The education select committee wants schools to consider a 12-hour day to help working-class white British pupils, and also paying teachers in tough schools more.
Figures show that poor white British pupils perform worse in GCSEs than any other ethnic group, the Telegraph reports. Just under a third of them left school last summer with five A* to C grades, compared to six other ethnic groups, ranging from 76.8% of Chinese pupils to 43.2% of black Caribbean pupils.
The Commons education select committee says longer school days should be considered by schools to give poor British youngsters ‘space and time’ to do their homework. It found that these pupils spend fewer evenings each week doing homework and are more likely to play truant than their peers from other ethnic groups. The MPs recommended that schools should “provide time at the end of the school day for children to complete homework”, extending the usual seven or eight hours to 12, running lessons and extra-curricular activities from 7am until 7pm.
The move has already been backed by Michael Gove, who introduced new rules giving schools extra powers to extend the school day and the academic year.
The committee’s report stated: “Poor white children in rural and coastal areas have been ‘unseen’ for too long; unless steps are taken, the potential of white working-class children will be left unlocked, and the effects of the current trend will continue to be felt beyond the school gates.”
The MPs also suggested that teachers working in tough schools should be offered incentives such as higher wages, because institutions serving deprived white communities “need a better chance of winning”.
Do you agree that a longer school day is the solution to underachievement in white working-class pupils? And would paying teachers in tough schools more help the problem?