School Day

Department for Education written question – answered on 22nd May 2019.

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Photo of Lord Pendry Lord Pendry Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the report by the UCL Institute of Education School break times and young people’s social lives: A follow-up national study, published in May, what assessment they have made of the impact of shortening school break times on (1) childhood obesity, (2) academic performance, and (3) children’s social lives; and what steps they are taking to address any such impact.

Photo of Lord Agnew of Oulton Lord Agnew of Oulton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The government has not made a specific assessment of the impact of the length of school break times on obesity, academic performance or children’s social lives. Schools have the autonomy to make decisions about the structure and duration of their school day to suit their own circumstances. However, the department is clear that pupils should be given an appropriate break and expects school leaders to make sure this happens.

The government recognises the importance of physical activity in schools to improve physical and mental wellbeing and support attainment. That is why our Childhood Obesity strategy reflects the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines that primary age children should get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day and the aim that 30 minutes of that should be during the school day.

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