Plans for school day to be made longer considered by Education Secretary

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    The Education Secretary suggested an extension to the school day will help children prosper after lockdown. Mr Zahawi has said he is considering lengthening the school day. The Conservative Party cabinet member told MPs there are some “excellent examples” that he will examine of longer school days.

    He then urged for schools to move to the average school day length of 6.5 hours.

    In the Commons, during education questions, Mr Zahawi was asked by Tory MP Robert Halfon whether he would consider lengthening the school day.

    Mr Halfon said: “We know from the Education Policy Institute that it increases educational attainment from two to three months, especially amongst disadvantaged pupils.

    “We know that a longer school day, according to the department for culture, media, sports, increases numeracy by 29 percent.

    “So, this increases educational attainment.

    “Will he at least consider some pilot schemes in disadvantaged areas around the country where we can have a longer school day?”

    To this question, Mr Zahawi replied: “I think the priority has to be for those children and students, who have the least time available to them to recover, which is why the £800 million for the 16 to 19-year-olds additional 40 hours of education is so important.

    “Plus the £1 billion going into secondary and primary, making the total £5 billion of recovery money.

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    Referring to the plans, Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said in a statement: “The gains that might be possible through extending the school day must be weighed against the costs of such a strategy.

    “These include the impact on pupils’ mental health, reduced family time and less time for extra-curricular activities.

    “Children’s happiness and wellbeing should be prioritised as well as their education.”



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