British High School Moves Start Time to 10AM, Persistent Absenteeism Drops 27%

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A school that has allowed its pupils to start the day an hour later says it has seen absenteeism decline.

At Monkseaton High School, in North Tyneside, 800 pupils aged 13-19 have started lessons at 10am since October.

Early results indicates that general absence has dropped by 8% and persistent absenteeism by 27%.

Head teacher Paul Kelley said that changing the school day could help towards creating “happier, better educated teenagers”.

Mr Kelley said it was now medically established that it was better for teenagers to start their school day later in terms of their mental and physical health and how they learn better in the afternoon.

“It is a question of do schools fit the medical reality of teenagers?” he said.

The experiment of starting the school an hour later is being overseen by scientists, including an Oxford neuroscience professor Russell Foster.

He performed memory tests on pupils at the school which suggested the more difficult lessons should take place in the afternoon.

He said young people’s body clocks may shift as they reach their teenage years – meaning they want to get up later not because they are lazy but because they are biologically programmed to do.

Prof Till Roenneberg, who is an expert on studying sleep, said it was “nonsense” to start the school day early.

He said: “It is about the way our biological clock settles into light and dark cycles. This clearly becomes later and later in adolescence.”

Prof Roenneberg said if teenagers are woken up too early they miss out on the most essential part of their sleep.

“Sleep is essential to consolidate what you learn,” he said.

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Article courtesy bbc.co.uk