Stagger the school day start!

There’s lots of research that suggests it’s bad for older kids — especially teenagers — to start the school day as early as we do. Older kids’ brains want to get up later and stay up later. So we are dragging them out of bed and packing them off to school to sit in front of teachers before their brains (the kids’, that is, not the teachers – though come to think of it…) have not really woken up.

And all the school-related traffic is adding to road congestion and peak demand on the public transport infrastructure. There is some slightly tired research from the Institute of Advanced Motorists (an oxymoron, surely?) that suggests the school run does not contribute as much to traffic congestion as is popularly believed. On the other hand, there is an insurance industry report cited by Living Streets which claims that the school run has replaced the work-related rush hour as a major cause of congestion (though to be fair, it’s proved impossible to find the report itself, only the Living Streets comment on it).

Can’t we at least experiment with varying the school start time? What about a pilot somewhere to see what impact it has on traffic congestion? The government has thought about this before, but nothing seems to happen. Can someone please investigate what the barriers are and then sort it out.

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