Should start the whole school after 9am

Should school start later in the morning?

Stand up! When the alarm clock goes off in the early morning, it wakes many students out of their deep sleep. Why the torture? Couldn't you just sleep longer? Here you can read arguments for and against

Instead: Listen to your internal clock!

Children’s sleep rhythm changes around the age of twelve. When puberty begins, the internal clock suddenly ticks differently. This regulates the course of our body functions - and thus determines when we can best sleep or concentrate. Lots adolescent boys and girls would lie in bed from midnight to 9 a.m.if they could listen to their bodies, experts say. The start of school between 7.30 a.m. and 8 a.m. prevents them from doing so. Numerous brain and sleep researchers as well as paediatricians are therefore demanding: Lessons should start later, since they can be postponed easily after all.

On the other hand, nobody can reprogram their internal clock - no matter how early they go to bed. It is especially important for teenagers to get a lot of sleep: they need eight to ten hours a night to to store learned knowledge in long-term memory. Pupils who have not had enough sleep are in a bad mood, lack concentration and write poorer grades. Lack of sleep can even make them sick and lead to cardiovascular problems.

other European countries have already recognized this: in many schools in France, Spain or England, for example, lessons don't start until 9 a.m. Some German schools have also dared to try a later start - and have had positive experiences: Even if the students can sleep half an hour longer, they feel better, participate more often and are less likely to be late.

On the other hand: Free time is too short!

That the class is at 8 o'clock in the morning (or even earlier) starting is not a must: in almost all German federal states schools can set the beginning of the first lesson themselves, but only a few choose a late start. For good reasons: if lessons started later, they would often last well into the afternoon. Then all schools would have to have a lunch break - and a canteenwhere they offer food. That goes into the money: As early as 2006, the then President of the German Teachers' Association, Josef Kraus, calculated that such a change would cost 30 billion euros nationwide.

Many all-day schools have been set up since then, but the redesign would still be expensive. In addition: With classes starting later plus a lunch break, school ends easily two hours later in the afternoon. This leaves much less free time for the students. How are they supposed to make it to soccer practice or piano lesson? And they have to do their homework for the next day at some point ...

The majority of parents are also against starting school later. The younger your children are, the more likely they are to reject the idea, because if their sons and daughters cannot go to school on their own and they cannot get the children to school until 9 a.m., they will not get to work on time. The main thing is that lessons start early for younger children and later for older children also makes little sense in rural areas: In the morning there is often only one school bus that collects all the children and drops them off at their schools - a new timetable with more buses should be found.

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