SCHOOLS could be required to provide about 1000 hours of teaching time each year as a legal minimum, under plans being considered by the Scottish Government.

Ministers have opened a consultation on a legal minimum number of school learning hours.

For primary schools, this would be 950 hours per academic year, the equivalent of 25 hours a week.

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For secondaries, this would be 1045 hours per year, the equivalent of 27.5 hours a week.

Currently, schools are legally required to be open for 190 days each year, but there is no legal prescription for teaching hours.

The consultation document said councils may be able to deliver fewer than the prescribed number of hours due to circumstances outwith their control.

The National: Somerville launched the consultation this weekSomerville launched the consultation this week

Industrial action, bad weather and damage to the school building are examples of these “unforeseen circumstances”.

Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said the proposals would give parents greater certainty around the school week.

She said: “The school week is the backbone of our education provision and benefits all of Scotland’s children and young people.

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“We have been clear that any changes to the school week must be based on educational benefit to pupils.

“Any measures that materially reduce the number of hours children spend learning in school could impact pupil attainment and wellbeing, and undermine our collective efforts to close the poverty-related attainment gap.

“This is an opportunity for parents, children and young people and everyone else with an interest to make their views known about the potential impact of this policy.”