TEENAGERS in Scotland's biggest education authority are at the centre of a radical proposal to allow them to start school at 10am to account for differences in their body clocks.
A motion has been put before Glasgow City Council for the youths to be allowed start classes an hour later than younger pupils.
Local councillor Dr Nina Baker said academic research backs her belief there are learning benefits in allowing a later start to account for teenagers' different biological make-up.
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The Green Party member has examined academic research that found teenagers require different sleep patterns compared to young children or adults, in order to work at their best.
In her motion, which will be raised to the council tomorrow, she states: "A waking up time of 7am for a teenager is the equivalent of a 5am wake up call for an older adult.
"The normal school start time of 9am means that many or most teenagers arrive at school much more tired than their teachers, with proven bad results for memory and learning.
"UK schools that have experimented with a school day starting at 10am for teenagers have found that the youngsters achieved higher grades."
In 2009/10, Monkseaton High School in North Tyneside found that after starting lessons from 10am, instead of 9am, general absence has dropped by 8% and persistent absenteeism by 27%.
The UCL Academy in London became the first school in Britain to introduce a 10am start for its sixth-form pupils this year.
Its sponsor, University College London, found 16 to 18-year-olds perform better when they start later in the morning.
However, some critics believe a bigger impetus should be put on tackling those factors that disrupt sleep, such as TV and computer games, which can lead to sleep deprivation and decreased productivity.
Neil Shaw, headteacher of Boclair Academy in Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire, said he has worked in a number of schools with varying start times, including 8.35am, and did not see a difference in pupil performance.
He said: "The issue here is perhaps not about when the school day starts as when they go to bed of an evening.
"I'm a bit sceptical because I have worked in a system where the children started half an hour earlier in the day and I saw no evidence that children were educationally or academically disadvantaged by that."
A spokesman for the largest teaching union, the Educational Institute of Scotland said: "It is very unlikely that such an initiative would find favour with parents and teachers.
"Any such move would require consultation with parents and teachers over a period time.
"While we will be interested to hear the arguments for a change, at this point we remain unconvinced of the merits of this proposal."
Jane Ansell, chief executive of charity Sleep Scotland, which supports people with severe sleep problems, said "What is more important is that young people get more information on what happens to them when they sleep and how they can use sleep to benefit better grades and a healthier lifestyle."
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said it would look at the results of any future Glasgow pilot on 10am starts.
The council declined to comment.