A MOVE that would see the start of the school day moved to 10am has come under fire.

A petition asking for the change was debated in parliament yesterday.

More than 182,000 people have signed the online appeal, with campaigners saying it would boost productivity and help combat exhaustion in teenagers.

But one school leader in Swindon argued that a change would disrupt pupils’ learning and families’ day-to-day lives.

Linda Culling, principal of the new Deanery Academy in Wichelstowe, said pushing back the school day was not the best way forward.

She said: “I’m not keen on the prospect. I would actually like to see schools adopt longer schooling hours. I don’t think starting the day later would benefit pupils. Longer days would be better as it means pupil could get their work done in school with the trained professionals who can teach them and then not have to worry about things like homework.

“Starting later would mean that pupils would spend less time with their families if it resulted in making the day end later and spending time with the family is something that is important.”

Mrs Culling added: “Social routines would be affected with parents that drop their children off in the morning on the way to work having to change their plans or find alternatives.

“Ultimately starting the day earlier would be better as it would mean more work done in school with the help of teachers, more time with families and less hassle for social routines.”

Swindon South MP, Robert Buckland said although he could not take part in the debate due to being a minister he thought later starting times would only cause problems.

He said: "As a parent of teenagers I am very much aware of their need to have a lot of sleep!

"Schools already have the power to set their own school day but a later starting time could cause problems for other family members who start their day earlier.

"If young people are encouraged to get a decent and lengthy nights sleep before school, then normal hours should apply."

Any petition that manages to get more than 10,000 signatures is given an official response from the government and any with 100,000 signatures is put before the UK Parliament to be debated.

The petition said: “Teenagers are so tired due to having to wake up very early to get to school. The government should require secondary schools to start later, which will lead to increased productivity at school.”

In a statement on the petition, the Department of Education said: “The government has given all schools the ability to set their own school hours so all have the autonomy to make decisions about the timetable and duration of their day, including the flexibility to decide when their day should start and finish.

“The department has not made an assessment of these decisions taken by individual schools.

“In the event that a school decides to make changes, it should act reasonably, giving notice and considering the impact on pupils, teachers, and parents’ work commitments and childcare options.”