Last updated: 13 June 2024

Pupil Engagement: 03 June 2024 - 14 June 2024

As part of the engagement, children and young people will be invited to take part in surveys and focus groups. This will involve them giving their views on the proposed changes through sessions that are facilitated by a member of staff. This engagement will take place between Monday 03 June and Friday 14 June. Should you not wish your child to participate in these sessions, please let their individual school know.

A copy of the survey and focus group questions they will be asked can be found below:

Primary School Survey questions
Secondary School Survey questions
Pupil Focus Group questions

Please note, the engagement sessions and focus groups will be with P5 – P7 in Primary, and all pupils in Secondary.

Following the conclusion of the Council's budget meeting back in February, a decision was taken at Council to engage with stakeholders on a future change to the learning week in our educational establishments. This change, if agreed by Council, would take effect in our establishments from August 2025.

Throughout April, May and June 2024, Children's Services are engaging parents/carers, staff, children and young people, trade unions as well as other third sector partners on the implications of the proposed change.

Once the engagement process has concluded, the proposal will be referred back to the Council for consideration in September 2024.

As part of the engagement process, a short video explaining the changes as well as frequently asked questions (FAQs) have been developed and are available below. Two presentations detailing the changes in Primary and Secondary Schools are also available below.

If you have any specific questions which have not been included, please email us as this will be the quickest way to ensure your question is answered:

We welcome your feedback on the proposal and the mechanism for ensuring this is formally recorded is via the Participate+ system, which you can access below.

The final date for submission of comments is Friday 28 June at midday.

Our proposals to change the learning week are in 2 parts:

  1. to move to an asymmetric week; and
  2. to change the overall number of learning hours

More information is detailed within our FAQs.

The short explanatory video mentions that there are asymmetric models already in operation in 8 out of 32 local authorities where it has been operating successfully for a number of years. There is variation within these local authorities in terms of pupils learning hours in both primary and secondary sectors, as you can see in the learning hours summary ( At this time, none are operating the same learning hours as Falkirk is proposing.

For parents and carers of children and young people in our primary specialist provisions/wings for severe and complex needs, with the exception of changing the learning hours across to 4.5 days, all other aspects of current provision and staffing remain the same.

Asymmetric week presentation for Primary Schools

Asymmetric week presentation for Secondary Schools

Frequently asked questions

Please note that the following FAQ's are based on the proposal being accepted.

All (parents, carers, teachers and pupils)

  1. Table of contents

Why is Falkirk Council making a change to the pupil week?

The financial challenges currently faced by Councils cross Scotland, including Falkirk, are widely known. To address these, major changes are required in the way that many front-line services are delivered. The proposed changes to the current school learning week in Falkirk are therefore being made to help the Council address the £64 million budget gap over the next 5 years. For Children's Services (the largest area of cost and service provision within the Council) there is an identified gap of £40 million over the next 5 years.

The Council is required to produce a balanced budget and all services are exploring a range of different options. Every year, services across the Council identify operational savings – and Children's Services is no different. Within Education, in 2024-2025, these savings total £2.55 million. Staff costs account for the largest proportion of the Education budget and the scale of savings now required demands a different approach – the savings can no longer simply be found from operational savings.

Our budget page has further information.

What alternative would there be to meeting the financial gap?

Over the past 5 years, Falkirk's secondary schools have seen an overall reduction of 79 full-time equivalent teachers and reductions across all budgets. Within Falkirk's primary schools, budgets have also been reduced alongside reductions in staffing and management time.

Any alternative proposals would mean a further reduction to core teacher numbers within the current school week. This would result in a focus on statutory educational delivery only.

In secondary schools this would mean reduced support provision for pupils across all year groups and a narrower curricular offering (e.g. some subjects would not be available or viable in the senior school) impacting negatively on positive destinations and pupil pathways.

In primary schools there would be fewer staff, higher pupil to staff ratios and a further reduction in leadership, teaching and support for pupils. Schools will lose the flexibility to offer the current range of supports for children and young people. Simply, it would lead to reducing the capacity to provide the right support, at the right time, to the right people.

After extensive work exploring different options, a change to the pupil week will have, overall, the least impact on our young people in terms of the support, quality and breadth of educational provision offered. It will protect the rich curriculum currently provided.

What other savings have been identified within Children's Services?

Every year, services across the Council identify operational savings – and Children's Services is no different. Within Education, in 2024-2025, these savings total £2.55 million. Staff costs account for the largest proportion of the Education budget and the scale of savings now required demands a different approach – the savings can no longer simply be found from operational savings.

When will the change to the pupil week be implemented?

If approved by Council, this change to the school week will be introduced from August 2025.

What will the school week look like?

For both primary and secondary schools, the school week will be timetabled over 4 and a half days.

Monday to Thursday will be normal days (or full days) with schools closing on a Friday at lunchtime. This is often referred to as an 'asymmetric week'.

The start and end times of the school day will vary slightly from school to school (as they currently do). Individual headteachers will confirm the exact timings for their school.

Nursery provision is unaffected at this time.

Is Falkirk Council the first authority to change to an asymmetric week?

No, other local authorities have moved to different pupil week configurations. Across Scotland 8 out of 32 local authorities have asymmetric week configurations across all their schools and a further 19 local authorities have asymmetric arrangements in at least one of their schools.

This spreadsheet from The Scottish Government shows provision across all 32 Scottish local authorities.

How will teaching hours be affected in secondary schools?

In mainstream secondary schools (and associated ASC provisions), Falkirk Council will implement a 33-period week (32-periods currently) with the reintroduction of a 'form class'. Pupils will have 7 periods each day on a Monday to Thursday and 4 periods on a Friday. Each period will be 45 minutes long instead of 50 minutes. The new model allows us to maintain the current curriculum structure, the overall number of learning episodes/periods and the breadth of curriculum offer (the range of subjects and different courses available) to our pupils. Form class will be allocated 45 minutes in total (the 33rd period) and will be spread across the week at the discretion of schools, eg 9 minutes each day (5 x 9 minutes = 45 minutes) or 3 x 15 minutes (eg on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday).

At the present time, individual schools make local decisions on the exact timings of the school day and this will continue to be the case should these proposals be accepted.

How will teaching hours be affected in primary schools?

Presently in primary schools the teaching week is made up of 22.5 hours allocated to a core class teacher(s), and a further 2.5 hours with a range of teachers including PE, music and others. In the new model, the allocation to the core class teacher(s) will remain unaffected. The additional 2.5 hours will no longer be required. This will lead to a change of a few minutes to the start and end of the school day Monday to Thursday and school closure from Friday lunchtime to ensure that the pupil week can be reduced to 22.5 hours with minimal impact on the core teaching.

At the present time, individual schools make local decisions on the exact timings of the school day and this will continue to be the case should these proposals be accepted.

Early Learning and Childcare (1,140 hours) is free to parents and funded by the Scottish Government. The overall number of hours will be unaffected by these proposals, although the distribution of them throughout the week may change. If these proposals are accepted, schools will consult with ELC staff and families to determine the best model.

How will teaching hours be affected at Carrongrange High School?

Carrongrange High School will retain its current model Monday to Thursday, with changes to timings on a Friday only. Monday – Thursday remains the same with pupils starting at 8:45am (with form class) and school finishing at 3:15pm each day. In the new model, Fridays will run from 8:45am - 12.00pm, (retaining form period) and a block of 'lifelong learning, wellbeing and regulation' period at the end of the morning.

What is form class?

In secondary schools, the equivalent concept to a form class might be referred to as a tutor group or registration class. This is a group of pupils who are assigned to the same class who have a designated teacher, often called a tutor or a form teacher. The form teacher is responsible for monitoring the overall levels of attendance, following up on absences, a regular check of the well-being of the pupils in the class, assisting with administrative matters, and serving as a regular point of contact for pupils.

Form Class (the 33rd period and 45 minutes in duration) is included in the overall time allocation of 1,485 minutes. Individual schools will decide the allocation of this time to suit their context, ie 3 x 15 minutes or 5 x 9 minutes (as described at How will teaching hours be affected in secondary schools?).

We hope that our proposal to reintroduce form class will be a positive experience and support for pupils who currently have lower levels of attendance. The asymmetric week is not detrimental to attendance at school. In the 8 local authorities which operate an asymmetric week, there is no known detriment to pupil attendance and all eight local authorities are currently in line with or above the Scottish National Average for attendance - we know this through the Local Government Benchmarking Framework.

How will this save money?

Overall, it is anticipated that this change will save the Council in the region of £6 million.

Primarily, this is because the Council will require fewer teachers to deliver the curriculum (in both primary and secondary schools). There will be additional savings from changes to other operating costs such as catering and cleaning. Longer term there may be additional revenue from community access to schools on a Friday afternoon.

The Council is required to produce a balanced budget and all services are exploring a range of different options. Every year, services across the Council identify operational savings – and Children's Services is no different. Within Education, in 2024-2025, these savings total £2.55 million. Staff costs account for the largest proportion of the Education budget and the scale of savings now required demands a different approach – the savings can no longer simply be found from operational savings.

Will the amendments to the week have an impact on my child's curriculum?

In secondary schools this change will not impact on the curriculum – indeed it will protect it. The model will provide the same number of periods and teacher contacts (or learning episodes) across the week. It will also allow the breadth of curriculum offering in secondary schools to be maintained, allowing the existing levels of choice pupils require to access their desired learning pathway supporting their positive destination. Efficient timetabling (by continuing to timetable double periods, so blocks of learning of 90 minutes) will mitigate most of the time lost to transition and movement around the school. Extended periods of time allow learners the opportunity to deepen their learning and extend cognitive challenge.

In primary schools, pupils will continue to have access to their core teacher(s) for the same amount of time as they do currently. The overall curriculum offer will be unchanged. All our learners' entitlements will also remain unchanged. Each school will continue to organise learning progression in line with Curriculum for Excellence, its curriculum rationale and Falkirk's Learning to Achieve policy.

The core teacher(s) will continue to ensure that the same proportion of time is spent on literacy, numeracy and across all of the other curricular areas. They will retain responsibility for overall levels of attainment, progress and tracking and monitoring. At the present time, the core teacher is also responsible for delivering one hour of PE provision – this will also continue as normal. Children and young people will still have access to our instrumental music tuition service.

Children and young people will still have exposure to other teachers within their school and from within their Secondary school as part of the normal transition arrangements/programme.

What is so special about the curriculum in Falkirk's secondary schools and why is it important to protect it?

The curriculum in Falkirk's schools stands out for its distinctive features that prioritise holistic development and practical preparation of pupils from the early years through to positive destinations. With a strong emphasis on Developing the Young Workforce (DYW), our curriculum is designed to equip pupils with the skills and knowledge needed for the modern workforce.

Digital learning is central to our curriculum and the model relies on the continued investment into Connected Falkirk (see below) and the provision of a 1:1 device for all pupils in P6 - S6 (and at a ratio of 1:5 for P1 - P5).

Our curriculum offers a broad range of accredited wider achievement opportunities, recognising and celebrating diverse talents. Our extensive curricular offerings are structured using the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF), ensuring a rigorous and recognised educational foundation for all pupils.

Our pupils attend Forth Valley College through our partnership programme, fostering a seamless transition from secondary to further and higher education (and impacting on their eventual positive destination). The secondary curriculum is strategically aligned to support consortia arrangements (allowing young people to access courses in schools across the Council (either in-person or virtually)), ensuring a broad, cohesive and comprehensive learning experience.

In addition to this, our commitment to STEM education is also a focal point, nurturing pupils interest and proficiency in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and our approaches to Learning for Sustainability (LfS) is actively developing, demonstrating our schools' commitment to global awareness and responsibility.

What is Connected Falkirk?

Connected Falkirk is a project that aims to transform learning and teaching using digital technology as a tool - it is not just about giving devices to children.

Through the provision of a 1:1 device for all pupils from P6 - S6 (and at a ratio of 1:5 for P1 - P5), our educators are empowered to redefine learning experiences in all our classrooms which is adaptive to the needs of pupils; allows pupils to access their learning and resources 24/7; enables pupils to receive regular high quality feedback from their teachers (at a time and place of their choosing); supports the ability of pupils across Falkirk to access a range of virtual learning opportunities and, importantly, ensures equity for all of Falkirk's young people. It is also a central tool to support young people with Additional Support Needs who can easily access accessibility tools to support their learning.

Funding for continued investment in Connected Falkirk is part of an on-going, sustained capital investment in the future of Falkirk's children and young people and is separate to the Council's revenue budget which is associated with this change to the pupil week.

What has been the trend of pupils moving into Positive Destinations in Falkirk and will this be impacted?

Schools have worked hard to develop a curriculum that allows all young people to follow a learning pathway which will eventually lead to a sustained and positive destination when they leave school – protecting our curriculum will help to protect our trend in positive destinations.

The School Leaver Destination Return (SLDR) in October of each year looks at the number of school leavers moving into a 'positive destination' - into higher or further education, employment, training or volunteering.

In 2011, 84.2% of Falkirk's school leavers entered a positive destination. In 2023, this has increased to 95.41%.

When young people reach the stage of moving on to further education, employment and other positive destinations, universities and employers do not take into consideration the length of time that a young person has spent in school; rather they will take into consideration their qualifications.

Will Falkirk Council pupils be disadvantaged by the change to the pupil week and how will you improve/maintain levels of attainment if pupils are in school less?

While learning hours are not currently prescribed, the number of school days is set in law in Scotland and requires schools in Scotland to be open a minimum of 190 days in a school year. This is not changing. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) average for direct annual learning hours at primary level is 807 hours, this varies across the country and Falkirk primary schools will move under this proposal to 855 hours.

At secondary school, the OECD average for direct annual learning hours is 923 hours, this varies across the country and Falkirk Secondary Schools will move under this proposal to 940.5 hours.

Studies show that the quantity of time in relation to outcomes across educational phases is only one relevant factor alongside, for example, teacher quality and quality pupil feedback. Falkirk has invested in the quality of its education workforce and in the provision of a 1:1 device through the Connected Falkirk programme.

The Connected Falkirk digital approach is providing new avenues for learning beyond traditional face-to-face interactions with teachers. All pupils from P6 to S6 have access to online resources, interactive platforms, and educational apps offering our pupils the flexibility to access their learning at their own pace and convenience. This shift challenges the conventional notion that physical presence is essential for effective teaching, as virtual classrooms and remote learning become increasingly prevalent.

Further to this, Education Endowment Fund (EEF) research indicates that feedback has high effects on learning and where used effectively it can add around 6 months educational progress. Falkirk is well positioned to use this approach through regular high quality digital feedback that can be provided directly to pupils via their personal iPad.

The tracking and monitoring of the progress of our pupils (which schools use to plan interventions and provide additional support) is not changing – indeed we are introducing a new system ('Progress') across all of our primaries and secondaries which will provide you with regular, direct access to your child's progress.

It is complex when trying to directly compare the total number of learning hours in one authority to another. For example, in some authorities, young people within the Senior Phase receive 2 weeks of study leave for prelim exams - a loss of 55 hours of in-school learning. This does not happen in Falkirk, where young people remain in their classes and receive support from their teachers.

There is a relationship between overall levels of attendance and attainment. When a young person is absent from school, they miss out on the learning that has been planned for them - and this impact on their progress. Under this proposal, if a pupil has good attendance, they will be present for the planned learning and therefore there will be no impact on their progress. Late coming and appointments out of school have an impact on progress, we would therefore encourage good time keeping and the planning of appointments out with the learning week where possible.

The following document (particularly sections 3.1 – 3.5) indicate the research in relation to the reduction of school hours and the impact on attainment: Prescribing the minimum annual number of learning hours: consultation (

Attainment in Primary would not be impacted, given that young people will still have 22.5 hours with their Core teacher who are responsible for progress and attainment, including literacy and numeracy – so the time focusing on this is not reducing. It is the additional 2.5 hours, in PE, Music and other activities that are changing (and which do not contribute directly to overall levels of attainment in areas covered by the Core teacher).

In Secondary, the same curriculum is being delivered, with the same level of support and access to feedback from their class teacher via Connected Falkirk.

How can the Council afford to continue to provide 1:1 devices via Connected Falkirk if they have a budget gap?

Funding for continued investment in Connected Falkirk is part of an on-going, sustained capital investment in the future of Falkirk's children and young people and is separate to the Council's revenue budget which is associated with this change to the pupil week. Connected Falkirk is an essential and integral part of learning and teaching in classrooms across the Council and we need our pupils to have the highest levels of digital literacy.

What impact will there be on the support schools are currently providing pupils?

It is widely reported that the COVID pandemic, and the further impact of the cost-of-living crisis, has affected families in many different ways. However, within this challenging context Falkirk schools continue to provide high levels of support to pupils, parents and families.

The proposed model will ensure that the existing non-statutory support provision and staffing (such as nurture bases, targeted support and interventions) in schools can be maintained and protected.

What will happen to education buildings on a Friday afternoon when pupils finish at lunchtime?

School buildings will be closed for education to pupils on a Friday afternoon. This will contribute to further savings and may also allow flexible use of the buildings to raise revenue.

With a clear shift in working patterns post pandemic, flexible working patterns have been clearly reported and an increasing number of employers are now adopting this as the norm.

These arrangements are already in place in several other local authorities who have adopted an asymmetric week.

Teacher professional obligations do not change, the same level of professional autonomy will ensure teachers complete their professional obligations over their contracted week.

Will you provide childcare on a Friday afternoon?

We appreciate the importance of childcare for some families. The engagement process will include discussions with childcare providers and other partners. The detail of these discussions will be included in the report to Elected Members following the summer recess.

Will teacher contracts be adjusted because pupils will not be in school on Friday afternoons?

No. Teacher contracts across Scotland are the same whereby they are contracted to teach up to a maximum of 1,350 minutes per week – this is not changing. The remainder of a teacher's time is allocated to other activities (such as planning, preparation, marking and reporting). All of the other duties that teachers carry out will take place within their contractual obligations but out with the pupil day.

Will school transport be affected?

The timing of school transport will be adjusted to take account of the new timings for each school.

What considerations are being made for a pupil's wellbeing?

Pupil wellbeing has been a central consideration to this change with significant recognition on the increased need to support mental health and wellbeing. The reintroduction of form class in secondaries will provide an additional opportunity for teachers to provide first level guidance, develop supportive positive relationships and more regular check-ins on an individual's wellbeing.

For those in other local authorities who have made this move, the consensus is that the slightly shorter day on a Friday makes a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing for children, young people and staff.

What about pupils requiring additional support?

Falkirk Council has always actively promoted inclusive educational approaches, aiming to ensure that every child, regardless of their abilities or disabilities, can access and participate in education. The new model will allow the existing levels of additional support for pupils to continue within the structure of the proposed asymmetric week.

Across the country, and within Falkirk Council, additional support needs are rising. Changes in societal demographics, including an increased awareness of neurodiversity and a more inclusive approach to education, have contributed to a rise in the identification of additional support needs (ASN) among our pupils.

In 2018-2019, 26.3% of Falkirk's young people in school settings had an identified ASN. This has increased to 32% in 2023-2024.

Indeed, there will be an opportunity to reprofile the allocation of support hours that schools have within the 4.5 days, instead of 5 days, meaning that a more concentrated level of support will be available.

Will there be a catering service on a Friday lunchtime?

Yes. All pupils, including those who receive a Free Meal Entitlement, will be able to order their lunch as they normally do (or pre-order it for grab 'n' go) with access to school dining facilities. Each school will make separate arrangements to facilitate this. These arrangements will include providing supports for children with ASN.

The provision of free school meals to eligible primary pupils is funded by the Scottish Government and is unaffected by these proposals.

Will these changes have any impact on extra-curricular activities?

No, we expect the same range of opportunities to be available for pupils.

Will the change to the pupil day impact pupil breakfast provision?

No, current arrangements for breakfast provision will remain.

Has an EPIA (Equality and Poverty Impact Assessment) been completed by the Council for this change?

An initial EPIA was published in February 2024. The feedback from the engagement process will be used to inform an updated EPIA which will be published alongside the report to Elected Members following the summer recess.

How does this impact on my child's rights?

All children in Scotland have a right to be provided with a school education from age 5 until they turn 16. School education must aim to develop your child's personality, talents, and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential – this will continue to be our focus.

Is this information available in other languages and alternative formats?

Yes, 3 video presentations all have subtitles/closed captions and are available in a variety of different languages, chosen by the user.

How many children are in the Falkirk Council area?

There are approximately 23,900 children in Falkirk Council schools and establishments: 2,600 in Nursery, 11,600 in Primary and 9,700 in Secondary.

How will children and young people be engaged in these proposals?

All young people from Primary 5 – Secondary 6 will have the opportunity to provide their views and opinions on these proposals, and some pupils will form part of smaller focus groups. We will ensure that the engagement resources and processes align with rights, equalities and wellbeing impact. We will also ensure that we take account of the views of parents and carers about their child's involvement in the engagement process, so it will be possible to opt-out of the engagement.

Why are we engaging with children and young people on these proposals?

It is normal practice to involve children and young people and to seek their views on a wide range of matters, ensuring that their rights are fully respected. This will also form part of the EPIA and Children’s Rights Impact Assessment (CRIA). For the current engagement, we are seeking their views and opinions on what they think the impact would be on their learning. This will be presented to Elected Members so that they can make an informed decision based on all of the feedback received from all different groups.

Who designed the questions for engagement with pupils?

They were created by Primary and Secondary Head Teachers alongside central officers within Children’s Services. They were reviewed, and amended, by the Council’s Equalities and Human Rights Officer and the Children’s Rights/UNCRC Officer within Children’s Services.

What are the reasons for requiring parents to opt out their children from the engagement sessions as opposed to opting in?

Children’s Services are seeking the views of as many people as possible, and young people are central to this proposal. As with any major change in school, we would always ask young people for their views and opinions, respecting their rights in doing so. The option to ‘opt-out’ is standard within the school system and was made explicit through feedback received from parents.

Staff only

Please note that the following FAQ's are based on the proposal being accepted.

  1. Table of contents

I am a teacher in Falkirk Council and have children in a Falkirk school, how will the change affect me?

You will be able to complete your contractual obligations as you do at the moment – at a time and place of your choosing, in line with your school's negotiated working time arrangements and published school calendar.

How will this change impact on workforce planning in Falkirk?

The greatest asset in Falkirk's schools is our workforce – they are talented and committed.

The Council will maintain its commitment and requirement to teachers participating on the induction scheme and will continue to provide high levels of support through quality professional learning available to all staff.

Any change to the overall numbers of teachers required will be met by natural turnover or vacancy management so there will be no redundancies as a result of this change.

How will the reduction in learning hours impact current teaching staff on temporary contracts, and what will the impact be on future employment opportunities in Falkirk Council?

Overall, a smaller number of teachers will be required in the system (this is where the saving comes from). However, normal workforce planning requirements will apply and there will still be a balance of permanent/temporary contracts. We anticipate that the reduction required will be achieved through normal workforce turnover.

How might the proposed change to the pupil week, in alignment with LNCT and SBNC negotiations, facilitate and enhance school and inter-authority teacher collaboration on Friday afternoons?

The change to the pupil week has the potential to engage teachers in professional development and meaningful collaboration, allowing for flexibility and tailoring to specific needs at the discretion of individual schools.

How is non-class contact time calculated for teachers if the pupil week is reduced?

All teachers (primary and secondary) are contractually obliged to teach up to a maximum of 22.5 hours or 1,350 minutes per week.

With the proposed change in the pupil week in secondaries (to 1,485 minutes), the additional 135 minutes will be allocated as non-class contact time throughout the pupil day. This translates to three sessions of 45 minutes each, providing teachers with dedicated periods for professional development, collaboration, and other essential non-teaching activities. The additional non-class contact time will be included within working time arrangements but out with the pupil day.

Primary teachers non-class contact time will be provided out with the pupil day.

I am a Support for Learning Assistant (SfLA) on a contract that is greater than the number of hours that pupils are in school for. What happens?

Overall SfLA budgets are not being reduced as a result of this change. The role SfLAs play within our school communities is profound and your skills and expertise will be utilised effectively to make best use of your support.

Has the change to the pupil week been agreed with professional associations, teacher and support unions?

These proposals have been presented and discussed and all are aware of the engagement plans and timeline. Please consult them directly if you have any further questions.

I don't work on a Friday, what will this mean for me?

Contracts would be adjusted on an annual basis to take account of the actual days that are worked.

As a secondary teacher, I am aware of the commitment The Scottish Government has made to provide an additional 90 minutes of time for planning and preparation. How does the new 33-period model accommodate this?

The new model accommodates this and it could be efficiently provided within the pupil day, subject to particular details when this is confirmed and allocated to local authorities.

As a primary teacher, I am aware of the commitment The Scottish Government has made to provide an additional 90 minutes of time for planning and preparation. Does this mean I would spend time away from my class?

There has been no further development or discussion from the Scottish Government about the additional 90 minutes at this time. When this change takes place, non-class contact time would need to be reinstated during class time to mitigate against a further reduction of the pupil day.

I work in a school office, or provide technical support, does the change in the pupil week affect my contract?

No – not for your overall contracted hours. However, local arrangements around the start and end of the school day may mean that changes can be negotiated locally, taking account of the exigencies of the service required.

I am an Early Years Officer in Falkirk Council. How will this change affect me?

At the moment, all nursery provision is unaffected by these proposals.

Do secondary schools still have a sufficient allocation to complete National Qualifications?

Allocations are notional and should take account of different curriculum structures within individual schools, as they currently do across the country.

Course guidelines for National 5 and Higher state that 'the notional length of time for a candidate to complete the course is 160 hours'. With a curriculum that is planned and progressive across all curriculum areas through the BGE, young people will have the opportunity to build their learning to fourth level and beyond by the end of S3.

An analysis of the Experiences & Outcomes and content of National 5 courses shows cross over, suggesting that a young person starting a National 5 course will already have developed an understanding of some of the themes, content and skills required to be successful. Put simply, a young person who has progressed through the BGE has prior learning that is directly linked to the requirements of National 5 and he/she will not be starting the course from scratch. The same principle applies to Higher as learning builds from the National 5 course.

In an extract from the National Qualifications Results statement from SQA (2017), they stated: "the qualifications have been developed to ensure good progression from the Broad General Education (BGE) phase of Curriculum for Excellence. The National 5 qualification, for example, builds from curriculum level 4 within BGE and requires a notional 160 hours for learning, teaching and assessment from that level."

We are confident that schools have developed their curriculum structures to suit their local context and have done so to suit the needs of the young people within that school. The time allocation across the week must also be balanced with the breadth of education that a young person receives ie what is better – a young person who achieves 5 N5 Grade A passes or someone who achieves 7 N5 Grade B passes? It is a complex issue that cannot be viewed in complete isolation and without seeing the bigger picture.

Within Falkirk Council, an additional 55 hours of direct teacher contact towards National Qualifications is provided that other local authorities do not provide. Pupils within Falkirk Council schools are not given extended study leave for prelims and therefore receive this additional 55 hours/year direct teacher contact.

What is the impact on INSET days and school calendars?

INSET days will continue to be agreed via LNCT negotiations. School calendars will continue to be agreed via SBNC negotiations.

I'm a secondary teacher and feel that I will now be teaching more?

This is not the case; no individual teacher will teach more than 1,350 minutes (in this new model 29 learning episodes and 1 form class).

Pupils only

Please note that the following FAQ's are based on the proposal being accepted.

  1. Table of contents

What will the school week look like for me?

There are a couple of examples below, one for primary and one for secondary. The exact timings and configuration will vary from school to school, but this should provide you with an idea of what it could look like. Your Head Teacher will provide the exact timings for your school.

Lunch service will be provided as normal.

Primary schools
Details Monday – Thursday Friday
Start 09:07 09:07
Classes 09:07 - 11:05 09:07 - 11:05
Interval 11:05 - 11:20 11:05 - 11:20
Classes 11:20 - 12:20 11:20 - 12:20
Lunch 12:20 - 13:05 12:20 (end of day)
Classes 13:05 - 15:00
End of day 15:00 12:20
Secondary schools
Details Monday - Thursday Friday
Warning bell 08:46 08:46
Form class 08:51 - 09:00 08:51 - 09:00
Period 1 09:00 - 09:45 09:00 - 09:45
Period 2 09:45 - 10:30 09:45 - 10:30
Interval 10:30 - 10:45 10:30 - 10:45
Period 3 10:45 - 11:30 10:45 - 11;30
Period 4 11:30 - 12:15 11:30 - 12:15
Period 5 12:15 - 13:00
Lunch 13:00 - 13:40 12:15 (end of day)
Warning bell 13:35
Period 6 13:40 - 14:25
Period 7 14:25 - 15:10
End of day 15:10 12:15

What changes will I see in my class or in my curriculum?

Very little. The curriculum structure will continue to be the same as it currently is in both primary and secondary. In primary, you will continue to experience all of the curriculum areas and time with your class teacher. In secondary you will still enjoy the same curriculum structure and choice of subjects. You will also benefit from being in a daily form class. The form teacher will take care of your attendance and be someone that you are able to 'check-in' with each day.

What will I do on a Friday afternoon if I am no longer required to be in timetabled classes?

This will be your time because you will have completed the required number of hours for the week that you have to be in school for by Friday lunch. It doesn't mean that learning stops when you leave school at this point – you can complete your homework or revise your learning using your Connected Falkirk iPad, but it will be your choice!

Will clubs and activities still be available?

Of course, this is an important part of your school experience – remember the skills you develop through these! Some may run on a Friday afternoon (some may not!) but you will still be able to take part in them, whenever they may happen to be.

Equalities monitoring

Equalities Data is information that helps us understand the diversity within our community. It's more than just numbers - it's about real people, their experiences, and their needs. When we collect this data, we can make better decisions that reflect everyone in our area.

We (Falkirk Council) are responsible for providing services and making decisions that impact everyone. But without understanding who "everyone" is, we risk leaving people out. That's where Equalities Data comes in.

Equalities Data helps us promote fairness and inclusion in everything we do. It helps us identify and address discrimination, ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity to thrive in our community.

We follow strict data privacy laws to ensure your information is protected. Your personal information is separate from the equalities data, which means this is anonymous and is only used for the purpose of improve our servicing and create a fairer community. Your involvement helps us make informed decisions, and your voice helps shape our future.

Our Privacy notice: Community Engagement has further information on how we use this information.

Why are we asking these questions:


The purpose of asking this question is to monitor any potential discrimination based on people's age. It is crucial information for monitoring equal opportunities and promoting diversity within organisations and communities.

By tracking age demographics, we can assess whether Falkirk Council is being representative of the broader population and take steps to promote diversity and inclusion.

Understanding the age demographic will help us to identify the different needs of age groups and understand their challenges and priorities. This information supports policy development, related to education.


A carer is "a person of any age who provides unpaid help and support to a relative, friend of neighbour who cannot manage to live independently without the carer’s help due to frailty, illness, disability or addiction." (Scottish Government, 2016).

Young Adult Carers (YAC) are young people aged 16-25 who care, unpaid, for a family member or friend with an illness or disability, mental health condition, or an addiction. Young Carers (YC) are under the age of 18, or may be over 18, but still in education. Parent Carers provide support to their children, including grown up children who could not manage without their help. Their child may have a physical or learning disability.

Carers face unique challenges, such as balancing caregiving responsibilities with work or education, financial strain, and social isolation. By collecting data on caring responsibilities, our services can identify disparities and develop better informed support services to address the needs of carers.


This refers to anyone who has been or is currently in care or from a looked-after background at any stage in their life, no matter how short, including adopted children who were previously looked-after. This care may have been provided in one of many different settings such as in residential care, foster care, both formal and informal kinship care, or through being looked-after at home with social work support.

Care-experienced individuals often face unique challenges and experiences that may differ from those who have not been in care. Asking this question supports Falkirk Council’s responsibility to upholding The Promise.

Care-experienced individuals may encounter specific barriers or inequalities in education, employment, healthcare, and other areas. By collecting data on care experience, we can develop targeted policies and services to address these barriers.


Understanding the prevalence and specific needs of people with disabilities supports Falkirk Council to develop and deliver person-centred services and policies that meet people’s needs and outcomes and address any disparities that may exist.

By collecting this information, we can monitor the effectiveness of our services to ensure they are inclusive and accessible to people with disabilities.


By analysing data on ethnicity, Falkirk Council can identify areas where certain groups may be underrepresented or facing barriers when accessing services.

Asking people about their ethnicity can inform targeted interventions or initiatives aimed at addressing specific needs or challenges experienced by different ethnic communities. For example, developing tailored interventions to overcome language and cultural barriers for marginalised communities.

Marital or civil partnership status

Data on marital status helps Falkirk Council identify and address potential discrimination or biases based on marital status in their policies, practices, or decision-making processes. For example, if there is a significant disparity in the access to services between married and single people, it may highlight the needs of of single parent families which differ from those with a 2-parent household.

Religion or belief

Monitoring religious affiliation or belief can help identify patterns of discrimination or harassment based on religion or belief in society. If certain religious groups are disproportionately affected by negative experiences or barriers to services, Falkirk Council can take targeted actions to address these issues.

Understanding the demographic of religious beliefs and practices can inform services to provide appropriate accommodations and support. For example, being more aware of religious holidays and access to prayer facilities.

Income-related benefits

Collecting information if an individual is in receipt of income-related benefits will help us assess any socio-economic impact on people. This represents the 'P’ in EPIA.

Falkirk Council are subject to the Fairer Scotland Duty, which means we must actively reduce inequality of outcomes caused by socio-economic disadvantage.

Understanding who experiences socio-economic disadvantage will help us take mitigating where decisions may impact on people who live in poverty. For example, if there is a proposal to change a key service, we would be able to identify how many people this will impact on and any mitigating actions we could take.