If your kids are at all like mine, getting them out of bed on a school day can be like pulling teeth — in fact, you’d think you were dragging them off to have their teeth pulled, the way they fight getting up. I suspect it’s only going to get worse once they become teenagers. But if the results a British high school has seen are typical, then one simple change would pretty much make the problem go away.
Oxford University neuroscience professor Russell Foster, who is overseeing the experiment at Monkseaton High School, in Northern England, says that teenagers’ biological clocks shift so that the desire to sleep in is a biological one, not one caused by laziness. His tests also indicate that more difficult classes should be held in the afternoon rather first thing in the morning.
The school has managed to reduce general absences by 8% and persistent absenteeism by 27%. The GCSE results from January and February seem “hopeful,” although it’s too soon to say what effect there will be on grades. So what is it that is causing such a stir and spurring the teens to new heights of academic prowess? Quite simply, the school shifted the start of classes one hour later to allow students to sleep in more.
“It is a question of do schools fit the medical reality of teenagers?” said head teacher Paul Kelley. “This is one of the things society has imposed on teens because it feels right for us.” Mr. Kelley added that “we can help them learn better. We can help them be less stressed by simply changing the time of the school day.”
As someone who is definitely not a morning person, I can really get behind a change like this. Would this work out for your teen? Would it have helped you when you were in school?