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Do schools need to be clearer about the evidence for setting homework?

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Dec 6, 2018 at 12:54 PM.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    Are primary schools setting too much homework, the right amount or not enough? Do children really benefit from doing the extra work? Is it a waste of time for teachers and children or is it a difficult balance to achieve the right outcomes and progress for pupils? Would it help parents if schools outlined the reasons why it’s beneficial for children to complete their homework?

    ‘One parent told me that to retrieve their child’s homework, they have to access a shared drive – navigating a complicated sign-in process – and print out worksheets for their child to fill out and return to school. And then, they start on the maths websites with assigned activities which need to be completed each week. The child is seven years old…

    At a recent ‘meet the teacher’ event at our school, one parent raised the issue. This parent wanted homework – traditional, workbook-type homework – and so did their child. And they wanted the teacher to set it for them each week. The teacher’s response was that they have tried issuing standard homework before, and nine times out of ten, it doesn’t get done. The message seemed to be: it’s a waste of time.’

    Fiona Hughes is a freelance writer.

    What are your views about the issue? Will educating parents about the importance of homework really make a difference to make sure that all work is completed?

  2. bessiesmith

    bessiesmith Occasional commenter

    At my children's primary school there are quite a lot of homework tasks set - virtually all of which are (thankfully) optional.
    In my opinion, apart from listening to my children read and testing them on tables and spellings, I don't want to be bothered with any other homework tasks and children of this age are unlikely to do homework without parental involvement. My children do lots of extra-curricular activities, including practising their musical instruments and we often talk about things which might be considered educational - I also want them to have some free time to do silly things and enjoy being children.

    Other parents might feel their children need a boost in school or less unstructured time so some interesting and optional educational activities suggested by the school could be welcomed.
    aypi likes this.
  3. maggie m

    maggie m Established commenter

    Why do primary school children need all this homework? I remember learning spellings, time tables and reading.The same for my 2 girls. I did okay BSc 2.1 ( in the days when these were much scarcer). My girls did fine 2 BSc's, an MA and PhD between them. A colleague was telling me recently that her 6 year old son gets 45 mins homework every night. Ridiculous! In some countries he wouldn't even be at school.
    bonxie likes this.
  4. simonCOAL

    simonCOAL Occasional commenter

    A lot of research evidence (Hattie’s stuff) says it’s a waste of time at primary stage.

    As a profession that increasingly demands evidence for anything and everything, we are good at avoiding it when it doesn’t suit our way of doing things.
  5. Lalex123

    Lalex123 Occasional commenter

    I feel that if the majority of students need homework to help them access the curriculum (even though they are a switched on and enthusiastic learner) something is fundamentally wrong with the system.
    Oldfashioned likes this.
  6. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Senior commenter

    Of course!

    I have been given a letter of expectations (informal capability) partially because of not using SMHW enough.

    Despite a blanket email to all teachers that they were not using SMHW enough.
  7. Oldfashioned

    Oldfashioned Occasional commenter

    I object fiercely to homework. I think encouraging kids to believe you need to work at home, as well as during the day, sends out the wrong message about work life balance and simply feels like feeding them into the dreadful work, work, work mentality encouraged by the establishment.

    I also object because what I teach during the day is more than sufficient and I don't think pupils need more to do at home.

    I object because I see my own children suffer this nonsense and worry about squeezing it in between the various clubs and activities they do in the evenings. They will gain more from these activities than more maths homework.

    I object to homework because it is now simply another check box for SLT to check up on teachers, it creates more marking and admin.

    The pervasive nature of homework/school life is eroding childhood. Instead of carefree lives,children are starting to feel ever more tied to their academic life. Just let them go home and be kids.

    In year 11, fine, encourage revision but otherwise schools should be homework free. This isn't Victorian England and the devil won't fill the time of idle hands.

    Of course never forget: the good kids, the workers, will mostly do homework; the kids who don't work in class (presumably the ones that those in support of homework would say need it most) won't do it or do very little. As such, nothing is gained.

    Oh, and while I'm at it: Show My Homework! what a load of utter b o l l o c k s that is. As if school budgets aren't tight enough. Even if you insist on homework there's no need for this. It is nothing more than a way of SLT checking up on...TEACHERS! ***
    maggie m, Alice K and simonCOAL like this.
  8. simonCOAL

    simonCOAL Occasional commenter

    Sums it up nicely.
  9. bevdex

    bevdex Star commenter

    Every study ever done reaches the same conclusion - homework does not substantially increase attainment in any way. It's a complete b a l l ache to set, mark and monitor AND we have a homework scrutiny by the head and deputy next week. Get rid of it!
    simonCOAL and bonxie like this.
  10. simonCOAL

    simonCOAL Occasional commenter

    And here we have the nub of the problem.
  11. slstrong123

    slstrong123 New commenter

    I am a firm believer in homework in secondary school for core subjects. When I first started teaching (10 years ago) recommended homework for my core subject (maths) was 30 minutes per week for KS3 and 45 minutes per week for KS4. I still stick to this and my experience is those that make the effort to do the homework tend to do better than those that don't. Personally not a huge fan of homework in primary although listening to my own children read 4 or 5 times a week, helping them learn spellings and timetables I think is sensible homework for that age group. Maybe a bit more on year 6 to help with the transition to secondary school.
  12. Lalex123

    Lalex123 Occasional commenter

    The issue then is consistency. If you write it into policy that core subjects will set homework but others don’t, it becomes unfair.

    How do PE, music, woodwork and other practical subjects set meaningful homework at KS3 that are relevant to their age and skill set? Practical ability are the focus in these subjects so theory work tends to turn most children off and is often too complex to explain in 1hr per week.

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