Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne is due to announce longer hours for school-age children today.
The politician called the current average finish time of 3.30pm ‘Victorian’ and plans a shake up of the current education system that will force millions of children into longer school days across the country.
His plan will have children of secondary school age stay for at least another hour for extra academic lessons, sport or arts subjects from next year. The politician is reportedly making the changes in a bid to drive up standards and make hours work better for parents with full-time jobs.
The changes aren’t, however, popular with all teachers. We spoke to teacher Aisling Boyle who is concerned that extending lesson times will diminish pupils’ learning capacities.
Speaking to GoodtoKnow, she said, ‘Children’s love of learning is being diminished through longer working hours and extended periods. Concentration span does not last that long and therefore extending children’s hours at school may actually be counter productive.’
She then went on to explain that the changes may affect the quality of some lessons, adding, ‘Teachers won’t have as long to plan proper lessons with the extension of teaching times, too.’
The announcement of longer school hours comes as part of Mr Osbourne’s eighth budget announcement where he will promise an extra £1.5billion of funding for education, saying: ‘It is simply unacceptable that Britain continues to sit too low down the global league tables for education. Now is the time for us to make the big investments that will help the next generation.’
Head teachers will have to bid for extra funding to cover the cost of the proposed new activities and classes for children, as well as the money needed to pay for overtime for school teachers and staff.
Elsewhere in the budget there will be £4billion of spending cuts, with the Chancellor saying his focus on education is putting the ‘next generation first’ and the move will ‘set schools free from the shackles of local bureaucracy’.
This announcement comes after the news that all schools in England will have to convert to academies by 2020, or have plans to do so in the following two years. This move means there will be no national curriculum and teachers’ salaries will no longer be set on a national pay scale. The changes were unpopular with many teachers and incited a backlash from teaching unions at the time of announcement.