Aussie state to begin research pilot for extended school hours

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SYDNEY, May 11 (Xinhua) -- The government of the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) is set to begin trials of alternative school hours, in a bid to "modernise" the school system.

Eight schools across the state have signed on to the research pilot, which will seek to take the pressure off parents who are working from 9am to 5pm.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said on Wednesday the proposed program would provide families in the state greater flexibility.

"We know it can be a challenge for families juggling the competing demands of work and family life around standard school hours and this pilot is about exploring options to help with that," he said.

While the plans for altered hours are yet to be finalised, proposals include a day that begins at 7:00 a.m., allowing parents to drop their children off before work, to 1:00 p.m.

After regular classes, students would be able to participate in a range of activities, including homework club at the school library, dance classes, supervised sport, as well as community activities such as volunteer work in local organisations, meaning parents would be able to pick their children up after finishing their work day.

"This isn't necessarily about changing existing class times. What we are doing is finding ways to better support students and make it easier for working parents to manage their commitments," NSW Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell said.

The research pilot is scheduled to begin in the coming months and will last 20 weeks, or terms three and four of the school year. Enditem

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