Thousands of teenagers are to be encouraged to have lie-ins on weekdays to see if it improves their exam results.
A major investigation is being launched at 100 secondary schools to establish if a later starting time of 10am for lessons will help boost pupils’ GCSE grades.
The move follows an experiment at Monkseaton High School in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, in which the percentage of pupils achieving top-grade GCSEs, including maths and English, rose from 34 per cent to 50 per cent when a later start was introduced. The change was most marked among disadvantaged pupils, whose performance rose from 19 per cent to 43 per cent.
"Recent advances in our understanding of the neuroscience of sleep have shown that the body clock of teenagers is delayed," said Professor Russell Foster of Oxford University. "Our project will be the first to explore whether a later start to the school day, along with educational programmes regarding the importance of sleep, will have a positive impact upon both academic performance and overall health in the teenage population."