Extra funding will be available to allow at least a quarter of secondary schools in England to extend the school day, chancellor George Osborne will announce in the Budget today.
The government wants more schools to be able to remain open after the traditional "home time bell" at 3.30pm. They will be able to bid for funding to offer five hours or more a week of additional lessons or extracurricular activities including sports and art.
Ministers say the new flexibility will enable many secondaries to tailor the structure and duration of their school day to suit their pupils' needs.
The money will come from part of an extra £1.5billion of education funding being announced in the budget today. But the package is unlikely to alleviate the concerns of many schools facing a worrying combination of rising costs and pupil numbers, but real terms budget cuts.