Sleep research urges 10am start for GCSE students

Calls are made to push back starting times for GCSE students after research shows biological changes in adolescence clash with traditional school hours leading to ‘systematic, chronic and unrecoverable sleep loss’. Pete Henshaw reports

The school day should begin at 8:30am for 10-year-olds, 10am for 16-year-olds, and 11am for 18-year-olds – according to the latest research into sleep and adolescence.

Researchers from the University of Oxford and Harvard Medical School in America have called on educators to reject the “misconception” that teenagers who are tired and irritable in the morning have stayed up too late or are lazy.

Instead, they say schools should recognise the impact that biological changes have on sleep patterns as children grow up and the implications for learning.

The findings were presented at the British Science Festival in Bradford on Tuesday (September 8) by the paper’s corresponding author Paul Kelley, who is an honorary clinical research associate with the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute at the University of Oxford and president of education for the British Science Association.

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