Children who watch television for several hours a day can significantly outperform other students who view considerably less, a new study suggests.

The study, our of the University of London, determined children who watched three or more hours a day were three months ahead of those who watched less than an hour a day, according to the Daily Mail.

Dr Alice Sullivan, the lead author of the report and senior academic at the university's Institute of Education, said the value of children's television viewing on the education had been "underestimated".  

Dr Sullivan said watching TV may help "expose some children to a broader vocabulary than they get at home".

She admitted the results were "contrary to expectations".

The study also found that other family rules like insisting on regular bed or meal times, make only a relatively small difference to their child's academic success.