Free scheduling in everyday school life – this innovative idea is now becoming reality in the high school in Plochingen, a small town in Baden-Württemberg.

In Plochingen, students in class 7a are allowed to decide for themselves twice a week whether they want to start classes regularly at 7:50 a.m. or not until the third period at 9:40 a.m. This flexitime in class will be tested in a six-week project. “” reports on this

A dream for many young people? Definitely, but the model is much more than just an improvement in comfort. It is based on the results of a survey initiated by Till Richter, a German teacher at the Plochinger High School. “I simply asked them ‘What bothers you most?’” the teacher told “” about his motivation. The students’ main problem: starting school early.

The interim result of the flextime model after half of the project period is consistently positive. The students prove to be more motivated and achieve better results. Till Richter is enthusiastic about the change. He told “”: “I had a lot more good conversations, the atmosphere is great.” A result that seems to have a positive effect not only on learning, but also on the general school climate.

The positive feedback is hardly surprising when you consider the scientific findings on the sleep needs of young people. Studies, including those from the Robert Koch Institute, confirm that many young people don’t sleep enough. Only 60 percent of 13 to 17 year olds achieve the recommended amount of sleep. This is not due to a lack of discipline, but is a consequence of the biological rhythm, which leads to a late phase of activity, especially during puberty – young people are predominantly “later owls”.

The chronobiologist Till Roenneberg also emphasizes in his book “How we tick” that young people in this phase of development become “true night owls”. Starting lessons early therefore conflicts with your natural need for sleep and can even have a negative impact on your Abitur grades. The flextime model at the high school in Plochingen takes this into account and enables students to organize their school day according to their individual rhythm.

About half of the class takes advantage of the later start to school offer, which also benefits early risers. Smaller classes allow for more intensive teaching and more individual support. The innovative approach has already attracted national attention, even the Prime Minister of Baden-Württemberg, Winfried Kretschmann, praised the model.

It is still unclear whether the Plochinger flextime model will catch on. The success of the project depends on many factors. Till Richter sees the ball in the students’ court: It’s up to them to decide whether they want to take up the model again next school year. The teacher emphasizes that there are still many aspects to consider before a comprehensive introduction could be implemented. But the innovative attempt could provide the first impetus for a comprehensive change in teaching times in the German school system.