Education Secretary to ‘look at’ extending the school day for UK pupils
The Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi has said that the school day should be extended and that he will look at the case for doing so.
Mr Zahawi then went on to urge schools to make sure pupils were spending more time in the classroom, adding that they should be taught for 6.5 hours a day.
These points were made during a question exchange in the House of Commons with Robert Halfon who is the Conservative chairman of the education select committee.
The argument for a longer school day is built on the basis that children need to catch up with the many days and weeks in the classroom they missed out on in the last 18 months since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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 per cent. 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?"
In response to this, Mr Zahawi said that he is looking at extending the day and that he wants to see all schools move towards the average school day.
He said: "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.
"There are some excellent examples of a longer school day which I’m going to look at. The average school day now is 6.5 hours and I would like to see everybody move towards that average."