School day starts at 1.30pm, to cope with teenage body clocks

STUDENTS will start lessons at 1.30pm every day at a school in Surrey  – to accommodate teenage sleeping patterns.
The independent £15,000-a-year Hampton Court House, in East Molesey, is introducing a 1.30pm to 7pm timetable for all post-16s from September.
Head teacher Guy Holloway says the move, based on research by neuroscientists, will help students get quality sleep and improve their cognition and productivity.
The school will have the latest start time in the UK, and will be the only one to begin lessons in the afternoon.
Experts say young people are biologically programmed to get up later.  It’s not laziness, it’s simply a shift in their body clocks.
In 2007 the Hugh Christie Technology College in Tonbridge, Kent, introduced an 11.30am start three days a week start for all 14-plus students.
In 2010 Monkseaton High School, North Tyneside, moved its 9am start to 10am.  Both schools say the later start has boosted their student’s levels of concentration and exam performance.
But Hampton Court House has gone further with its “no mornings” regime.
Mr Holloway, a self-confessed time-management maniac, said: “There are 168 hours in a week and how productive they are depends on how they choose to use those hours.
“At Hampton Court House we don’t think we have the answer for everybody, it’s about what works in our community.
“We want to get them into an environment where they can get quality sleep and their bodies are functioning well.”
He said pupils would also benefit from reduced journey times as they travel to and from school after rush hour. Year 10 student Gabriel Purcell-Davis will be one of the first cohorts of 30 A-level students to start at the later time.
The 15-year-old said: “I want to wake up in my bed, not in my maths lesson.”
School for all other pupils will still begin at 9am as usual.
The move is based on research by Russell Foster, who said teenagers have a biological predisposition to go to bed later and get up later.
Neuroscientists link better sleep in teenage years with better mental health.
Research associate Paul Kelley, who is working with Dr Foster on his latest sleep research at Oxford University, said moving sleeping patterns later benefited health and that teenagers performed better after a good night’s rest.
He said: “You can’t train your system to get up at a practical time. It’s biological, just as your heartbeat, your liver function and a bunch of other things that all sync to natural biological time and that is not in your control.
“Anything you do to change the rhythmic systems of your body means your organs become desynchronised with each other and this is where people get ill and there is no fixing it by giving someone an alarm clock.
“Your body is not watching your wristwatch.”