UK teachers to teens: go ahead, sleep in

New timetable has resulted in improved behaviour and test scores

When John Barker first introduced late start times for teenagers at his school in Tonbridge, England, he faced criticism from fellow educators. But since the new timetable was introduced in September 2007, Barker says he’s noted an improvement in behaviour, exam scores and attendance. The idea for a staggered day came from British and U.S. research, which suggests that sleeping in helps teenagers brains’ to work better. But Barker admits the decision to keep the conventional schedule on Fridays (8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.) wasn’t based on scientific findings, but rather his students’ desire to devote the evening to “family times.” (Read: Kick off their social lives early.)

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