Schools should stay open for longer to allow pupils who have fallen behind in their education to catch up, Nadhim Zahawi has said.

As reported by The Times, the education secretary’s long-awaited plans for education in England over the next decade say state schools should offer a 32.5-hour week — the equivalent of 9am to 3.30pm — and should be encouraged to open for even longer if possible.

This should be in place for primary and secondary school from September next year, which was revealed in the Government's White Paper on Children's Education.

In the official White Paper states: "Considering the wider benefits of increased time for pupils, including more opportunities for learning, socialisation with peers and enrichment, we will also encourage all mainstream state-funded schools to explore going further than 32.5 hours if possible."

Surrey Comet: Schools will be asked to open for longer (PA)Schools will be asked to open for longer (PA)

Zahawi said on the topic: "This is levelling up in action. The Opportunity for All White Paper will deliver for every child, parent and family, living anywhere from rural villages, to coastal towns through to the largest cities, by making sure all children have access to a school that meets our current best standards, harnessing the incredible energy and expertise of the one million people that work in schools.

"Any child who falls behind in maths or English will get the support they need to get back on track, and schools will also be asked to offer at least a 32.5 hour school week by September 2023."