Primary school classroom (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Douglas P Perkins) - Credit: Primary school classroom (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Douglas P Perkins)
Wednesday, 10 June 2015 - 11:02
Primary schooldays shrinking as kids spend fewer hours in class
Primary schools are increasingly choosing a timetable in which children spend less time at school. Almost half of the schools have stopped using the traditional timetable in the past few years. This is according to a study done by DUO Onderwijsonderzoek, or DUO Education Research in English, RTL reports. In 2012 only 23 percent of schools had stopped using a traditional timetable - from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. In the coming school year this number will be 44 percent. There are currently 6 models of primary education in the Netherlands. With the traditional school model school starts around 8:30 a.m. and ends between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. Students eat lunch at home or at aftercare at the school and have Wednesday afternoon free. The Hoorns model keeps the same school hours as the traditional model, but kids also have Friday afternoon free. The Continuous Timetable has four days of lessons with a short lunch break at school, Wednesday afternoon free and school often ends around 2:45 p.m. The Five-equal-day model has five days of identical school hours, no free afternoons, a short lunch break at school and the school day ends around 2:00 or 2:30 p.m. With the Biorhythm model kids learn according to their biorhythm - from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and then again from 2:30 p.m. to 16:30 p.m. They have a long lunch break between 12:00 and 2:30, which they spend at school. This lunch break includes lunch, entertainment, culture and sports. The last model is called the 7-to-7 model or the integrated child center. This program has contiguous blocks of programs which alternates between education, aftercare, sports and leisure. This program has no fixed break times, no permanent free afternoons and the school is open from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. all year round. The DUO study shows that 23 percent of primary schools will be using a continuous timetable in the new school year. Kids will stay at school for lunch, which has been shortened so that the kids can go home earlier. In 2012 only 6 percent of primary schools used a continuous timetable. The study also shows that teachers do not find the continuous timetable and the Five-equal-day model the best models for students. Students would benefit most from the so-called biorhythm model, but teachers themselves find this model the least favorable. Schools are adjusting the timetables more and more to the wishes of the parents, who now now longer have to pick their child up from school for lunch and then bring him back in many schools.