Schools to open for 32.5 hours a week so students avoid missing out

LONDON, (Parliament Politics Magazine) – According to new government guidelines, all schools must be open for 32.5 hours at least per week.

Though the vast majority of schools in England now meet this requirement, approximately 14% are only open for 32 hours each week.

By 2023, ministers intend to eliminate “discrepancies” in opening hours of schools, which are now determined by headteachers.

According to the government, the reform, which will take effect in September, will guarantee that pupils have access to a variety of disciplines as well as catch-up support.

From Monday through Friday, the new 32.5-hour week equates to an 8.45 a.m. to 3.15 p.m. day.

According to Nadhim Zahawi, Education Secretary, a youngster who receives 20 minutes less of learning per day misses about two weeks of school per year.

“The average school day is 32-and-a-half hours,” he told Sky News. Some schools, thousands of schools, operate for 30 minutes less – this is why we want schools to operate from 9 a.m. to 3.30 p.m.

He said he wanted them to accomplish it all before the end of the year, but he understands some will have practical issues.  That’s why they’ve set a deadline for next year.

According to the BBC, the government will lay out its plans for English schools in the next week, with a focus on “strong multi-academy trusts.”

He continued, the research clearly shows that a family of schools that is well-managed and supported – particularly through Covid – has produced higher educational outcomes for students.

The infrastructure that is needed to complete and deliver is so robust – and he emphasises strong – multi-academy trusts.

Unions, on the other hand, say that the shift in school hours will have minimal impact on pupils and may even be detrimental.

The Association of School and College Leaders’ general secretary, Geoff Barton, said the benefits of implementing a 32.5-hour minimum expectation for the length of the school week have not persuaded them.

Eleni Kyriakou

Eleni is a journalist and analyst at Parliament Magazine focusing on European News and current affairs. She worked as Press and Communication Office – Greek Embassy in Lisbon and Quattro Books Publications, Canada. She is Multilingual with a good grip of cultures, eye in detail, communicative, effective. She holds Master in degree from York University.