Schools should increase teaching hours and cut the length of traditional holidays because the education system is being “handicapped” by a 19th century timetable, according to Michael Gove. This is from the Telegraph…
The Education Secretary said all schools should follow the example set in the Far East where pupils are expected to follow a longer day and get less time off.
In a speech, he warned that the current shape of the academic year was created to fit the needs of an agricultural economy, with pupils taking time off in October to help gather the potato harvest.
The lack of time spent in the classroom is particularly damaging to children from poor backgrounds, Mr Gove said.
Some of the Government’s flagship academies – state schools run independent of local council controls – are using their independence to reform the school day, he said.
Some open at 8.30am and expect children to remain until at least 4.30pm to undertake sport, music and other extra-curricular activities, it emerged.
Other schools such as David Young Community Academy in Leeds operate four-week summer holidays amid fears children suffer an academic dip during the traditional six-week break in July and August.
Mr Gove said that all schools should follow a similar model to enable the nation to catch-up with education systems elsewhere in the world.
But the calls are likely to provoke anger among teaching unions who are fiercely protective of the six-week summer break which they claim is vital to allow staff to recharge their batteries.