It was good to see the belief that longer days equal better education being fairly reconsidered.
As a technology college, Haberdashers Aske's does have a longer day. We start with breakfast at 7.45 am and finish at 5 pm four days a week and at 3. 15 on Fridays. We divide the extended time between staff and student requirements. On two days, the extended hours focus on staff needs and meetings and on the other two days on enrichment activities for students. Such a balance is essential. We believe our students benefit from the increased opportunities and can still cope with a normal weekly homework schedule. Staff benefit because successful teaching relies on well-organised and well-prepared staff and staff need time to achieve this. But the effects of the longer day on staff and students do need to be monitored.
The number of days worked over the year by students and staff is also relevant here. The greater number of staff days expected and the fewer student days worked in some schools would be a good point for discussion.
Dr E M SIDWELL
Haberdashers' Aske's Hatcham College, London SE14