AN EDUCATION expert has argued against plans to lengthen the school day in Wales.

This month, the Welsh Government announced that 14 schools will be trialling a longer day as part of plans to overhaul education in the country.

Data from YouGov shows that almost a third (30 per cent) of Welsh parents oppose the move, but over half (54 per cent) are in favour.

A similar spread of opinion is found across the UK, with 32 per cent against the plans, but 58 per cent believing it’s a sensible step.

Interestingly, older Welsh parents are far more supportive of the extension than younger ones, with three quarters (75 per cent) of over 55s backing the trial. In contrast, only 28 per cent of 35–44-year-old parents agree, and just 53 per cent of those aged 25-34.

Dr Nick Smith, Principal at Oxford Home Schooling and the Oxford Open Learning Trust, does not see any need to lengthen school days.

“I am not aware of any strong positive correlation between the number of hours of study and educational attainment, at least above a certain minimum threshold," he said.

"The quality of teaching and learning skills is far more important than the quantity. Half an hour of active, focused learning is much more effective than a two-hour stint in which boredom and tiredness take their toll.

“So I see no case for an arbitrary increase in the duration of compulsory learning. Indeed, there is a strong case for a reduction. It is certainly possible to be a straight-A student without studying all day every day.”

There was a largely negative reaction amongst Leader readers to the proposal.

Charmaine Davies said: "I personally wouldn't want my kids in school for extra hours. They spend enough time in school and extra hours would mean I lose out on precious time with my kids."

Andrew Walker agreed with Dr Smith's assessment.

"It will of course depend on the quality of the teaching the kids receive during their days," he said.

"Perhaps educational days need to be smarter not longer."

Jeanette Batty said: "No, I love having my kids at home and not only that teachers have families too."

Julie Jones added: "No I don't agree. They are not kids long, I know they need an education but they also need family time and life experience just as much.

"We should have a work / life balance, and kids should have school/ life balance."