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?
What are your views?
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