7 February 2014

As Michael Gove, Education Secretary, calls for state schools to operate a 10-hour day and to be more like private schools, many teachers have reacted against the idea saying that children deserve a childhood and that longer days in schools could be counterproductive, particularly for younger pupils.

Jane Nellist of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) believes that a longer day is not in the best interests of teachers either, since teachers already face “completely unrealistic demands” which entail many of them working more than 50 hours a week.

Mr Gove wants to break down what he has labelled the “Berlin Wall” between state schools and independent schools by, for example, making children sit exams similar to entrance exams at 13 to check on progress. He believes that private schools have good discipline, high standards, lots of testing and longer days, still with the opportunity for after-school activities.

Russell Hobby, General Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), said his union might support the proposals for longer school days if the plan was properly resourced with funding for extra staffing, contracts and partnerships with other providers and if there was flexibility for individual schools.