What Time Does Secondary School Start and Finish in the UK?

In General by Think Student Editor1 Comment

Every secondary school starts and finishes at slightly different times, depending on how that specific school structures the day. For instance, revision sessions, support groups, clubs, more timetabled lessons etc. will mean that different students will have longer or shorter school days; however, the school day for students doesn’t differ to a great extent. The questions that arise when thinking about secondary school are: what time does secondary school start/finish? What does the school day consist of? How long are breaks/lunches? Which activities are available at secondary school? This article seeks to appease any concerns you have regarding what occurs during the school day and what secondary school has to offer.

Ultimately, the timings, for every secondary school differs, so it’s difficult to conclude a specific time; however, on average the school day lasts for 5-6 hours. The average school day starts at around 8/9am and then ends at 3/4pm. The typical secondary school day starts at 8.30am and ends at 3.30pm; however, this differs depending on the school.

The above will give you a brief overview however, reading the full article will allow you to familiarise yourself with what the typical secondary school day consists of.

What time does secondary school start and finish?

Secondary schools tend to start around 8.0’clock and end at around 3.0’ clock; however different secondary schools have different starting and ending times. Most schools have specific days in which this time frame changes – this tends to be the Thursday or the Friday in which the normal school day is shortened by 1/2 hours.

Now whilst, for most students the normal school time allocated is the time that they will be in school; for some students they will be required to partake in revision or support sessions to catch up with their work. For instance, for GCSE exams students are sometimes allocated compulsory time slots after school, to support students with their learning and to ensure the best possible outcome when they are to sit their exams. These revision/support sessions are sometimes voluntary; however, the compulsory ones will mean that you school day will definitely be elongated – usually only for an hour or two.

Clubs and extra-curricular in secondary schools are usually voluntary; however sometimes they are made compulsory, to encourage your participation with a sport /skill. These sessions are usually short and don’t tend to require a long-term time commitment. Again, they will elongate your school day; however, they don’t last long and are normally worth the time commitment.

If you are interested in school days world-wide, I recommend you read this useful article.

What does a secondary school day consist of?

A school day consists of 3-9 periods – usually secondary schools have 7/8 periods, but this depends on school. During the first 2 years of secondary school and even the first 3 years (depending on when you start your GCSEs), your timetabled lessons are more varied and then when you start your GCSEs your lessons are less varied.

In some school days, students will have assemblies addressing societal issues or problems in the school or the year group. Assemblies are usually done by heads of years or senior members of staff – they last around half an hour and for most schools this only takes place once a week.

For some schools that are founded on religion, the school day may consist of daily prayers/ activities for students that develop spirituality and religiosity. This may take place in the form of starting/ ending the school day with prayers or having sessions in which certain elements of religion are focused on and practiced.

Even when you specialise in certain courses at GCSE, there are still compulsory courses like science, maths, English, a foreign language, a humanities subject; however, you can choose the other subjects you want to take. This can be art, drama, music, citizenship, design technology, sociology, psychology etc. Though this will mean you have to give up some subjects as schools do tend to limit the amount of GCSE subjects you take.

All school days consist of a break and lunch in-between lesson times to break them up, unless a school day is shortened, and you have been made aware that the break/lunch will no longer take place. For most schools you will have 2, 2-hour periods, before and after your break and lunch.

After these hours you may have a club or revision support session, which will mean that you are in school for around 1/2 hours longer. These are only voluntary if you show that you are able to work well independently and don’t need further school involvement.

How long are school lessons?

Again, every school will deal with timetabling differently, so timings will differ across the UK. However most single period lessons last for around 1 hour – sometimes 50 minutes/70 minutes – and double period lessons last for around 2 hours. Students tend to have more double periods the older you are in secondary school, so younger years aren’t as likely to have 2 hours of the same subject.

How long are school break times?

School breaks last around 20/30 minutes – this again depends on the school that you go to. Usually, students are able to freely go into the school library or out onto the playground.

How long are school lunches?

Lunches tend to last around 30/40 mins, but this timing differs. If the students have a longer break, it usually means they are allocated a shorter amount of time for lunch. Due, to COVID lunches and breaks have generally been reduced in schools. lunches, during more normal times students have been able to go into the library, go out onto the yard, go into computer rooms etc.

Which clubs do secondary schools offer?

At secondary school options for activities are move varied, especially in comparison to primary school. Clubs tend to be split into 3 categories: sports, creative arts and further education. So most secondary schools offer basketball, netball, football, drama club, art club, reading club, computer science group etc.

Schools tend to offer opportunities in which students have the opportunity to name clubs they are interested in and if enough people are, teachers will create new clubs. For instance, anime clubs have become increasingly popular – so some secondary schools have anime clubs.

To find out more information about which clubs are available at your school check on your schools website or talk to your teachers.

4 7 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
7 months ago

but when do we finish school at the last day of term