Homework is anything children do outside the normal school day that contributes to their learning, in response to guidance from the school. Homework encompasses a whole variety of activities instigated by teachers and parents/carers to support the children’s learning. For example, parents or carers who spend time reading stories to their children before bedtime are helping with homework.
Rationale for Homework
Homework is an important part of a child’s education, and can add much to a child’s development. We see homework as an important example of cooperation between teachers and parents/carers. One of the aims of our teaching is for children to develop as independent learners, and we believe that doing homework is one of the main ways in which children can acquire the skill of independent learning.
Homework plays a positive role in raising a child’s level of attainment. However, we also acknowledge the important role of play and free time in a child’s growth and development. While homework is important, it should not prevent children from taking part in the activities of various out-of-school clubs and of other organisations that play an important part in the lives of our pupils. We are well aware that children spend more time at home than at school, and we believe that they develop their interests and skills to the full only when parents/carers encourage them to make maximum use of the opportunities available outside school.
The aims and objectives of homework
- to enable pupils to make maximum progress in their academic and social development;
- to help pupils develop the skills of an independent learner;
- to promote cooperation between home and school in supporting each child’s learning;
- to enable some aspects of the curriculum to be further explored independently;
- to provide educational experiences not possible in school;
- to consolidate and reinforce the learning done in school, and to allow children to practice skills taught in lessons;
- to help children develop good work habits for the future.
Types of homework
Staff and pupils regard homework as an integral part of the curriculum – it is planned and prepared alongside all other programmes of learning.
In Foundation Stage children will have phoneme cards to take home. We ask that parents listen to their children read every day. We also believe that parents should read books to their child. Sharing books is just as valuable in aiding a child’s progress in reading as is your child reading to you or to their teachers.
In Key Stage 1 we ask parents to support their child through home learning. This includes reading daily for about fifteen minutes. (Remember this can include sharing books and you reading to your child.) In addition, Year 1, children will be given either a weekly phonics, English or Maths activity and Year 2 children are set a weekly Maths, English or comprehension task. We also encourage parents to help with spellings and to discuss their school learning. During holiday times the children could be asked to complete topic based tasks.
Practical activities such as weighing cooking ingredients, handling real money and familiarising children with measures are of great value. Sometimes, homework is for children to talk about a topic at home prior to studying it in school. When we ask children to study a topic, or to research a particular subject, we encourage them to use not only the school library but also the local library, as well as the Internet and CD- ROMs. Investigations are offered to children to further support class work. We encourage parents to spend free time with their children on enjoyable sharing activities, for example cooking, painting and dressing up.
At Key Stage 2, we continue to give children the sort of homework activities outlined for Key Stage 1,including the reading activities specified above but we expect them to do more tasks independently. Children will generally have one piece of Maths work and one Literacy based task every week; there may also be homework related to Topic or Science. We also set homework as a means of helping the children to revise for examinations, as well as to ensure that prior learning has been understood.
Homework is always acknowledged and, according to the task, is either marked or used in class to support learning. For example, whereas a Maths task would be marked according to the school marking policy a topic research task may be shared in the lesson or used as part of a group activity.
Homework completed well is acknowledged and praised. There may be issues arising from the work, which the teacher will follow up in lesson time. We recognise that children have individual learning styles, which means that some tasks can be completed in a number of different ways, while others demand a particular approach.
Amount of homework
As they move through the school, we increase the amount of homework that we give the children. We expect children in Key Stage 1 to spend approximately one hour a week on home activities, and this may well include reading with a parent. We encourage children in Years 3 and 4 to spend approximately one and a half hours on homework type activities per week, and children in Years 5 and 6 to spend approximately two hours a week.
Inclusion and homework
We set homework for all children as a normal part of school life. We ensure that all tasks set are appropriate to the ability of the child, and we endeavour to adapt any task set so that all children can contribute in a positive way. When setting homework to pupils who are named on the register of special needs, we refer to those pupils’ Individual Education Plans (IEPs). We value and celebrate the cultural diversity of our pupils and their families, and we appreciate the enrichment that this brings.
The role of parents and carers
Parents and carers have a vital role to play in their child’s education, and homework is an important part of this process. We ask parents and carers to encourage their child to complete the homework tasks that are set. We invite them to help their children as and when they feel it to be necessary, and to provide them with the sort of environment that allows children to do their best. Parents and carers can support their child by providing a good working space at home, by enabling their child to visit the library regularly, and by discussing the work that their child is doing.
Ideally parents should read with their children every day to help them develop a love of books and stories and help them to grow in confidence. We ask parents and carers to sign their child’s Reading Record to show that they have heard their child read and discussed their books with them. This will contribute to the reading incentive, Read and Discover, where children can earn rewards if they read a number of consecutive reads in a row.
If parents and carers have any questions about homework, they should, in the first instance, contact the child’s class teacher. Finally, if they wish to make a complaint about the school homework policy, or the way in which it is implemented, parents or carers should contact the Head of Key Stage in the first instance and, should concerns still remain, the Headteacher. Homework is seen in part as a preparation for the more independent learning undertaken at secondary school. If homework is not completed a standard format letter is sent home informing parents and asking for their support. If the situation is not resolved parents will be asked in to see the Head of Key Stage.
Use of ICT
A copy of the school’s E-Safety policy is available from the school office and may also be found on the school website. The child’s safety is paramount in all matters regarding use of the internet and we advise parents and carers to always supervise their child’s access to the internet.
The use of ICT and the Internet has made a significant contribution to the amount of reference material available at home, and the ease and speed with which it can be accessed. However, our teachers expect their pupils to produce their own work, perhaps by editing something they have found, or by expressing it in their own words. The children are not achieving anything worthwhile by copying, pasting and printing out something that has been written by somebody else. There are many websites containing highly educational material which can have a powerful effect on children’s learning.
We discourage children from bringing computer disks or memory sticks into school, because of the risk of viruses. However, when appropriate, a teacher might suggest that a child’s work is e-mailed to the teacher at school.
Monitoring and review
It is the responsibility of our governing body to agree and then monitor the school homework policy. This is done by the committee of the governing body that deals with curriculum issues. Our homework policy is reviewed annually by the Headteacher in consultation with teaching staff.