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Last updated: 02.04.14

Asymmetric school week 'creates e-learning opportunities' for Scottish Borders

The creation of asymmetric school weeks in some areas of Scotland will allow schools to save significantly on costs, while also paving the way for e-learning tools to play a greater role in education.

Scottish Borders Council has agreed for a four-and-a-half day week to be introduced for all pupils across its 63 primary and nine secondary schools. 

From August 2014, the asymmetric week would see children spend more time in school on Monday to Thursday, but then just half a day on Friday. Overall, they would be in lessons for the same number of hours they are now. 

However it is believed that the move will lead to significant financial savings, as well as longer learning slots for primary schools and exciting opportunities for secondary school children to acquire vocational and college experience in the half-day away from school.

Glenn Rodger, director of education and lifelong learning for Scottish Borders, said: "The council must plan for an education service that best serves the needs of all children and young people at a time when financial resources are going to reduce significantly.

"An asymmetric week will give the council the platform it requires to plan and implement transformational change in our schools."

According to the BBC, councillors believe the asymmetric week will reduce staff costs, bring timetables into alignment and increase opportunities for e-learning, as well as shared teaching. The council itself has said that the move will encourage teachers across different schools to work together in "learning community clusters". 

Such collaboration will require schools to be able to deploy their teaching resources over a much larger geographical area than the boundaries of their current buildings and establishments - and a great way to do this in a cost-effective way is by deploying virtual learning resources wherever possible.

Thanks to the internet, digital lesson plans and course information can be provided to students in a uniform manner, regardless of their location. It will also be possible for teachers to interact with students - either directly or in the form of marking their workbooks and tests - without actually having to be in the same physical location as them.