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September 2017
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  1. Home work

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    A good, well-managed homework programme helps children and young people to develop the skills and attitudes they will need for successful lifelong learning. Homework also supports the development of independent learning skills and provides parents with an opportunity to take part in their children’s education.

    It is good practice for headteachers to regularly review the management of homework in the curriculum and to bring DCSF guidance to the notice of staff, governors and parents. They should also consider the amount of time that pupils of different ages and aptitudes spend on homework and how the school involves parents and their representatives in discussion and evaluation of homework policy.

    Effective homework 
    Learning at home is an essential part of good education. Regular homework is important as it gives pupils the opportunity to practice at home the tasks covered in class, and helps the pupils work towards improving important skills. It also helps children and young people to become confident and independent in their learning, which will help throughout their time at school and in adult life.

    School homework policies 
    The best way to ensure that everyone understands what is expected is for schools to have a written homework policy, which should be publicly available on request. Homework policies should set out clearly what the purposes of homework are, and should include information regarding: 

    • developing a home-school partnership
    • consolidating and reinforcing skills and understanding
    • extending school learning.

    In primary schools, the focus of homework should be on the important skills of literacy and numeracy. Regular reading at home, especially reading with parents, should be encouraged. 

    Older pupils in primary schools should be given other tasks such as finding out and preparing information as well as traditional writing tasks. This helps to ease the transfer to secondary schools. 

    In the upper echelons of secondary schools, the emphasis is on following up work done in class, consolidating learning and completing examination projects. However, schools should ensure as far as possible that homework amounts to more than merely finishing off tasks begun at school. 

    In ensuring an effective homework policy, the school should consider the questions set out below.

    • What is appropriate homework for all pupils, especially for those with special educational needs?
    • Who should ensure that the homework demands on pupils are consistent and manageable? At secondary level, a homework timetable is recommended and the amounts of homework should be co-ordinated by subject and pastoral staff. 
    • How can pupils be encouraged to value homework and how are parents to be involved in the process? 
    • How are the setting and completion of homework tasks to be monitored? An increasing number of schools use homework diaries or planners, signed by parents and teachers. 
    • What facilities other than the home can be made available for homework? The DCSF Extending Opportunity framework describes the contribution that can be made by homework clubs.
    • What system for monitoring and evaluating both the whole school and individual subject policies would be appropriate? 
    • How much time for homework should be required, bearing in mind that other activities, such as extra-curricular sport and music, are also important in supporting pupils’ studies.

    Schools may also wish to include study support and out-of-school-hours learning in the homework policy. Study support activities may include homework and study clubs, sports and outdoor activities, community volunteering and mentoring.

    Recommended time for homework 
    Every school will consider how much time is appropriate for pupils at each stage, according to their aptitude. The Government’s recommended time allocation, based on current good practice, is set out in Homework: Guidelines for Primary Schools and Secondary Schools, as follows;

    Years 1 and 2

    1 hour per week

    Reading, spelling, other literacy work and number work

    Years 3 and 4

    1.5 hours per week

    Literacy and numeracy as for years 1 and 2, with occasional assignments in other subjects

    Years 5 and 6

    30 minutes per day

    Regular weekly schedule with continued emphasis on literacy and numeracy, but also ranging widely over the curriculum

    The daily reading recommended by the government for all primary children can be done as part of the homework. 

    At secondary level, the Government recommends that the time spent on homework or GCSE coursework should fall within the following ranges: 

    Years 7 and 8 

    45 to 90 minutes per day

    Year 9 

    1 to 2 hours per day

    Years 10 and 11 

    1.5 to 2.5 hours per day

    In Years 12 and 13 the amount will depend on the students’ individual programmes. However, both students and parents will need guidance on what has to be achieved and how much time it might take to achieve the required standard. Most schools set out course requirements in manuals at the beginning of the courses, with flow charts indicating what has to be submitted and when. Implementation

     

    • Schools will ensure that homework is an integral part of the curriculum and is planned and prepared alongside all other programmes of learning.
    • Pupils will record and ensure their understanding of the homework tasks and demonstrate a commitment to spending an allocated time doing the tasks set and handing the work back on time.
    • Parents and carers will encourage and monitor homework and inform the school if an issue arises.

    Homework policy should be promoted throughout the school, and its implementation and effectiveness should be reviewed annually. This is to ensure that teachers and parents are completely clear about what is expected of pupils in terms of homework and how it should be organised and managed.
    A good, well-managed homework programme helps children and young people to develop the skills and attitudes they will need for successful lifelong learning. Homework also supports the development of independent learning skills and provides parents with an opportunity to take part in their children’s education.

    Bindu Sharma

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