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How long should kids have for lunch? And how long do yours get?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by scienceteachasghost, Feb 9, 2016.

  1. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    I have always been a passionate believer that short (ie. minimum 30 minutes) lunch breaks effectively damage some children's ability to socialise with peers (and learn social skills) in a day and age where pretty much every lesson has to have a non friendship group based seating plan. When I was in secondary in the 1990s, only ONE teacher imposed a seating plan on us! Given the pressure on teachers to cover content and show that progress has been made, kids can't 'socialise' in lessons like we used to!

    I have always said kids should get 1 hour. I know what the opponents will say, 'we would finish later' is the most common, often followed by a childcare argument (Which, as a single male I know it is easy to criticise!) Or 'behaviour deteriorates in a long lunch break! (So as a teacher you enjoy teaching 5 hours with 5 hours 45 minutes to do it in and that's before break duty and detentions etc?)

    Now I'm not suggesting we adopt the ways of certain continental neighbours, we do not have the climate for a siesta break from 12 midday to 4-5pm and I'm not suggesting a protracted lunch where the vin rouge is popped out! (please forgive the stereotypes, they are for humour only and I intend no 'national racism.') But in a world where kids are on PS4/tablets when at home and not building dens in the woods, schools should afford them a decent social break?
    nrobinson_beds, cissy3 and InkyP like this.
  2. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    I agree. Same goes with holidays.
  3. FritzGrade

    FritzGrade Senior commenter

    My child got 1:15. Just enough time for running club or other activity plus lunch. I thought that was tight compared to my 1:45.
    Don't schools do stuff at lunchtime? Sport? Music?
  4. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    'I agree. Same goes with holidays.'

    THAT argument is a whole can of worms and has been done before - my only addition here would be if you're gonna have 6 weeks, it should be in the actual Summer (like the Scots do) and not bloody Autumn (aka August.)
  5. xena-warrior

    xena-warrior Star commenter

    Lunch hour. The clue's in the name.
    When I started teaching, school started at about 9 and finished at 4. There were two 15 min breaks and an hour for lunch. 8 lessons of 35 mins each, most double periods, and a registration. Much the same as when I was at secondary school.

    Over the years, the day started earlier and ended earlier; I don't know why. The second break went as studies (sigh) showed that behaviour deteriorates after a break; and the 4-period morning and 1 period afternoon was born. Lunch went to 35 mins, so clubs stopped. Just enough time to queue up for lunch or a trip to the loo, but sometimes not both.

    I understand that some people would prefer the school day to be nasty and brutish if it must, but at least short, but personally I find the whole thing has taken on the atmosphere of a factory conveyor belt. Shunted from class to class, all lessons an hour long regardless of its unsuitability for many children of shorter attention span, it seems fraught, and something to be got out of the way as quickly as possible. I found the atmosphere during the more stretched-out day to be much more pleasant.
    cissy3 and scienceteachasghost like this.
  6. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Yes, they do, but staff need a break too, so a choir practice needs to leave them with a bit of time for themselves.

    As the daughter and sister of music teachers, I know just what hard work running choirs etc and rehearsing performances can be.
  7. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    We got an hour when I was at school (and many of my happiest memories of school were at lunch!) Every school I have worked at has 30 minutes now
    IceCreamVanMan likes this.
  8. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    Monday and Thursday 1 hr 5 minutes; other days 50 minutes. Not too bad. We have a 4 period am, 2 periods after lunch.
    IceCreamVanMan likes this.
  9. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    An hour, at least.
    30 minutes isn't enough to leave the building or, in some school, feed those who choose not to leave the building.
    I've seen 45 minutes work but in a rural school where everyone ate in the canteen because there was nowhere else to go and was keen to get the bus home in something approaching daylight.
  10. Sillow

    Sillow Lead commenter

    Each school I've taught at (primary) has given 1 hour, although I know friends who've had 90 minutes, with 30 of those given to guided reading groups and the like.

    When I was in secondary I think it was 1 hour 15mins. That gave enough time to eat and attend a club for 45 minutes, which I did each lunchtime.
  11. dominant_tonic

    dominant_tonic Established commenter

    45 minutes, soon to be 35 minutes. I am a music teacher. No chance of rehearsals in that amount of time. By the time kids have got their lunch, 20 minutes tops. Trying to get a dying music dept off the ground, the kids are willing and we'd get there, but not if the proposed cut goes ahead, not least because that effectively reduces my break to 0. At the minute I have 3 lunchtime clubs and wanted to do a GCSE software thing as well, no chance. Not going to happen.
    ibran003_312 likes this.
  12. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    55 minutes.
  13. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    My last school had 20 minutes at 10.30 and 30 minutes from 12.30-1.00. Mind you, by the time you'd left the classroom, you'd lost a few minutes and you needed to be ready for registration at 1.00.
  14. ibran003_312

    ibran003_312 New commenter

    We only have 50 minutes as the lunch 'hour', which, I don't think is enough time to serve the whole of our high school. Even if, and that's a big IF, the lunch hour in the UK changes, they will make lessons longer or make the hometime go from 3:30 pm to 4:00 pm.
  15. ibran003_312

    ibran003_312 New commenter

    Yet, they still give us sanctions for being late to your registration or class. It's unbelievable.
  16. sparklepig2002

    sparklepig2002 Star commenter

    We have an hour (primary) but there is a wide range of clubs for the children to chose from.I agree with the OP. Lunch times are a good opportunity to develop much needed and rapidly disappearing social skills.
  17. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    I get a 30 minute lunch break, which is just long about enough to prepare and eat a bacon sandwich whilst fighting off the dog who imagines half of it ought to belongs to him. Longer would mean he'd expect me to be pestered by throwing his toy for him to retrieve and play his tedious game of fighting me to get it off him. Then be asked to take the little sod for a walk along with a poo bag. I don't need that. 30 minutes is plenty long enough.

    Lunch breaks when I was at school kid were around an hour and a half, which I think was round about a decent time. It gave enough time to to queue for dinner, kick a ball around if you wanted to and have a fag behind the bike sheds.

    Julian Clary, says he has fond memories about the lunch breaks he spent puffing on a fag behind the bike sheds at the posh school he attended and I expect David Cameron and Gideon will tell you they have fond memories of those occasions too, if you ask them. I would imagine their fags all have fond memories of it as well.
  18. madenglishgirl

    madenglishgirl New commenter

    We get 40 mins, with 3 100 minute long lessons - Lesson. 15 min break, lesson, lunch, lesson and finish at 3.15 - which seems just about right. When I was a student, lunchtime was 1.5 hours (but we were allowed to leave the site and head into town 5 min walk away with 5 hour long lessons and finished at 4pm. At my previous school we only got 25 mins, which seemed a bit short, but with 6 50 min lesson and an early start, we were finished with the school day by 2.25pm.
  19. annie2010

    annie2010 Occasional commenter

    45 minutes; Morning Break is 20 minutes.
    Quite usual for secondary, I suppose.

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