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School trials later start time

Published: 2:12PM Thursday May 04, 2006 Source: RNZ/One News

Wellington High School is trialing a later starting time to the school day in a move the school says has helped teenagers stay more alert during lessons. 

The school has changed its timetable so year 12 and 13 students can start at 10:15am. It says giving senior students an extra hour's sleep-in has resulted in teachers noticing a difference in student performance. 

"Students have arrived at school refreshed, a lot keener to engage in class and staff are really making favourable comments about students' willingness to take part in lessons and to learn," says deputy principal Richard Wilkins.

The big sleep in is something teenagers have always yearned for.

Earlier this year the school's budding film students made a documentary on why teenagers need to sleep in longer.

Dr Anglea Campbell from Wellsleep told the documentary makers that normally brains secret melatonin, which makes people tired, just before they go to bed, but in teenagers that is delayed. That means they get to sleep later and therefore wake up later. 

The trial will continue until it is reviewed at the beginning of the fourth term.