There is push in the UK for all schools to offer an extended school day by 2012. This follows evidence from the United States where extending the school day to 10 hours has provided dramatic results. Some underprivileged schools there have managed to increase the percentage of their students going on to college from 10% to 80%. It is hoped that an extended school day will have similarly dramatic results in the UK.
The current school day was created to meet the needs of a different century. We now know that afterschool activity is just as important to student development as what happens during school time. It is often argued that teachers just don’t have enough time to provide the attention that is needed and many students are not getting this input from home. The purpose of the extended school day is to make up for this deficiency. Every country depends on students for its future prosperity so it makes sense to do everything possible to give them the best chance at academic success.
The news of the extended school day has not received universal approval. There has been some concern that this move will increase the pressure felt by students. Some parents complain that their children are already coming home overtired after the eight hour day; what will they be like after a ten hour day? They go on to argue that even if these extra hours are spent doing fun activities it will still not be the same as being at home – school just isn’t as relaxing an environment as your own home. There is also the argument that this approach is patronizing to parents because it is based on the idea that they can’t properly raise their kids.
The extended school day will not mean that students are going to be spending a lot of extra time in the classroom. There are proposals to provide useful clubs and educational resources where students can learn first aid, improve their math skills, or get help with their homework. Some schools may offer a breakfast club where students are sure of a healthy meal. The aim is for schools to work closely with parents and the local community so as to provide the most beneficial activities. This should mean that what is provided will differ from place to place.
The extended school day is part of a wider initiative to extend the services offered by schools. This can involve everything from childcare services to family education. Parents who struggle to find childcare will likely be pleased with the proposals. There is also the possibility that some schools might offer classes where parents and children can learn together. Some schools are already offering some extended services.
Teachers are already overworked in many schools, but the good news is that they won’t be expected to provide all these extra activities. Instead appropriate outside agencies will be invited to provide what is needed. This will also mean that what is available will vary greatly around the country.
The push for the extended school day now seems to be gaining momentum and that all schools will be offering this by 2012. It will likely take a lot longer than this to assess the benefits of this change in school day.extended school day, students
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