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Shorter breaks may harm social skills;In brief

BREAKS have got shorter in recent years, according to new research, and children's social skills may be suffering. They have been cut partly because pupils were behaving badly, says Peter Blatchford of the Institute of Education. But teachers also cited a need for more teaching time.

Comparing breaks in primary and secondary schools in 199091 and 19956, he found that in 56 per cent of primary and 44 per cent of secondary schools, the length of breaks had changed. Lunch had got shorter and the afternoon break had often vanished. Blatchford found that playtime helped children form friendships and learn to avoid confrontation.

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