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Should schools bring back afternoon breaks?

A recent study carried out by University College London’s Institute of Education looked at how break times in schools have changed since 1995.

School break times are shorter than two decades ago, meaning children are missing out on opportunities to make friends, socialise and exercise, research suggests.

Apparently, 15% of junior school children (Key stage 2) and just over half, 54% of infant school children (Key stage 1) in the UK have an official break in the afternoon.

The figures are even worse for secondary schools, showing only 1% having an afternoon break compared with 13% in 1995.  And it doesn’t stop at afternoon breaks – time that children have for lunch has been cut too with a quarter of secondary schools reporting lunch breaks of 35 minutes or less.

These figures come at a time when childhood obesity is at its height and there is concern around children’s lack of social interaction due to over engagement with computers, tablets and mobile phones.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said school timetables are “bursting at the seams” because of pressure to prepare children for high-stakes tests and exams.

He added: “It is therefore no surprise that school break times are shorter than they were 20 years ago.

“This may be regrettable but it is the result of a conscious decision by successive governments to expect more of schools.”

What are your views? Whilst schools find themselves increasingly pressurised to fit everything into the school day,  should they be reducing break time? What memories do you have of your school playtimes?

Should schools bring back afternoon breaks?

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Alicia
21st May 2019
1
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No, they already go home an hour earlier than I did.
Mary Lincoln
13th May 2019
2
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Young children need a break, their young minds can't concentrate on one thing for a length of time. Looking after children for 25 years we were always told 10mins was the span for under 5s. Over that age one would expect longer but, kids still get bored easily and need a break to recharge their batteries.
PetiteP
13th May 2019
-1
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My grandchildren finish secondary school for the day at varying times, 2.30, 3.00 or 3.30pm, so don't see the need for an afternoon break.
LornaT13
14th May 2019
0
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And therein lies the problem...

School days should be from 9am-4pm with a 20 minute break morning and afternoon together with one hour for lunch. The school day is getting shorter which is wrong and completely detrimental to adequate learning. Children should do school work during school hours and NOT pile the kids up with ridiculous amounts of homework - school and home life should be completely separate. You don't go to work expecting to take your work home with you so why should children be forced to. Some of the homework they get is beyond a joke and they need to be doing that workmin school with a qualified teacher in a class room setting so that they can ask questions and interact with other class members so that they all learn together. The teachers need to stop whingeing and moaning about themselves - they chose teaching as a profession - and completely focus on the children they are teaching during school hours. Why in earth schools think it is acceptable to send them home at 2.00-2.30pm is beyond me and is doing nothing more than cheating them out of properly taught education which thus country has a duty to provide.
Bald123
11th May 2019
3
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Yes more sport and exercise to ensure that the young generation do not grow up fat and lazy like me and my generation.
Billythequiche
11th May 2019
4
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Compulsory exercise instead.
LornaT13
11th May 2019
8
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Yes they should absolutely have longer breaks both in the morning and afternoon so that they can play, exercise and interact with other kids. School days seem to be getting shorter and in my local area they finish school at 2.30pm! Whatever happened to the 9am-4pm school hours with proper breaks? They need a full school day with 3 proper breaks so that they can do their school work IN the classroom and not be forced to take it home where they seem to be increasingly doing more work at home and less in school.

And what about these teacher training days??? WHY, for example, after 6 weeks off during the summer, do teachers need even more time off for teacher training days/inset days etc?! With the amount of school holidays every year which is around 14 weeks, surely teacher training can be done within the parameters of term time? I.e after school or a day over the weekend?? Children’s education is constantly being compromised because of these days given to teachers which inevitably causes even MORE homework and added pressures to working parents who cannot always get extra childcare on those days?! From an employer’s perspective, they could potentially lose half their workforce on a teacher training day through lack of childcare facilities. The list goes on and every single point I have made is detrimental to the children who this country has a duty to educate.

Additionally they should not be allowed to take their phones to school which are hugely distracting therefore giving them quality time away from technology. Teachers eintblike it as it will extent their day but in my opinion, school is about teaching children NOT about appeasing militant teachers. No wonder more parents are choosing to home school their kids.

In the 60s/70s we did full school days with proper breaks. We certainly did not have ridiculous amounts of homework thrust upon us AND where I lived, we walked 2 miles to/from school (each way) every day without suffering any ill effects from it.
ST03
13th May 2019
2
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I completely agree with everything you've said. The education establishment appears to support and aspire to appalling standards all round for today's school children.
Wipeout
14th May 2019
1
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Brilliant LornaT13 well said and I agree with all that you have conveyed as if it come out of my own head...
Wilf
11th May 2019
4
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I saw this on the news last night and didn't realise only about 1% of schools have an afternoon break for the kids. Nobody can sit and keen their attention span for hours. Seems very short sighted not to give them regular breaks like we used to have back in the Jurassic (1960s)
Sueelsy
11th May 2019
6
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Yes and more sports played in the afternoon. No homework. Useful skills like cookery, woodwork, DIY. Life skills and hobby craft. Enabling them to have useful activities outside of school.
Felix1
10th May 2019
3
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I did not know this was happening. Disgraceful. No wonder my great nephew collapses in a heap when he comes home.
Munsterlander
10th May 2019
11
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Back in the 60's we had a 20 minute morning and 20 minute afternoon break. Just time for a drink and quick game of footie...so exercise. Best to get oxygen into the brain as helps with learning.
Gwendaelizabeth
10th May 2019
3
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