MPs support petition calling for later school starting times

MPs have voiced support for a non-binding petition arguing that schools should start later in the day for the sake of “night-owl” teenagers. Tes reports

MP Daniel Zeichner argued that “there are strong scientific reasons for considering change”, citing studies from Singapore and Canada showing that it improved teen sleep patterns.

“I think there is plenty of evidence… that there is a real educational gain here,” he told the debate yesterday, organised by the Petitions Committee.

He quoted one parent as saying: “Having to wake five teens at 6.30 every day is like trying to raise the dead.

“Being forced to get up before they’re ready has a massive impact on their health and wellbeing, which suffers hugely, and, moreover, so does mine.”

John Howell, the MP for Henley, said evidence showed that accidents fell when teenagers were less tired and more sleep could help their mental health.

However, others pointed out that any change could make life more complex for working parents, meaning that some pupils may have to walk home in the dark.

Mr Zeichner cited a teacher who warned: “By starting later at school perhaps we are not training our young people to be up and ready for a job, which would often be likely to start earlier.”

The idea of later school starts has received a growing amount of attention in recent years as concerns grow about pupils’ sleep deprivation.

The petition that prompted the debate had received more than 182,000 signatures at the time of writing.

Read more MPs support petition calling for later school starting times

What do you think? Lazy or sleep deprived? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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