Wake to the facts

23rd January 2009 at 00:00

I was puzzled that the figure of 14.5 per cent was described as the proportion of a child's waking hours spent in school ("Get them on side", TES Magazine, January 9).

Given that children spend around six hours in school for about 190 days a year (1,140 hours), if this were 14.5 per cent of their waking hours, they would be awake for 7,862 hours a year - or 21.5 hours a day.

Here is a more accurate - and meaningful - calculation. On weekdays, there are only a couple of precious hours in the evening for time with my children, after getting them to and from school and sorting out dinner. That time is for us to spend as a family, for chatting about the day and reading books we like, for the two children to play together, and for just chilling out.

Good parenting certainly does improve a child's educational outcomes - and many, many other things too - but it has nothing to do with letting schoolwork spill over into family time. And if schools do their jobs properly, it shouldn't need to.

Helen Joyce, Cambridge.

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