Templestowe College, in Melbourne’s Eastern suburbs, will offer three distinct start times from 2014 in response to research around adolescent sleep patterns.
Students will have the option of starting school at 7.15, 9 or 10.15am, with corresponding finish times of 1.15, 3.30 and 5.15pm.
Aside from the additional nightmare this creates for the time-tabler (!) and the potential additional burden on teachers to work longer days, the benefits of such a common-sense approach would appear significant. The system would enable working families, especially single-parent families, considerably more flexibility to align school drop-offs with work hours required by their jobs, or minimise the amount of time students spend at home unsupervised. It opens up the opportunity for early morning sport practice in the cool summer mornings without the need to get up before dawn, depriving teenagers of crucial rest and recovery time. Most of all, however, it recognises that not every student functions well at either end of the day, and that if we are serious about catering for individual learning styles, we should take into account not only the mode of delivery but also the time at which it occurs.
For more information on this initiative, as well as some of the other innovative practices that Principal Peter Hutton has introduced at the school, read the article from The Age (18/02/13) or visit the school website.