STUDENTS at Knox Academy are ditching a longer lunch to finish school earlier.

Pupils returning from the Christmas holidays will see their lunchtime cut by 10 minutes, with students then finishing slightly earlier Monday to Thursday.

Friday’s timetable will remain unaltered throughout the pilot scheme.

The trial – which follows consultation with pupils, the parent council, parents and carers – runs till the February break.

The move to a 45-minute lunch break sees Knox Academy fall into line with other secondary schools across the county.

Lauren Rodger, interim headteacher at the school, said: “Headteachers of other schools report that 45 minutes gives pupils adequate time to buy and eat their lunch, even for those who choose to go out of school.

“All schools offer a variety of lunchtime clubs and activities and manage to fit these into 45 minutes comfortably.

“Pupils told us that generally they like the earlier finish, as it gives them more time after school for extra-curricular activities and they can get home earlier.

“Some also said that they get bored towards the end of the long lunch break.

“Pupils have three main concerns about a shorter lunch break: less time to buy and eat lunch; less time for clubs and activities; and those getting buses would have a longer wait at the end of the day.

“The experience of pupils and staff in the other five secondary schools in the authority indicates that, with a 45-minute lunch break, pupils have time to buy and eat lunch and lunchtime activities still run successfully.”

Timings for the first four school periods of the day – in the run-up to lunch – will remain the same.

The change will see lunch running 1.07-1.52pm, instead of 1.07-2.02pm. The 59-minute school periods continue in the afternoon, with the final school bell ringing at 3.50pm instead of 4pm.

The timetable for buses leaving to take pupils home will be altered accordingly.

Mrs Rodger added: “We will evaluate the pilot timings before the February break and I would welcome comments from parents and carers.

“Please be assured that our focus is on what is most beneficial to our pupils’ learning, both within and outwith the classroom. Our hope is that shortening the lunch break will ensure pupils settle more quickly in class period five, and the slightly earlier finish means pupils will be less tired and remain focused on their learning until the end of period six. The evaluation of the pilot will tell us whether that is the case.”