UK Politics

MPs to debate late school starts for teenagers

Teenager asleep at desk Image copyright Getty Images

MPs are set to debate a petition calling for schools to start at 10:00 because "teenagers are too tired".

The debate will be held on Monday 11 February after more than 179,000 signed the online petition.

It reads: "Teenagers are so tired due to having to wake up very early to get to school.

"The government should require secondary schools to start later, which will lead to increased productivity at school."

Education is devolved to the Northern Irish and Welsh assemblies, and the Scottish Parliament.

The petition, started by Hannah Kidner, is to the UK Parliament, so is treated as being focused on schools in England.

UK Parliament debates petitions with more than 100,000 signatures.

UK scientists said in 2015 that starting school at 10:00 could have huge benefits for teenagers, with research suggesting that adolescents in particular have a late-running biological rhythm.

In 2014, students in the sixth form of Hampton Court school in Surrey began lessons at 13:30 and finished at 19:00 in a trial to see if it improved concentration.

In response to the petition the Department for Education said: "The government has given all schools the ability to set their own school hours so all schools have the autonomy to make decisions about the timetable and duration of their school day, including the flexibility to decide when their school day should start and finish.

"The Department has not made an assessment of these decisions taken by individual schools. We trust head teachers to decide how best to structure their school day to support their pupils' education."

The response added: "In the event that a school decides to make changes to its school day, it is our expectation that the school should act reasonably when making such decisions; giving parents notice and considering the impact on those affected - including pupils, teachers, and parents' work commitments and childcare options."

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