Many students can relate to the exhaustion at the end of the day, when coming home from school only means countless hours of more homework, revision, and consolidation of the tough lessons throughout the day. To combat this, some schools have introduced study period during the school day, which take up the same time as lessons but in which the students are free to complete any work they need to do. 

Students can also use this time catch up on from missed lessons. This has become an increasing problem because of the COVID pandemic, with students having or choosing to isolate when testing positive and having to deal with the many inevitable technical issues that may occur while streaming lessons online. Of course, the work can still be messaged over as worksheets or information sheets, but when some students are suffering from more severe symptoms, they may be simply too sick to do work. In such cases, study periods become particularly useful; they allow students to catch up to speed once they recover, and in an educational environment such as free classrooms or even the library. 

Although study periods are common in Sixth Forms, as students tend to have less lessons in total with only 3-4 subjects, many students in KS3 and KS4 are not allowed this opportunity for improvement. However, this may be down to the responsibility that students must have in order to time-keep and organise themselves well to make their study periods beneficial. Newstead Wood student Maria Alexandru-Chidesuic, who has had one hour of study per week since the start of this academic year, acknowledges “that some people take advantage of study periods and don’t use the time productively.” She advises that “You definitely need self-control, determination, and responsibility” to use the extra time well, which may be harder for younger students who have not yet started revising for their GCSEs or A Levels, explaining why it is rare to find study periods in most secondary schools. 

However, for dedicated students, there can be many benefits to having free time at school to study. Maria prefers to do revision during this time, and finds it “quite useful, especially in the summer term with end of year tests coming up”. Even throughout the year, she has many end of unit or topic tests across a wide range of subjects, from sciences and maths to Spanish, so she always finds a beneficial use of her time. When not revising for a test, she consolidates the work she did in class, which has been linked to a quicker and more long-term memory retention of the content she is taught. 

Stephanie Omojogberan, also a Year 10 student at Newstead Wood who has had study periods during two terms so far, agrees “that study periods are beneficial”. She finds that they allow her to “concentrate and focus on what you are doing, it's very quiet and peaceful”, therefore she is able to procrastinate less and get more work done during school and have more free time at home. Some students can find it harder to work at home where there are many more distractions in their surroundings than there would be in an educational, professional setting such as a classroom or library, so study periods allow them to fully set their minds to the appropriate tasks. Stephanie also enjoys the independence that she gets, because as opposed to revision lessons or lunch time sessions where teachers tend to go over the topics that the majority of students struggle with, study periods are “much more personal and tailored to your own needs”, which allows for more focus and precise revision and avoids wasting time on topics she is confident on. 

There are clearly many upsides to having study periods as scheduled parts of the school day. Students are able to revise more efficiently in an educational environment with fewer distractions, can have a more relaxing evening at home to relieve stress, and have a more personal approach to their education. However, not all students, especially in younger years, are motivated or organised enough to use their time wisely, so end up getting distracted and not learning up to their full potential. They may require some guidance in effective revision techniques and set tasks to complete during lessons. Study periods really are beneficial to more experienced students but should not be introduced in KS3 at least as a regular part of the timetable.