Expert predicts schools hours will be cut to three days a week in the future.

An education expert has warned the school week could be cut to three days in the future.

In 20 or 30 years “school won’t be an everyday affair” says Deakin University associate professor of digital learning, Tom Apperley.

“As state-funded schools continue to grow, they might only offer a student three or four days a week. Or they might just go to offering half-days and shifts for students,” he told The Herald Sun  journalist Monique Hore.

“Digital infrastructure will take the pressure off our physical infrastructure,” he added.

But some parents say it would be a nightmare to manage.

Sydney mother, Kate Strang, says it’s “throwing out the baby with the bathwater”.

“Not everything has to be reinvented. It might work for older students  – upper secondary and tertiary – who are better able to work in self-directed conditions, but I don’t believe it is appropriate for primary,” she told Mamamia.

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Strang has a son about to start kindergarten and another son in Year 2, she runs a playgroup and is President of St Peters Public School P&C.

The mum of two says digital learning at home would put pressure on parents to direct the online component of their learning and it would be a disadvantage for some.

“Not everyone can do this. Not everyone is online or even has computers or devices in the home,” she said.

“Not everyone has access to broadband.  We have kids at our school who can barely afford shoes, let alone technology. Then there are kids in the bush, where I’m from, who have very slow internet – if any,” she said.

School's out. Image via Getty.

Mother of four, Shelley Hill, and President of the Australian Parents Council says a shorter school week wouldn't suit working parents.

"For many people who are working it would be a very difficult work-life balance to manage," she said.

Despite seeing challenges to implementing online learning in a primary school setting, Hill says digital learning does have benefits.

"The advantages, and I've seen them with my boys, of online learning can be wide and deep and it can be anytime anywhere learning that is a fantastic advantage - but it still need to have oversight and that could be difficult if left to parents."

The Australian Parents Council president says if the future of schools mimicked the working week it might work for families.

That means working hours would have to shift in the future too.

"Children would still need to be supervised during the day - particularly in the early years," said Hill.

"As a stay at home mother - while my boys were in primary school - I could have done it, but I don't know if I'd have the capacity to steer their learning as well as the school did so I think it would be very very difficult."

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