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Head Plans 12-Hour School Day – Topical Tuesdays Activities from First News

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A London headteacher is trialling a 12-hour day at his school to try to keep students off their phones for longer. Andrew O’Neill wants to encourage pupils to turn up to All Saints Catholic College in Notting Hill at 7am in the morning and stay until 7pm at night. In the hours outside of regular lessons, he wants pupils to enjoy extra sports, art and cooking classes, which he says will be better for them than going home and spending the rest of the day scrolling on their phones.


12 hours – that’s a long day. But wouldn’t it be nice to have the chance to do extra sport, art and other activities in one place? Isn’t it good to provide something that keeps you off your phone? Wouldn’t you prefer to have somewhere safe to spend most of the day while your parents and carers are at work? Or is it an unfair way of keeping you at school for longer? Shouldn’t you have the choice of what to do and where to be once lessons are over? In any case, what’s wrong with connecting with friends or scrolling through fun stuff on your phone in your own time? What do you think?

Writing skills

Write a short narrative extract about schoolchildren coming into class at 7am. Make it as humorous or serious as you like but include descriptive language to show how they are feeling, rather than saying outright that they are tired, annoyed, etc.


Write a formal letter to your headteacher, either expressing your support for a 12-hour school day or stating your objections to it. Remember to make persuasive points in a respectful, well-ordered way and follow all the conventions of the genre.


Research typical school day hours in at least five other countries, arranging your findings in a suitably designed table.

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