A WEST Fife school is to become the first in the Kingdom to cut the school week by half a day.

St Columba’s High School in Dunfermline have confirmed plans to restructure the timetable from August, with Friday becoming a half day.

The move is a bid to improve attainment levels at the school and to “unlock” further opportunities for its pupils.

The Press reported in 2013 that Fife Council were considering the option, it’s already been done in Edinburgh, across its schools as a cost-cutting measure.

The local authority believed they could have made £6 million in savings by making changes in the school timetable.

However, Kevin O’Connor, headteacher at St Columba’s, told the Press that his decision was not money-motivated and was instead decided with the best interests of his pupils in mind.

He said: “It’s motivated by unlocking different opportunities for our pupils that will help them achieve.

“It’s about developing and delivering a more effective curriculum that will play a key role in improving attainment and achievement in the school, using the existing resources we have available.

“We’ll be delivering the same amount of minutes and hours but in a different structure.”

The high school currently has a roll of around 850 pupils and runs on a 30-period week.

After consultations with parents and families – which began in October – the new timetable will see 10 minutes allotted to registration, with 32, 50-minute periods.

There will be seven periods per day from Monday to Thursday, and four on a Friday. Mr O’Connor continued: “I wanted to find a more effective system and how we could change to help us all achieve our goals and build for the future.

“The feedback we had from parents during the consultation was very positive.”

David Farmer, Fife EIS publicity officer, said the union will be keeping a “close eye” on developments.

“We’re conscious to the fact that other schools in the past have considered the proposed moves but for one reason or another, when it came to the final analysis, they didn’t go ahead with it.

“It seems like St Columba’s are intent on following this through, and we do have a number of questions over the model.

“We’ll be talking to our reps at the school to keep a close eye on things.

“We’re not sure how it will affect curriculum delivery.

“Will it send out a message to other headteachers to encourage making changes too? Possibly.”

He added that there are also uncertainties whether parents of P7 youngsters at associated schools were spoken to during the consultation period.

“It’s unclear,” he said.

“We aren’t certain that parents sending their children to St Columba’s were spoken to.

“In some cases, parents from outwith the catchment area are sending them there by choice, and that might have had an impact on them if they had known.”