Teachers will be able to look after children after school hours under plans to help working parents.
Childcare minister Elizabeth Truss said too many school buildings sit empty for much of the day when they could be used by youngsters.
Rules which meant after-school clubs could look after fewer children than teachers will be scrapped and heads will be able to bring in outside companies to run services to cut down on paperwork.
A survey last week found that more than half of parents in the UK are spending more than 20 per cent of their monthly salary on childcare,
And nearly a third are spending 30 per cent on a nanny, nursery or child minder.
Many parents also struggle with getting their children from school to after-school clubs and childcare.
Miss Truss said that parents often find provision is ‘frustrating’ and allowing schools to stay open for up to nine hours a day would help ‘children who might otherwise slip’.
She added: ‘It would provide a safe, supervised place to do homework – and in particular, ensure everyone masters the core academic subjects – maths, English, sciences, languages, history and geography subjects that wealthier families have always encouraged their children into – and that our competitors like Germany and Poland now mandate for all children to at least 16.’
In a speech to the Resolution Foundation today, she announced major changes to the rules governing what schools can do after the official school day ends.
Miss Truss said: ‘It’s about the fact that we have school buildings across the country, sitting empty for hours of each day.
‘The fact that children need a broad, rounded education – which too many are currently denied. The fact that parents struggle to do the school to care run.
Under current rules if a school wants to bring in an external provider to run on-site care, they have to carry out new registrations.
If they want to offer extensions of the school day, they have to ‘struggle through a different set of staffing rules, different qualification rules, local consultations, and local authority permissions’, Miss Truss said.
Chiuldcare rules mean there must be one member of staff for every eight children aged five to seven, but in schools in is one to 30 in the classroom
Miss Truss said: ‘We’re making the staffing requirements for out-of-hours the same – so that the school doesn’t need to worry about changing the numbers of staff, just because the clock’s struck four.
‘We’re improving the child development guidance, so they don’t need to worry about meeting unnecessary rules about pedagogy and instruction.
‘And we’re removing unnecessary central rules around setting up after school clubs – so if they want to bring in an external childcare provider, they don’t have to worry about a pile of new paperwork.
‘So a longer school day; making it easier for schools to offer childcare; more sensible regulations.’
Source: Daily Mail