Im happy to accept the lower than average wage in return for the increased time I spend with my family. If Mr Gove expects me to spend less time with my family then I need to be compensated for that.
The point about private schools having longer holidays and yet often better results is a good one - IMHO it is class sizes that makes all the difference rather than time. I know several private schools locally and even though you would think they did, they don't have "better kit" than we do and in a couple of cases it is substantially worse, so that isnt the reason. The teachers are good, but not necessarily substantially better than public ones. Which leaves class sizes. Every teacher I know feels that they get on so much better when a good proportion of the class are away ill or whatever. We are up to 35 in some classes at my schools.
Costing is a huge issue too - schools certainly can't manage the extra costs of heating, lighting and staff on their present budgets so that would have to be looked at very carefully.
Primary children certainly can't concentrate for long periods and they don't need to experience a working day. If it gave more time for things like Art, Music and Sport I can see the merit as these subjects are being squeezed out of the curruculum. For older children expanding some subjects could be good.
I like the idea of no homework - with all the distractions at home I think children would do better to do it at school - but the older ones do need to learn self-discipline and how to structure your own time to get work done.
As for Asian schools - I have just read a very interesting article - which I can't find - by a Japanese girl who is now in the west and tells of how at school she was just taught reams of facts which she regurgitated for exams - with no real understanding of anything
I think primary and secondary should be separated here, primary schools could incorporate a longer day but with more physical activity or team games to break up the time in lesson. It doesn't all have to be study.
Play is needed more in schools - primaries are slowly but surely removing it. Play means socialising, it means enjoyment - which means linking the things they've learned to good times and therefore making them more memorable.
The idea of all work all of the time is not a good plan.
Don't get me wrong there were some very clever people too, but the majority of students struggled to gain an understanding of the subject.
As someone working in a private school, I certainly agree with the comments that we don't necessarily have better equipment than the state sector! However, smaller class sizes certainly help (average here would be about 15, hardly anything bigger than 20) but the children are here from 8.30 to nearly 7pm five days a week, plus Saturdays - and that's for kids 8 years old and upwards. They do compensate by having longer holidays - just had 3 and a half weeks for Easter, and 8 weeks over the summer...
I don't think most schools could afford to pay for staffing. Teachers get payed AYR anyway for not being here, but support staff on TTO would rightfully expect to be paid for the extra days/hours. Doubt most teachers could teach well without the extensive support network they rely on now-a-days. We have a TA in pretty much every classroom.
Only way i could see it happening without increasing costs dramatically (also what about funding to heat/power the building) is to stagger the staffing, reducing the overall support.
Sounds like a quality vs quantity situation to me, improving standards rather than hours would be better for everyone.
Of course we are all talking from experience and stating that experience helps form the debate doesn't it. Saying "primaries are removing play" isn't helpful to the debate (or necessarily true as you can't speak of the national picture). Saying that in your area this is happening is helpful and interesting. If there was someone posting here who had experience of primaries at LA level then stating that they had experience of what the trend was at a county level is helpful and, truthfully, more valid in discussing the big picture.
Makes sense right?
Sparkeh (not arsey).