Teenagers may perform better in lessons if they get a lie-in but teachers are morning people

What is preferable - grumpy teenagers or grumpy teachers?

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The Independent Online

Just a word of caution about the research commissioned earlier this month into whether teenagers would do better in exams if they had an extra hour's lie-in before starting lessons in the morning. An early steer from an experiment carried out at Monkseaton High School in North Tyneside would seem to suggest that they would – their ability to learn improves later on in the morning.

However, if you ask teachers for their views on the subject, you come up with a very different set of findings. Asked what is their favourite time for teaching a class with difficult pupils, their response was that first thing in the morning is best. It figures, I suppose. Perhaps it's because the pupils have not quite woken up by then.

It is, perhaps, a difficult task for headteachers. After all, do they want to be faced by grumpy teenagers in the morning or grumpy teachers in the afternoon?

Meanwhile, it has been quite a month for former education secretaries revisiting their old domain. As reported last week, at the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference, David Blunkett revealed that his favourite education secretary had been Kenneth Baker.

Now Alan Johnson has just become a patron of the Letterbox Club, the Booktrust's targeted reading programme for children in care, and launched the charity's latest initiative last week. The club provides children with fun ways to enjoy reading and maths.

Mr Johnson, readers may recall, was only saved from going into care himself when his sister insisted she could look after him when their mother died. He said of the scheme that it "provides the means for disadvantaged children to escape into another world and, through doing so, helps to transform their lives."

Of course, Mr Johnson is at present being tempted to return to another arena – that of front-bench politics, in time for the 2015 general election. His stay there, I suspect, may be a longer one.

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