Schools told to extend hours in England under new rules

28 March 2022, 10:22 | Updated: 28 March 2022, 10:29

Schools will have to stay open for at least 32.5 hours
Schools will have to stay open for at least 32.5 hours. Picture: Getty Images
Naomi Bartram

By Naomi Bartram

Ministers are set to make the school week a minimum of 32.5 hours in England.

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All schools in England will now have to open for at least 32.5 hours a week, under new government plans.

This new week is equivalent to an 8.45am to 3.15pm day from Monday to Friday.

The length of the school day is currently decided by the headteacher and the governing body in England.

Although the majority of schools in England are already open for more than 32.5 hours, around 14% will need to extend their days.

Some schools will have to change their opening hours
Some schools will have to change their opening hours. Picture: Getty Images

With the rules starting in September, ministers say they want to abolish any ‘discrepancies’ in school opening hours by 2023.

The Government said the change will also ensure children have access to a range of subjects and catch-up support following the coronavirus pandemic.

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said a pupil who gets 20 minutes' less teaching time per day, loses out on around two weeks of schooling in a year.

He told Sky News: “The average school day is 32-and-a-half hours. Some schools, thousands of schools are 30 minutes lower than that – so we want schools to be, sort of, 9am to 3.30pm.

The government has set out new rules for schools
The government has set out new rules for schools. Picture: Alamy

“I’d like them all to do it by the end of this year, but I know some will have logistical problems. Which is why we’ve said by next year.”

He added: "The evidence is clear that a family of schools that is really tightly managed, really well supported - especially through Covid - has delivered better educational outcomes for children.

"So strong - and I underline strong - multi-academy trusts is the infrastructure we need to complete and deliver."

The plans are part of more changes to be set out by the Department for Education which aim to increase the percentage of children leaving primary school who have achieved the expected standard in reading, writing and maths from 65% to 90% by 2030.

It is also expected to include ways to make apprenticeship and vocational routes more aspirational for young people and their parents.