We are in the middle of summer break around here (and in most American school systems), which for our kids is around nine weeks.

That’s more than the six-week vacation students in England and Wales get, but less than students in Finland and Sweden.

On top of that, English students spend many more hours in school every year than most other European nations, not to mention the US.

Since one key philosophy of many school reform programs says that more time in the classroom will lead to greater learning (that’s correct isn’t it KIPP?), the kids in England must be doing pretty well, right?

But there is no evidence that spending so many more hours in the education system delivers better results – in fact, the countries with the lowest teaching hours have the most successful systems.

Each year, the OECD [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] publishes a report comparing the performance of education systems in the industrialised world.

And this shows that the countries which have the lowest number of hours in the classroom – Finland, Norway, Sweden, South Korea and Denmark – are also among the countries with the highest level of achievement.

There are certainly other factors in the educational successes of those countries but possibly on thing they’ve learned is that there are more important factors in teaching and learning than student seat time.

education, reform, seat time