Reform of the school week in Angus secondaries would see a reduction of non-teaching form time to place more emphasis on numeracy and literacy.
The authority is embarking on a major consultation aimed at switching from a 35-period week to 33 periods from August 2017 just five years after a move to the current set-up in a teacher efficiency drive.
Children and learning committee councillors narrowly voted to press ahead with the in-principle proposal in the face of calls for more consultation and detailed examination of how the set-up will work.
Dundee is also planning a move to a 33-period week, and Angus education officials have said the plan is “not a step in the dark, but a move to a well-tested structure.”
But already there has been criticism that the proposed changes could lead to childcare problems for some parents and leave youngsters with “no appetite for learning” if children from more rural areas have to go for up to six hours between breakfast and lunch.
An initial online staff survey revealed strong support among just over 200 teachers for the change, and strategic director Margo Williamson told councillors that young people had also made their early thoughts clear.
“The young people said that form time was not good enough for them; they wanted more learning time,” she said.
“We need to have something to consult on, which would be the 33-period week.
“A huge amount of time needs to go into planning and understanding what this model would bring.
“Do not lose sight of what the young people have said, because it was in the last report which is the gateway to why we are here.”
Among possible outcomes could be a reduced lunch break of 50 minutes.
A school week of four longer days and one half day is also a possibility, although officials have already admitted that could be more disruptive to families.
Children and learning convener Sheena Welsh said: “This is the first stage in the process it’s not a done and dusted deal. There is still a lot of work to be done to come up with a final costed model.”
Councillor Glennis Middleton added: “I think there are issues, but we need a starting place. The officers have done a humongous amount of work and there is still a humongous amount of work to be done.”
Kirriemuir councillor Ronnie Proctor said: “More work needs to be done on this. The point that one size does not fit all is very evident in Angus.”