The state government will next year trial staggered start and finish times in primary schools across the state, in a move to boost productivity and flexibility for families.
Riverina parents and teachers can see some benefits to the proposed changes, but for the most part say they are happy with the 9am to 3pm school day as it is.
The school hours project is set to be a key productivity measure in Tuesday's budget, with principals encouraged to work with parents and students to rethink how classroom learning operates.
The trial will be optional for schools, and is set to include a range of measures such as earlier starts or later finishes, extended hours of the day, or split student attendance - such as one group attending from 7am to 1pm.
Griffith-based casual teacher Greg Adamson said that as a country teacher travelling long distances for work, earlier start times would lead to increased fatigue and hazards on the road.
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"Clearly whoever came up with this scheme must think teaching is a 9-3 job. It isn't, it is anything but that," he said.
"Teachers are already significantly overworked.
"There is not a teacher left who isn't working late evenings and weekends to keep up with the demands of the job."
Local mother Saba Nabi said that she can see the benefits of staggered learning times for parents who do shift work, but for most families, the current school hours are favourable.
"I'm still happy with the 9am to 3pm, because it's very hard for young kids to wake up in the early morning," she said.
"I think parents will struggle.
"If the school started at 7am, and if I start my work at 9am, it will be really troublesome."
Dr Nabi has an 11-year-old daughter and said that she already struggles getting out of bed in the morning for extra classes at 8am.
She also said that the government should focus on resources for public education in terms of infrastructure, more teachers and more counsellors, rather than changing the school times.
"It would be very difficult with most of the schools because of their schedules."
Tania McKinlay from the NSW Teachers Federation Wagga branch said that the discussion around staggered learning times is a detraction from the "real issue" of teacher shortages.
"School communities already can change bell times if it's agreed upon and it's in the best educational interest of the school," she said.
"The real issue needs to be about attracting and retaining adequate numbers of qualified teachers."
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