Increasing the School Day

The big news yesterday was that the Tories were going to try and win the next election by proposing to increase the school day and reduce school holidays. The school week would increase to 45 hours and children would be attending school for 45 weeks of the year. That would be an extra 2-3 hours of school per day, and annual school holidays would be cut from 13 weeks to just seven. Kids will be in school loads so those of us parents who don’t work can get jobs and become productive members of society. Sounds great, right? 

Except I really like being a Stay-At-Home-Mum. I like taking my daughter, Moozles, to and from school. Moozles is in Year one and loves school. But she loves coming home and spending afternoons with me and playing with her little brother. She does crafts or ‘work’ (which is just random projects she assigns herself, like writing names in a notebook). Moozles does 1-2 after-school clubs at school per week as well as having playdates. So her week is quite busy. And come Friday she is exhausted. We walk home from school, arriving @3.40pm and I let her veg out on the sofa and watch telly until dinnertime. I can’t imagine how she would handle being at school until 6pm everyday. Moozles usually has a nap on Saturdays as she is so tired from the week, and she already sleeps for 12 hours per night.

I understand that a longer school day would benefit working parents. It costs money to send children to breakfast and after-school clubs. And shorter school holidays would mean that working parents wouldn’t need much more than their annual leave to cover it. I find that Moozles really needs half-term breaks as she is so tired from school. But I do see the benefit of cutting the summer break in half. While we’re at it, could we not stagger the school holidays so that holidays and flights aren’t so expensive? But I digress.  

Some students are probably better off at school and off the streets. But don’t parents often have trouble getting those students to go to school anyway? What about the children who love school? Surely all day schooling will detract from this love.

I won’t even address how the Tories would get teachers to stay later or who else might come ‘teach’ our children. There are so many complexities regarding this, I wouldn’t know where to start. Although we do need to help parents better cope with juggling children and work, there must be a better idea than a long school day.

Perhaps I will notice a difference when Moozles moves from infant school to junior school. Maybe by then she will have more stamina. Until then, I hope the Tories think about the young children who might not be able to handle such a long day at school.

Here’s a link to one of the articles I read on the subject: