ross High School in Tranent – would introduce the new timetable from June next year.

Ms Robertson said the common school day would improve inclusion and make it easier for schools to work together.

The schools are said to have been keen to introduce the common day, which was backed by pupils who took part in a Youth Summit in the county last year.

Councillor Shamin Akhtar, cabinet spokesperson for education, said that the changes to the school day would help pupils.

She said: “The introduction of a common secondary school day will deliver a number of educational benefits for young people.

“Having this consistency will help to raise attainment amongst all our young people and reduce inequalities.

“It also increases the opportunities for pupils to take part in inter-school learning, accessing a broader range of courses and qualifications delivered by our schools, partners or through digital technologies.”

A council spokesperson said: “Decisions around the phasing were taken by headteachers and are based around the schools’ readiness for implementation.

“Home to school transport services are being changed to align with the new school times, and families who use home to school transport will get updated timetables from the relevant bus company.”

l Current secondary school days in East Lothian are as follows: Dunbar Grammar School – 8.40am registration and school ends 3.50pm Monday to Thursday and 12.30pm on Fridays; Preston Lodge High School – 8.40am registration and school ends 3.40pm Monday to Thursday and 12.25pm on Fridays; Knox Academy – 8.44am registration and school ends 4pm Monday to Thursday and 12.05pm on Fridays; Musselburgh Grammar School – 8.45am registration and school ends at 3.50pm Monday to Thursday and 12.30pm on Fridays; North Berwick High School – 8.39am registration and school ends 3.50pm Monday to Thursday and noon on Fridays; Ross High School – 8.30am registration and school ends 3.35pm Monday to Thursday and 11.55am on Fridays.