A decades-old tradition of Fife school children enjoying a half day at the end of term is to be ended, it has emerged.
Pupils across the region have traditionally left school at lunchtime before both the festive and summer breaks, but The Courier has learned the practice will end for the 2019/20 school session.
The move, which should save money in terms of transporting children home early, should not affect staff who are contracted to work all day.
The decision might also stymie some of the more raucous ‘muck-up’ day celebrations held by senior pupils on the final day of term.
Shelagh McLean, head of Fife’s education and children’s service, commented: “Historically, Fife pupils have left school at lunchtime on the last day of the Christmas and summer terms.
“Teachers are contracted to work the full day.
“However, last Christmas a change to school transport legislation resulted in costly and complex arrangements having to be made to transport pupils, across Fife, home at lunchtime.
“Therefore we’ve taken the decision that, as of school session 2019/20, on the last day of each term the pupil day will end at each school’s normal time and we would encourage all pupils to attend.”
It is understood all staff have been notified in the past week, and David Farmer, from the Fife EIS union, said the decision will probably make little difference to members.
“There’s no overall change to the number of days – so we haven’t gained or lost any through this,” he explained.
“Some people have talked about staff Christmas lunches being held in the afternoon but I think a lot of staff social things don’t really happen to the same extent any more.
“There will still be some schools who have got this tradition of gathering when they finish up but I would strongly suspect that’s a minority of schools in Fife now, whereas in the past it was probably the majority.”
Mr Farmer added the decision may cause some people to breathe a sigh or relief when schools break up for summer.
“There has always been in secondary schools some concerns about ‘muck-up’ days, or whatever you want to call them, so that’s much less likely to happen if schools are finishing in the afternoon.”