Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Yesterday Hattie went to the Nuffield Foundation for a presentation of the research undertaken by Professor Peter Blatchford and Dr Ed Baines into the 'social and educational significance of school break times'. Hattie was an advisor to the study.

The research showed that school break times are being reduced in time and number across the country and particularly at secondary level. One extreme example is the new Academy built in Peterborough (Norman Foster designed) which has no playground at all -
"We are not intending to have any playtime. Pupils won't need to let off steam, because they will not be bored" - Headteacher.
"We have taken away an uncontrollable space to prevent bullying and truancy"
- Project manager.

The research shows that breaktimes are overwhelmingly popular with pupils and that secondary school students in particular want longer lunch times - many are only half an hour long. Staff value break times as a space where pupils can get physical exercise and develop important social skills.

Taking away outdoor space and controlling every aspect of the student's environment flies in the face of other government initiatives such as Every Child Matters, Learning Outside the Classoom, and worries about obesity etc.

To find out more, see: The Social and Educational Significance of School Breaktimes by Peter Blatchford and Ed Baines. Psychology and Human Development, Institute of Education, London.

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