Education Recovery Plan: An “Intuitive” Look Towards Longer School Days

Education Recovery Plan

School Minister Nick Gibb says “One way of securing catch up is more time”. The Education recovery tsar is looking at a longer school day proposal “very seriously” to make up for Covid disruption. Beyond explores this newly proposed education recovery plan…

The U.K. is an “outlier” when it comes to the length of school days compared to other nations. Nick Gibb revealed that the government has been looking at how countries like the US, France, and the Netherlands do their school days. He said those nations have more “instructional hours” than England, noting that the school day for primary and secondary schools in England is “broadly similar”.

“That is very different for most countries in the world, where the secondary school day is longer.”

Nick Gibb believes extending the school day is an “intuitive” approach for trying to make up for lost time in education as a result of the pandemic. The government has said this proposal is under consideration.

Gibb said: “It’s intuitive – is it not – that if you’ve lost time in education because of the pandemic, that one way of securing catch-up is more time.”

The idea of extending the school day was previously proposed by Gavin Williamson who said it could be included in the education catch-up plan. Children need to catch up on lost learning. According to the education secretary, the other options being considered include a five-term school year instead of the traditional three. 

The school minister told MPs that Sir Kevan Collins, the education recovery commissioner, would soon reveal his education recovery plan for helping children recover learning lost due to the pandemic in the summer term.

Many schools in England are already offering additional support and activities outside of regular school hours. Collins suggested virtual classes as a way of extending the school day instead of keeping children in school longer but this is not set in stone. 

Earlier this year, Sir Kevan Collins said extra hours for “play” including sports and music would also need to be considered alongside academic study to tackle the impact of Covid-19 on young people. Experts believe play should be prioritised instead of extra schooling due to young people suffering through months of restrictions on socialising. There are concerns the academic pressure placed on young people could have detrimental effects.

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