Rob Pavis, Deputy Head (Pastoral) at Gordon’s School explains the benefits of an extended school day

Billed as a solution to anti-social behaviour in London by the Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield, extended school days have been part of the fabric at Gordon’s School in Surrey since it first opened its doors in the late eighties.

The thinking behind the extended school day – which runs every weekday from 7.00am until 7.30pm – was that it would integrate day boarders and residential boarders better and make their daily school life as similar as possible. Students going back to their homes at night do so after sport, supper and prep. They are also expected to be at school on Saturday mornings for sport or other co-curricular activities. In addition, they join the residential boarders on a few Sundays during the year to take part in parades and chapel services. The extended school day system is supported by all.

Working parent Vicky Genetay commented, “It’s brilliant. They’ve done their prep at school which means that when they come home we can all enjoy family life. There’s no ‘have you done your homework?’ in our house and it ensures their prep is done well.”

In addition, Mrs Genetay pointed out that it gets students used to long days for when they start university or a job. Her son Luc particularly enjoys the activities before prep: “It’s like having 90 brothers on site and I don’t have to go home and argue with my sister!”

Lewis, a day boarder concurs: “You get to have a better social life; you talk more to people and you get your prep out of the way.”

Teacher Klaudia Gibson says the results of the school – in the top 1% for progress in England and Wales at A-level and the top state school in Surrey for the number of entries to Russell Group Universities – are in no small measure due to the extended day.

“Prep done in a disciplined environment like their classrooms is more likely to produce good results from students,” she said. “There are less distractions than there would be at home and help on hand from a teacher if they run into difficulties.” Agreeing with her, Freya Keppel-Compton who boards at the school commented, “Prep at school encourages you to get work done. You are more productive. At home there are more distractions – the classroom environment is better.”

She added, “I really like the fact that we get to have a lot of extra-curricular opportunities. Having supper and prep, especially in the younger years is really helpful because if you are confused about something you can ask a teacher.”

Of course there are downsides to doing prep at school – it does limit the excuses for not handing it in and certainly precludes the excuse of the ‘the dog ate it’.

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