Reasons why staggered breaks in state schools should continue

By an educator.

In this article, I will speak about the benefits of having staggered breaks in state schools and why this practice should be continued. I am writing this article now, as the scholastic year 2021-2022 is looming at an end, so those involved in the planning and preparations for state schools should take this into consideration. Those preparing for the next scholastic year are at crossroads. They need to decide whether to go to pre-covid times, continue with the measurements that had been introduced during covid, or adopt a new strategy.

Covid has brought many changes in how our schools are run. One of these is that breaks are staggered for every year group. This means that during covid, breaks started to follow a different arrangement. Before covid, all the students in the school had their break at the same time. During covid, students ceased to have their break at the same time but it started to be staggered. This change felt peculiar to educators and students alike when it was introduced. However, after two consecutive years since its introduction, one cannot but praise this system. It turned out to be good practice and there is a consensus among most educators that this system should be kept.

Lest some of my readers accuse me of being a control freak, I can assure you all that I am not. But I am a firm believer in having order in a school. Staggered breaks have turned out to be a good practice because they are helping in keeping order in the school. Staggered breaks have supported schools in not having students running amok as used to happen before. Having only one particular cohort during the break is very effective for educators and students alike. Students are more contained and feel safe. I have gotten this feedback from students themselves. They are asking me whether they will have the same structure next scholastic year, as they are in favour of keeping this system.

Moreover, staggered breaks are proving to be very effective in controlling bullying. Let us not forget that bullying in schools is normally done by older pupils to younger ones. As breaks are now staggered, such occurrences have naturally diminished. Staggered breaks also produced lesser fights. In fact, in various schools, fewer fights were reported during breaks and there are fewer arguments between students. Moreover, there is a lesser risk of older students influencing younger ones.

In a world where viruses seem to be the order of the day – one has to here mention the various Covid 19 variants, monkeypox, and the looming threat of polio – it is important that such viruses are not allowed to run out of control in schools and that students are contained within their own structures. Given the current context, staggered breaks are the way forward when planning for the next scholastic year. 

One thought on “Reasons why staggered breaks in state schools should continue

  1. There are school leaders that are in favour of staggered breaks as they see it as a means of better control in minimising the occurrence of bullying in schoolyards during breaks since there are fewer students at one go. In certain schools bullying during breaks might prove to be a headache.
    Still, others are totally against it for the following reasons:
    1. Disruption coming from schoolyard whilst lessons are going on in other classrooms
    2. In Secondary schools staggered breaks affected negatively the various clubs during the break that gave a richer aspect to school life and the chance to students to excel in their talents, e.g. singing, drama, acting, sports activities, etc.
    Ideally, school leaders should be given the chance to decide for their school according to their contextual circumstances.

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