Have your say: Should the school day be made half an hour longer?

The school day in England could be extended by half an hour, it has been reported.

According to The Times, the government is considering plans to add 30 minutes to the school day to help pupils catch up after learning was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The newspaper said it had seen a leaked report by the government’s education recovery commissioner, Sir Kevan Collins, which calls for children to receive an extra 100 hours of schooling a year from 2022.

The plan, which would mean a minimum 35-hour week at school for children, will cost £15 billion, The Times said.

The proposals include extra tutoring for five million pupils and more training for 500,000 teachers.

The report warned that doing nothing could cost the country £1.5trn, 100 times that of the proposed three-year package.

The Times said the plans are based around the “three Ts” - more time, teaching and tutoring.

It reported that prime minister Boris Johnson has been briefed on the plan and has indicated his support.

In February, education secretary Gavin Williamson refused to rule out a longer school day to let pupils catch up after the COVID-19 disruption.

“We will be looking at how we can boost and support children in a whole range of different manners," he told Sky News.

But teaching experts have warned that "forcing tired pupils" to have longer days would not work.

Children wearing facemasks during a lesson at Hounslow Kingsley Academy in West London, as pupils in England return to school for the first time in two months as part of the first stage of lockdown easing. Picture date: Monday March 8, 2021.
An extra half-hour of lessons a day in schools is being considered by the government, it has been reported. (PA)

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL), said: “The notion of forcing all children to sit through extra classes at the end of the day is not necessary and making tired pupils do more work is not effective.

“We need to focus on quality not quantity.”

Government figures published last week revealed that children in England missed one extra week of lessons in the autumn term of 2020 because of the pandemic.

Read more: The key arguments around giving pupils a longer school day

Watch: Summer schools and extra cash pledged in pupil catch-up programme