CUSP urges Govt to explore scrapping half days at school
The Civil Union of Students and Parents has asked the Gibraltar Government to consider scrapping half days in Gibraltar’s schools in the lead-up to summer.
CUSP made the pleas after conducting two surveys of its members which, while based on small samples, indicated support for the government to look at the issue in detail.
In one survey conducted in February, 173 members of CUSP – 14% of the membership, according to the group – were polled and 83% voted to “get rid of” half days, with 17% to keep them in place.
A second poll in June garnered votes from 76 people, with 88% voting to remove half days and 12% voting to keep them.
“Based on the results of these two polls, we would like the government to investigate removing half days in our schools,” CUSP said in a statement.
“Our members comment that considerations for such a decision should include how hot schools get on summer afternoons, the impact of half days on education and how half days affect working parents and childcare arrangements.”
“We also recommend that the government considers and publishes attendance data for schools, for pupils and staff, split between full days and half days.”
“There is anecdotal evidence that attendance drops once half days start, and it would be useful to see the actual data.”
“From this, the government will be able to assess the actual number days of education that our children are receiving.”
“This is especially important as half days are counted as full days in the count of ‘days at school’.”
The government noted the statement from CUSP on school summer hours and said it looked forward to continued engagement with the group.
“The Minister for Education Professor John Cortes already had a pre-arranged meeting with them this week and looks forward to hearing their views directly on this and other matters,” No.6 Convent Place said in a statement.
“The Department of Education welcomes feedback from stakeholders, and so is grateful to CUSP for their continued engagement which has always been very positive and constructive.”