Emma Seith

Should schools have longer lunch breaks?

For decades, lunch breaks have been shrinking – apparently because of reductions in numbers of support staff and fears about student behaviour beyond the school gates. We still call it a ‘lunch hour’, but research suggests that few Scottish secondaries now enjoy a full 60 minutes. Given widespread concern about young people’s health and wellbeing, and the opportunities that breaks provide for relaxation and extracurricular activities, should we be having longer lunches, asks Emma Seith

Lunch breaks are shrinking, but we need 60 minutes

In French schools, lunchtime is seen as a lesson where pupils learn to eat good food in a civilised manner – it is not just 20 minutes “where you have to stuff your face as fast as you can”, explains US documentary maker Michael Moore in his film Where To Invade Next.

The documentary, released in 2015, looks at which social policies the US might want to adopt, and it features Moore visiting a primary school in rural Normandy, where he joins pupils for one of their hour-long lunches – which includes a scallop starter, as well as a cheese course.

Pupils in France are entitled to 30 minutes ...

Subscribe to continue reading

Get full access to our magazine to keep up-to-date with the latest education research, insight and analysis – including audio articles and back issues

Other articles in this issue