£6m Research Project Asks: Could A Lie-In Could Help Teenagers Perform Better At School?

14/08/2014 16:57 | Updated 20 May 2015

Teenage boy sleeping on the bed

Could a lie-in improve our teenagers' performance in schools? That's one of the questions being asked by a £6 million research programme to investigate how neuroscience can help improve education standards.

The researchers will look at sleep patterns to determine whether teenagers benefit from a later start to the school day because their brains do not function so well early in the morning.

Some schools have already experimented with the idea. Monkseaton High School in North Tyneside moved to a 10am for older pupils but reverted to 8.50am.

And the UCL academy in north-west London, changed its start-time for sixth-formers to 10am - but so far there has been no rush to see whether staggering school hours would help improve learning.

A more thorough investigation would determine whether it would be worth introducing such a scheme on a wider scale.

Dr Hilary Leevers, of the Wellcome Foundation, said the research could also be used to test out the claims made by manufacturers of various devices (iPads etc) for their effectiveness in improving children's learning.

She said: "There has been very strong marketing of products but we should be saying to them 'where is your evidence for this?'"

She argued they should be put under the same kind of advertising scrutiny as other commercial products - and the kind of research envisaged could help with that.

Ultimately, the Wellcome Foundation and the EEF, which was set up by the education charity the Sutton Trust to break the link between family income and educational attainment, want to build up a mass bank of evidence which will show how schools could make the best use of neuroscience to determine the best way for their pupils to learn.


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