School defends move to four-day week

x x x x x x
The school will implement the new policy next year. Picture: Supplied, Chevalier College

A Catholic school in NSW’s Southern Highlands has defended its decision to allow some students to adopt a four-day school week.

Chevalier College, located in Bowral, will next year permit certain students in years 10 to 12 to “learn from home” on Mondays as part of a “number of measures” being introduced by the school.

The school’s principal Greg Miller said it was not “actually” a four-day week.

“We will be setting clear parameters about the expectations of students on that day to consolidate learning from the previous week and to prepare for learning for the week coming up,” he told Today’s Sarah Abo on Thursday.

x x x x x
The school, located in the affluent town of Bowral, will implement the new policy next year. Picture: Supplied, Chevalier College

“It is just a reimagining and a repackaging of time in a smarter and better way so we can have continuity of learning with far less disruptions to face-to-face teaching.”

This comes after the Queensland government announced new flexible study options for all public and primary schools, also taking effect next year.

Under the new blueprint, Queensland students would be able to study from home one day per week or compress school hours over fewer school days.

Mr Miller said there would be an “extensive” process Chevalier College students would have to undertake to qualify for a learn-from-home day.

x x x x x
Principal Greg Miller told Today that parents had ‘overwhelmingly’ supported the changes. Picture: Today

The principal also dismissed reports that parents had begun “revolting” following the announcement.

“(Students) will require the sign off from their parent and they will only do this with their parents’ permission and support,” he said.

“We have a couple of parents who have voiced concern.

“There is nervousness around moving forward because it is a significant change, but we don’t have, contrary to other reports, parents revolting.”

A letter, obtained by The Age, was circulated to parents on November 2 informing them of the decision.

It states that students participating in the learning-from-home days must complete several programs and workshops and must have demonstrated a “strong commitment” to learning and a “commendable level of behaviour”.

x x x x x x
Participating students and their parents must meet several requirements, according to a letter circulated by the school earlier this month. Picture: Google Maps

Parents will also be required to attend a seminar and sign a permission form.

Mr Miller said several parents had requested further information about the changes but ultimately the decision was “overwhelmingly” supported.

While some students might study from home on particular Mondays, teachers will still be required to work from campus as before.

Mr Miller also quashed suggestions that the move was due to a lack of staff.

“We are not experiencing that shortage here,” he said.

“We attract good quality staff and have done that again for 2023, so that is not the reason or the purpose for this.

“It will allow some teachers on that Monday a little bit more time to co-plan with their colleagues as well as to access professional learning that is fit for purpose for them in their area of expertise.

“We are becoming a future-facing school.”