‘Ten hours? No thanks!’ – Sunderland slap down for Gove’s plan to make school days longer

Education Secretary Michael Gove.
Education Secretary Michael Gove.
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PROPOSALS which could see pupils in school for up to 10 hours a day would not be welcomed on Wearside, say education officials.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said the move would make state schools indistinguishable from private and public ones, and to make the country’s schools among the best in the world.

Announcing the Conservative manifesto for 2015, he said extending the school day would provide time for activities such as sports and music clubs and for structured homework sessions.

However, the proposals have not been welcomed by teaching unions.

Sarah Lake, general secretary of the Sunderland branch of the National Union of Teachers, and The City of Sunderland Teachers’ Association, said: “I do feel this is an issue which parents will feel strongly about.

“British schoolchildren already spend many more hours in the classroom than their counterparts in countries such as Finland and South Korea where results are noticeably higher.

“I believe that parents in Sunderland value high educational standards for their children, but also feel that their youngsters need to play, relax and have family time.

“Additionally, teachers are already often working 60 hours a week and it’s unclear where the extra hours in the working week, or the extra cash to pay for these hours, would come from.”

Sunderland’s Tory spokesman for education, Councillor Robert Oliver, said: “Quality of teaching is more important than quantity of teaching so the length of the school day should be left for each individual school to decide.

“There is little evidence that increasing the time pupils spend at school by itself will lead to a rise in standards. The same applies to teachers, who may spend many extra hours preparing lessons and marking homework after the end of the school day.

“It means pupils will spend less time at home with their parents, which is also important to their education.”