Free schools plan longer pupil days
Children could have longer terms and stay later each day as the Government's new free schools spearhead a move to shake-up the academic year.
The Norwich Free School, which is expected to open in September, plans to open six days a week for 51 weeks of the year, Education Secretary Michael Gove said.
Freedoms granted to free schools, and academies, which allow them to set their own staff pay and conditions, has meant that they are able to change the school day to fit their requirements.
In a speech to the Policy Exchange think-tank in London, Mr Gove said: "Free schools offer a genuine alternative and they have the freedom to be different. Like the Norwich Free School, which will integrate high-quality education and child care year-round.
"The school will be sited right in the heart of Norwich so that working parents can make full use of the affordable extended school provision, which will be available on the school premises for six days each week, 51 weeks of the year."
The Norwich Free School's website says it will run an "extended service" paid for by parents, before and after school. The only time it will be closed is for a week at Christmas and bank holidays.
The school is also planning to split the year into six terms, with a two-week break between each and four weeks off in August. The West London Free School, spearheaded by writer Toby Young, which is also due to open in September, says it expects pupils to stay in school, or at music and drama clubs until 5pm between Monday and Friday.
Mossbourne Academy, which was opened under the last Labour Government, already operates a longer school day and opens at weekends.
Speaking at Policy Exchange, the academy's executive principal, Sir Michael Wilshaw said the school has helped to raise standards by having the children stay in school until "six, seven or eight in the evening". New contracts to extend teacher hours have helped to achieve this, Sir Michael said, and means "children are not going home to a chaotic home life".
A Government spokesman said: "Free schools and academies can open year-round if they want to," adding that many are planning to experiment with the school term.