Some schools are starting at 8:15 a.m.! Does it affect school performance?

A few schools in Portugal, such as Vergílio Ferreira High School in Lisbon, are starting at 8:15 a.m. in many classes. As far as iSleep could find out, this school schedule was adopted by this school due to the need to comply with the stipulations concerning the time that shall elapse between the students’ lunch hour and the starting time of physical education classes.

This early rise schedule may, however, causes poor school performance in students. Last week, at the World Education Congress, held in Lisbon, the neurologist Alexandre Castro Caldas, director of the Institute of Health Sciences of the Portuguese Catholic University, argued that the academic performance of students can be improved if the school day is adapted to the sleep rhythm of teenagers, who go to bed later. The specialist exemplified than in the US the students’ outcomes improved when it was decided that classes would start later. “The kids were more awake, they could work better. One must be aware of teenager’s sleep patterns”, he told Lusa.

Castro Caldas also considers that activities at school, such as acting and music lessons, can help students to improve their performance: “Acting, for instance, is a way of stimulating memory [because] one has to learn a text by heart”. He further claims: “People come up with the idea that computers should be introduced at school in a very early age, but Portugal is one of the countries with most computers and maybe is not the right thing to do, because Portugal does not show the best results”.