Angry parents at a north school claim they are being forced to find hundreds of pounds a month for childcare because education bosses have decided to condense the school week.
Parents of Aviemore Primary School and nursery pupils have expressed their concerns over a decision to reduce the school week from a normal five day week to four and a half days from August.
The decision by the Highland Council will leave many with the added pressure of finding adequate childcare to cover the half day on Fridays, a move which could bring financial stress to families in the area.
Richard Graham, who has two children affected, said: “I appreciate they are not altering school hours, and we have been told they are doing it to improve janitorial services and teacher training, but I feel there wasn’t a proper consultation where a get together in the school could have taken place to host an open forum.
“At the moment it seems it is a cost saving exercise, whether that is at the expense of children’s education or the end user, which would be myself.
“I am now looking at having to find an extra £200 a month to contribute to extra childcare.”
Abernethy and Deshar Primary Schools will also switch to the four and a half day week time for the beginning of the 2018-19 school calendar.
Councillor Muriel Cockburn said: “I have great sympathy for parents affected by childcare and I fully understand that. However, Aviemore is one of only a few schools across Badenoch and Strathspey operating on those hours on a Friday and the overwhelming majority of those surveyed in the questionnaire sent to parents agreed to the change.”
46% of 260-pupil Aviemore Primary parents voted in favour of the change, with 35% opposing and 19% failing to return a verdict.
A Highland Council spokeswoman said: “From August 2017, only Highland Secondary Schools were required to move to a 4.5 day week – this decision was taken by Councillors in 2014.
“Primaries are only considering a 4.5 day week where there are critical reasons such as integrated school transport arrangements with Secondary Schools, or because the local school community has elected to do this.”
Grantown Primary School will remain as the only Primary in the Badenoch and Strathspey region not to change to a four and a half day week due to transport logistics.