Longer day for schools gets mixed reaction

NZ Herald Dec 24, 2008

The education industry has welcomed a discussion about the length of time students should be kept at school, as long as teachers are not going to be expected to extend their contact hours. The School Trustees Association, which represents most of the 2700 school boards, wants a national debate on whether schools should open well before 9am and shut much later each day to better cater for pupils’ changing needs. Association general manager Ray Newport said any such move would require a law change. He conceded that extending the school day had huge implications for staffing levels, teachers’ hours and the effects on pupils and working parents. But Education Minister Anne Tolley has welcomed the suggestion, saying there is an “appetite” for fresh ideas to benefit pupils, teachers and principals.

…Lobby group Family First has also dismissed the suggestion school hours should be extended. “Education is based on quality, not quantity, and a suggestion to extend the school hours is not in the best interests of children and young people,” said national director Bob McCoskrie. “Extended hours will cut into valuable family time, sports and music practices, and is ultimately about serving the needs and pressures of fulltime working parents. “It would also cause chaos for families where children are at different schools with different schedules each day.”