UK & World News

  • 10 May 2014, 19:17

Sixth Formers Given 'Stress-Free' Late Start

A private school in Surrey is to delay the start of lessons for sixth formers to 1.30pm, saying it will better suit teenagers' sleeping patterns.

Hampton Court House in East Moleseysaid lessons will be pushed back from the normal9amstart until several hours later and finish at 7pm.

The school said it hoped the "bold and pioneering step" would offer sixth formers a more productive and "stress-free" way of focusing on their crucial A-level years.

In a statement on its website, it said: "Persuasive research has further reinforced the fact that teenagers have a biological disposition to going to bed late and struggling to get up early."

Headmaster Guy Holloway added: "There is now more and more scientific evidence to support what many parents and teachers have known for years.

"The fact is that many teenagers do not sleep sufficiently during the week and this can, and often does, have a significant impact on teenage cognition andmental and physical health generally."

The delayed start times are due to come into force in 2015.

Gabriel Purcell-Davis, 15, who will be among the first to try out the new start times, told Sky News he was in favour of the scheme.

He said: "I know I work best in the evenings and if you ask any teenager out there, they will be tired all day but as soon as 10 o'clock hits, that's when we decide to recognise our rooms, do all our work. So I think it would be the best timings for a teenager's mind."

The school also was quick to point out another added bonus; staggered start times will help staff and students avoid the early morning rush-hour.

But the scheme has been met with some criticism.

Dr Tony Sewell, an education advisor and chair of governors at the specialist school STEM Academy Tech City, told Sky News it could cause problems for teens in later life.

He said: "The reality is that they won't be able to adjust this when it comes to the world of work. So their bodies might as well get used to it now ... so they can perform well in the work place."

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