What is homework and why is it set?
Homework is a task given to pupils by teachers to complete outside of their normal lessons, and forming an integral part of the teaching and learning process within that subject. It will be focussed and planned by the teacher to link in with what is being learnt.
The purpose of the homework may vary in that it may:
allow pupils to condense and revisit prior knowledge;
develop new skills such as research and independence;
enrich pupils’ wider understanding of the subject (leading to a development of cultural capital).
Ultimately the purpose of the homework set by the teacher will be to help students to progress and improve their understanding. Homework also provides an important link between school and home.
How can we support homework?
The EEF (Education Endowment Fund) has done extensive research and found that homework can give students an added 5+ months of academic progress. This is in addition to supporting the development of independence and study skills.
Where homework is set, it must be completed.
We realise that, at times, home circumstances can make this difficult for some students and so we offer a regular homework club after school on a Thursday, access to the LRC at lunchtimes, and dedicated support sessions within departments, at lunchtimes, where homework tasks can be completed, or assistance with homework sought.
How does a student know what homework is set and what if there are difficulties?
Homework is set on ClassCharts.
All pupils are given a ClassCharts log-in that is unique to them. All parents and carers are also given their own, separate, ClassCharts log-in. This allows both parents and pupils to view homework set, as well as getting real time information about a pupil’s day in school through, for example, achievement or behaviour points being awarded in class.
The lessons a pupil has each day and what homework is set, and when it is due in, can be seen. Any member of staff can remind a student of their ClassCharts login, and the school office should be contacted to resolve any parental access issues. In addition, should a student have any difficulties accessing equipment to complete their homework, this should be raised as soon as possible with the student’s Tutor.
How is homework feedback given?
Feedback takes two forms. The first is a recognition that a piece of work has been completed to an acceptable standard. This is done through positive behaviour points on ClassCharts. Secondly, feedback that moves learning forward may be given directly to the student verbally, or to the whole class, or it may be done through follow-up tasks that address any possible misconceptions raised by the homework. Feedback may also be given in the form of written comment.
How much homework should there be?
The school expects teachers to set homework that is meaningful and purposeful rather than dictate a certain amount, and an idea of the amount of time students should spend on a particular homework may be indicated on ClassCharts.
In Years 7 and 8 a pupil should expect to spend 30 minutes on a piece of homework. In Year 9 this may increase to 40 minutes per piece, and in Years 10 and 11, 1 hour per piece set (not including revision activity).
Teachers will either identify a specific amount of time on ClassCharts, or the homework may consist of a larger piece of work that is broken up over a number of homework sessions (for example, a project with a specific outcome).
It is possible that despite a pupil working with great effort and sustained focus on a piece of homework, the homework may not have been completed by the time indicated. In such a case, parents and carers should simply write a note to acknowledge that they have witnessed their child working with endeavour on the piece of work, and that this is the point they got to after, for example, 40 minutes for a Year 9 student.
This ensures that there is a limit to how long a student is spending on their homework, and that they have time to relax or enjoy sport, time with family etc.
When is homework due in?
This will be indicated on ClassCharts.
Homework is not set with an expectation that it is due in the following day, and in many cases it will not be due until the following week. An important part of developing independence is managing homework timings, and so we ask parents and carers to view the homework set and encourage their child to complete it as soon as possible, therefore assisting them in learning how to manage their time and work.
What if homework is not handed in when due?
This will be indicated on ClassCharts.
The student will be instructed by their teacher to attend a lunchtime support session, run by the department, to enable them to complete the task set. The purpose of the support session is to remove any barriers, for example, in terms of understanding or being unable to access the task and/or equipment, and thus ensure that the pupil is not disadvantaged.
Importantly, the support sessions also raise teacher awareness of any needs a pupil may have in terms of completing the homework. In some cases, a short extension to the deadline may be offered, although this is at the discretion of the individual teacher.
Should a student refuse to attend the homework support as required, a detention will be awarded and shown on ClassCharts, as the pupil has refused to follow an instruction given to them. The homework must still be completed and handed in.
Please note: We currently have a staff group working with stakeholders with a view to redeveloping our Homework Policy.