The Government is considering extending school days to help pupils catch up with their work. The plan would see schools starting at 8:30am and ending after 3pm, which could allow staff and students to enjoy longer holidays in the summer months.
The “should the school day be extended” is a question that many parents are asking. The UK government has stated that they are considering extending the school day to help pupils catch up with their work.
Longer school days were cited as “great examples” by the education minister (Picture: Getty)
In order to assist more students make up on missed learning due to the pandemic, the duration of a school day might be increased.
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said he would look at some ‘good examples’ of schools that have embraced additional teaching hours.
He said that the typical school day was 6.5 hours long and that he wanted other institutions to follow suit.
Schools in England may now choose the duration of their day, with the majority staying open for at least six hours.
Ministers have been encouraged to prolong the timeline in order to assist youngsters in recovering from the disruption caused by lockdowns.
Mr Zahawi was responding to a query from education select committee chairman Tory MP Robert Halfon.
Mr Halfon stated in the Commons that the Education Policy Institute has discovered that a longer day improves educational success, particularly among underprivileged students.
Meanwhile, he said that the Department of Culture, Media, and Sports discovered that increasing classroom hours improves numeracy by 29%.
‘Will he at least consider some trial initiatives in underprivileged areas?’ he questioned the cabinet minister.
‘There are some wonderful examples… of a longer school day that I’m going to look at,’ Mr Zahawi said. The average school day is now 6.5 hours, and I’d want to see everyone strive to meet that standard.’
However, one of the country’s largest teachers’ unions emphasized that extending the school day should be considered against considerations such as students’ mental health.
‘The gains that might be possible through extending the school day must be weighed against the costs of such a strategy, including the impact on pupils’ mental health, reduced family time, and less time for extra-curricular activities,’ said Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, in a statement.
‘Children’s happiness and welfare, as well as their education, should be prioritized.’
The government pledged an additional £1.4 billion for education catch-up in June, to be spent on tutoring and improving teacher quality via more training.
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Schools, on the other hand, were critical of the plan, with Boris Johnson’s education recovery commissioner, Sir Kevan Collins, quitting in protest because the funds were insufficient.
Sir Kevan had advocated for a £15 billion plan, which included funding to lengthen the school day by half an hour.
More money might be on the way, according to the Department of Education, pending a “assessment of time spent in school.”
The conclusions of the evaluation will be released later this year to inform the expenditure review, according to the Department for Education.
However, no conclusions were made public prior to Rishi Sunak’s Budget, which did not include any additional funds for longer days.
The chancellor is said to have decided that the evidence is insufficient to support the idea.
However, one Whitehall source accused the minister of duplicity for allowing state-school students greater time to participate in after-school activities.
‘Why do private schools do it?’ they asked the I Newspaper. It’s not for the sake of having fun; it’s because it creates results.’
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is alleged to be opposed to extending the school day (photo courtesy of Getty Images). )
Meanwhile, one teaching union head said that the administration either failed to do the evaluation or refused to provide it because it ‘doesn’t provide the correct answers.’
The National Education Union’s joint general secretary, Mary Bousted, called the fiasco a “sad little story of deceit,” adding that the NEU had been happy to accept a longer school day “as long as it’s paid for and voluntarily.”
The Department for Education has claimed that a review was conducted and that the findings inspired extra funding committed in the Chancellor’s budget. However, no specific conclusions have been made public.
Last Monday, the Chancellor announced an additional £2 billion for education recovery, increasing total expenditure on Covid catch-up to roughly $5 billion since 2019.
However, opponents pointed out that this is just a third of what is required, with the Education Policy Institute and Labour advocating for a $15 billion package.
Mr Sunak also said that over the following three years, funding per child in England’s schools would be returned to 2010 levels.
According to the Chancellor, this will result in an additional £4.7 billion for schools in England by 2024-2025, as well as a £1,500 cash boost for each kid.
However, it will not compensate for the 9 percent reduction in funding since 2009, which is the largest reduction in 40 years.
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Covid UK: School day could be extended to help pupils catch up. Reference: education recovery plan.
- covid school recovery plan
- secondary school reform
- education catch-up