The Press Association (via the Mail) is reporting that the headmaster of the first British school to delay lessons until the afternoon has said forcing teenagers to wake up early could cause mental and public health issues.
Private school Hampton Court House, in Surrey, introduced a new timetable for sixth-formers in September 2014 following research which found that teenagers have a “biological disposition to going to bed late and getting up late”.
Guy Holloway, the headmaster at Hampton Court House, said teenagers who wake up for a traditional starting time are “chronically sleep deprived”.
“The cards really are stacked against them because they are overriding nature by getting up early in the morning in order to be on time for school,” he said.
“Schools on a day-to-day basis are dealing with a whole range of issues – sometimes mental health issues, and I would argue a public health issue really, in terms of a nation of teenagers, particularly older teenagers, that are going to school chronically sleep deprived.”
The school’s timetable for 16 to 18-year-olds begins at 1.30pm and ends at 7pm. The research has found that a 7am start for a teenager is the equivalent of a 4.30am start for an adult.
One student at the school told the BBC: “I find it easier to concentrate in lessons whereas before I would sometimes be falling asleep over the first three hours of the morning…
Paul Kelly, of the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute at the University of Oxford, said in September that the mental health of young people was under “serious threat” because of sleep deprivation…
This is always a controversial issue on this site, and there is currently a major study underway, but what do you make of the suggestion that normal school start times may be causing mental health issues?
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