(...and children and staff members)
After a half-term trial, ‘before’ and ‘after’ surveys and plenty of thought, we have produced a homework policy which is available to read on the school website. Thank you for offering your opinions throughout the process: we always value information which helps us improve our practice. The results of the surveys are also on the website. A very brief summary of the key findings:
- As expected, there is no such thing as a unanimous opinion when it comes to homework!
- The menu approach is well-liked. Giving children choice increases their ownership and sense of responsibility. To ensure the tasks cater for a wider variety of learning needs, some tasks should be designed with slightly more challenging options available for higher attainers/more confident children. Teaching staff will develop ways of encouraging children to attempt a wide variety of activities. That is, children should feel enthused to attempt different types of activity each week. However, as the menu approach is all about pupil choice, it will ultimately rest with the children to decide what to do. The illusion of choice is surely worse than no choice at all!
- We will make it clearer which tasks are compulsory and where certain activities fall with respect to level of challenge. The children should know which tasks will require more independence, thought and - importantly - time.
- A wide range of feedback opportunities need to be provided. Traditional ‘marking’ isn’t the most effective way to give children information about their learning. Through discussion with the class and with individuals, teachers and teaching assistants will identify and act on areas of challenge as they emerge in the homework tasks.
- Children and parents/carers should be given better opportunities to see the work produced - we will showcase Topic homework every half-term with the children; we will continue to develop ways of sharing completed work with parents/carers/children.
- The expectation of children in KS1 to complete 6 homework tasks a week (3 Literacy and 3 Maths) is perhaps a little heavy. Instead, children in KS1 will be expected to complete two Maths and two Literacy tasks each week. Of course, children are welcome to complete more should they wish.
As mentioned in the email which introduced the trial, homework is one of the most divisive subjects for stakeholders in any primary school. We don’t claim to have a perfect system which will make every member of our community completely happy. However, we are confident that the policy and the menus have been produced with the children’s enjoyment, wellbeing and academic interests at the forefront of the decision-making process. Now that the policy is written, we will ensure that any variations in homework will be minor ‘tweaks’ and not wholesale changes.
Please feel free to speak to us about the policy should you have any questions.