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Table E.1.06. Organization of the school week and day as reported in International Review of Curriculum and Assessment Frameworks Internet Archive (INCA), by teaching time, level of responsibility and country: 2010

Country Teaching time Level of responsibility
Teaching time per week School day   School week   Teaching periods
M T W Th F Sa S
England Min 21 hours, age 5-7 9am-3:30pm     Varies School
Min 23.5 hours, age 7-11                  
Min 24 hours, age 11-14                  
Min 25 hours, age 14-16                  
Ireland1 Min 915 hours/year, age 6-12 9am-3/3:30pm     30 minutes School
Average 40 period week, age 12-15               35-45 minutes  
Northern Ireland Min 3 hours/day to age 8 9am-3:30pm     Varies School
Min 4.5 hours/day, age 8+                  
Scotland Average 25 hours/week primary 9am-3:30pm     Varies School
Average 27.5 hours/week secondary                  
Wales Min 21 hours, age 5-7 9am-3:30pm     Varies School
Min 23.5 hours, age 7-11                  
Min 25 hours, age 11-16                  
France2 26 hours/week, age 6 to 11   55 minutes/1 hour Local
26 to .30 hours/week, age 11 to 15                  
30 to 40 hours/week, age 15 to 18                  
Germany3 19 to 29 periods/week primary 7:30am-1:30pm   45 minutes School
28 to .30 periods/week, age 10 to 12                  
30 to .32 periods/week, age 12 to 16                  
Hungary4 Max 20 hours/week, age 6 to 9 8am-2pm     45 minutes State
Max 22.5 hours/week, age 9 to 12                  
Max 25 hours/week, age 12 to 14                  
Max 27.5 hours/week, age 14 to 16                  
Max 30 hours/week, age 16 +                  
Italy5 Min 27 hours/week primary Varies   1 hour School
Min 29 hours/week lower secondary                  
Min 29 hours/week upper secondary                  
Netherlands Min 3520 hours/year, ages 4-8 9am-3:30pm     50-60 minutes School
Min 3760 hours/year, ages 8-12                  
Spain6 Average 25 hours/week primary 9am-4:30/5pm     60 minutes School
Average 30 hours/week secondary                  
Sweden Max 6 hours/day up to age 9 Varies     Varies School
Max 8 hours/day aged 9+                  
Switzerland7 Varies Varies   Varies School
Australia Average 25 hours/week primary 9am -3pm     Varies School
Average 27.5 hours/week second level                  
Canada 950 hours/year (Alberta) 9am-3:30pm     School
Japan8 Min 17 to 20 hours/week     Local
Korea9 830 to 1156 hours/year 8am-4:00pm   40-45 minutes State
New Zealand Average 25 hours/week 9am-3/3:30pm       School
Singapore10 7:30am-1pm 1pm-6:30pm     30-40 minutes State
South Africa 22.5 hours/week, age 5-8 Varies     Varies School
25 hours/week, age 8-9                  
26.5hours/week, age 9-12                  
26 hours/week, age 12-13                  
27.5 hours/week, age 13-15                  
27.5 hours/week, age 15-18                  
USA Varies Varies     Varies School
— Not available.
1 Children in junior infants and senior infants classes in primary school (aged 4-6) normally have a shorter school day, ending between 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. Teaching periods last for 30 minutes at primary level and 35-45 minutes at secondary.
2 Schools are usually open six days a week (Monday-Saturday), but no classes are held on Wednesdays or on Saturday afternoons. Some schools have moved to a four day week, with teaching on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The missing hours are usually made up by shortening the school holidays. Since the beginning of the 2008/09 school year, the primary school week has been reduced by two hours (from 26 to 24 hours) and there is no more teaching on Saturdays.
3 A teaching period generally lasts 45 minutes. The half-day school (mornings only, five or six days a week) is the traditional form of teaching in Germany. Until recently, all-day schools (Ganztagsschulen) were the exception and most Lšnder did not plan any extensive expansion of this school form. However, in a bid to raise standards nationwide, government funding has been provided to set up more all-day schools.
4 The daily timetable must be based on the statutory average lesson time of 45 minutes. However schools may organize longer or shorter lessons. The school day generally runs between 8am and 2 pm but there may also be non-compulsory afternoon sessions. There are some all-day schools in which lessons finish around 4pm.
5 The school day varies dependent on whether the school has a five- or six-day week; schools with a six-day week are open from 8:30am to 1:30pm; those operating a five-day week have timetables running from 8:30am to 4:30pm. Teaching periods are an hour long for students at the lower secondary level, age 11-14. Individual schools may organize optional teaching activities and other optional activities which may raise the school week to 40 hours.
6 At primary level (6- to 12-year-olds), the sessions are usually three hours in the morning, two hours in the afternoon, with a two-hour break for lunch. In secondary education, days generally end earlier as there is a single session running throughout the morning and early afternoon, with two short breaks.
7 In some cantons, children have all day Saturday free, whilst in others they have lessons on Saturday mornings, but one afternoon in the week free, or lessons on Saturday mornings and one full day in the week free.
8 The school week has been reduced from six to five days.
9 The school week coincides with the six-day week in the business and government sectors; five full days Monday - Friday and Saturday morning. However, if the latter sectors adopt a five-working-day policy, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) may then consider reducing school days from six to five per week.
10 Most schools run double sessions, with different groups of students attending school either from 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. or from 1:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. from Monday to Friday. There are plans for all schools to become single session schools by 2016.
NOTE: This table looks in more detail at how the teaching week is organized. Teaching time is per week unless otherwise stated; some systems specify teaching time per year. Level of responsibility refers to the body responsible for organizing the school day within the statutory teaching time per week. For those countries with devolved structures (Australia, Canada, Germany, South Africa, Switzerland, and the USA) it is not always possible to provide ‘national’ data. Readers should therefore recognize that the data may refer to specific states or provinces, as examples, and cannot necessarily be taken to reflect a national position.
SOURCE: O'Donnell, S., Sargent, C., Byrne, A., and White, E. (2010). International Review of Curriculum and Assessment Frameworks Internet Archive Comparative Tables. Table 15.2. International Review of Curriculum and Assessment Frameworks Internet Archive.
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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education