Aberdeen uni to study if later starts could help your teenager perform better at school

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Researchers from the North-east will work on a trial to test whether starting secondary school later could help pupils perform better.

The project will be undertaken by experts from universities including Aberdeen, Birmingham and Oxford and they are recruiting schools to take part.

They will examine whether deviating from the traditional early start times in schools will help benefit a teenager’s school work and well-being.

Evidence indicates that youngsters aged between 14-17 need at least nine hours of sleep to function well but many are getting far less which is limiting their academic performance.

The experiment aims to find out how feasible it would be to change a school’s start time and cost implications as well as comparing the mental health and academic outcomes for teenagers who start times changes compared to others.

Dr Stephanie Thomson from the University of Aberdeen will work in partnership with the universities on the trial.

Professor Paul Montgomery, lead researcher from the University of Birmingham, said: “We want people to be aware that sleep deprivation in adolescents is a real problem which affects their functioning, their wellbeing and even their academic performance.

“We want to work with schools, with parents, pupils, teachers, head teachers, support staff, local education authorities and civil servants to run a number of studies to find out what the ideal starting time is, and how schools can manage this.”

The sleep study will focus on teenage students and researchers are asking secondary schools to get in touch if they would like to be a part of the programme and to help collaborate on what needs to be done for a later start time to become feasible in practice.

Any school looking to take part in the trial can contact the researchers via bit.ly/2FfXsrH