East Dunbartonshire parents raise concerns over P1 school changes

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Parents have expressed concerns over changes to start of term arrangements for Primary One pupils.

East Dunbartonshire Council plans for pupils to start their school education with full school days rather than half days for the first two and a half weeks, with the change coming into effect this August.

Sarah Humphris says many parents are troubled by the new arrangements. She said: “As a mother of a child due to start in August, I am appalled that the decision was not based on what is best for the child.

“The main reasons cited for the change were because parents find it difficult to find childcare for the afternoons and children already in full time childcare get ‘confused’ about only being in half days at the start of school.

“I feel so strongly about this because families, who choose not to use long hours of daycare, are being undermined and forced to expose their child to long institutional hours when they are so young, without a settling in period. The decision should prioritise those children who not ready for a full day, not the ones whose parents feel they are. So I decided, after speaking to many parents at school and nursery and some friends who are teachers, that I wanted to coordinate a response to the council.”

Sarah from Bishopbriggs, has founded EDC – Children First, a Facebook group for parents who wish to lobby the council about their concerns. So far the group has attracted more than 70 members.

Chief education officer Greg Bremner has offered to meet parents but these meetings are scheduled for February.

Sarah added: “I don’t feel the council’s response to our objections has been timely enough.” She also feels that many teachers are also against the change but do not feel able to speak openly.

Mr Bremner said: “As a council we want the best for all learners and parents and changes to the school start date for P1 pupils was agreed by council following consultation.  The consultation found the majority of parents in favour of the change.

“However, I understand some parents may have reservations and I have contacted Ms Humphris to arrange a meeting to discuss her concerns in detail.  We will be working with all our schools to alleviate any potential issues and closely monitoring.”