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All day school plan takes shape

Although both political parties of Austria's coalition agree that all-day school should be introduced in Austria, they disagree on the exact terms of its implementation.

The typical Austrian school day runs from 8am until 1pm, however the new plans will see the school day lengthened.

The Austrian People's Party (ÖVP) want parents to be able to decide whether their children should attend the all-day school while the priority of the Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) is that the service be offered for free.

Education spokesman for the ÖVP in Salzburg Josef Sampl wants teachers to take over most of the responsibility of all-day schools, but his proposal has already led to protests from teachers.

Sampl said: "The child belongs at the focus of all our efforts. All-day schools will prevent children from coming home after school and doing no homework. And teachers must take a bigger responsibility for the academic success of children."

Parents have to pay 80 euros per child per month for the all-day school and Sampl has suggested that in future only families with financial difficulties should be able to use the service for free.

In contrast, SPÖ Women's Affairs spokeswoman Ingrid Riezler has argued that all-day school should be made free for all and range from sports activities to political education to learning support.

Riezler said: "I believe that parents should agree to this all-day school on the condition that it costs nothing. It would cost a family with two children 260 euros per month to use the service and also pay for the children's lunches. This is the reason why all-day school is currently seen in a negative light - there are many who simply cannot afford it."

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