Homework: Key Principles
At Wanstead, we define homework as any tasks given to pupils by their teachers outside of usual lessons
We believe that it plays an important role in a student’s education; it gives them the opportunity to consolidate and practice the knowledge and skills that they have been taught in lessons, whilst allowing them to develop as independent learners.
Educational research suggests that homework is most effective when it is:
- Practice or rehearsal of subject matter that has already been taught;
- Clear and relevant; students should know what they are doing and why they are doing it. Specific guidance should be given for open tasks;
- Purposeful and planned for; the homework set should be an integral part of a sequence of learning and not just an “add on” or “optional extra”;
- Efficient and achievable; it should be able to be completed in a fair amount of time without help;
- Accessible; homework should be designed to allow students of all abilities to benefit from its completion. Support should be available either through the design of the task or from the teacher to those who may need it;
- Acknowledged; there is no expectation that homework should be teacher-marked, but it should be recognised by them and fed-back on in some way.
Educational research suggests that students make most progress when they are set between five and ten hours of homework per week, with more than this seeming to have a detrimental effect on learning. Bearing this in mind, the maximum amount of homework that teachers will set per fortnight for each key stage is as follows:
In KS3, subjects may set up to a maximum of twenty minutes per hour taught over the fortnight. This can be set either as short tasks or combined into longer pieces of work.
In Art and D&T, students are set Independent Learning Assignments which require the students to use their allocated homework time across a period of approximately 5 weeks, culminating in an extended project. Teachers will offer scaffolding and guidance at key points during the ILA to ensure students are supported with the task.
In KS4, each exam subject may set up to two hours per fortnight. As in KS3, this can be a combination of shorter and longer tasks.
In KS5, students should complete approximately twenty hours of study per week, in addition to lesson time. This will consist of a combination of teacher directed tasks (homework) and ‘self-set’ tasks (independent work). Teachers should be setting no more than one hour of directed tasks for every hour taught in order to allow students time to undertake their own independent work.
There is no expectation that teachers should set homework every lesson, or that they should set the maximum amount permitted each fortnight. In line with the educational research guidance, we believe that our students’ welfare is of the utmost importance to us and we believe that a healthy school-life balance is an important part of this. the quality of the homework set is much more important than the quantity and that homework set for homework’s sake is ineffective.
In addition to formal homework tasks and ILAs, all students are encouraged to read widely for pleasure and to support their literacy skills.
Please click here for a suggested reading list.
Most of the books listed are available in the school library and at local Redbridge libraries. We hope parents will encourage their children to make use of these facilities and read during their spare time.
How teachers will help students to develop an organised response to homework.
To support students with their personal organization in recording and completing homework tasks we have the following systems in place:
- KS3 students will have their homework tasks uploaded onto their tutor group Google Classrooms by subject teachers. This ensures that all students have access to the tasks and expected deadlines and also provides them with a helpful To-Do list to support personal organisation. They may also be expected to write additional information about the homework down in their student planners.
- KS4 and KS5 students are likely receive a mix of tasks, some of which will be uploaded to Google Classroom and some which will need to be recorded into their student planners. Where homework set is recorded in the student planner, teachers will ensure that it is set at an appropriate time in the lesson (ideally at the beginning) with plenty of time given for students to fully record details, including a due date and the time it should take to complete.
- Teachers will not set homework for handing in the next day. If the homework is due within five days of the lesson that it is set, students must be able to complete it within 30 minutes for KS3 and 4 and one hour for KS5
How we expect parents/guardians to support their children with homework.
Parents/guardians should check and sign their child’s planner weekly.
Parents/guardians should sign off any homework that the child has spent the maximum amount of time and effort on but has not been able to complete so that teachers are aware and do not impose sanctions on the student.
Parents/guardians should allow their child a suitable place and sufficient time to complete their homework. This could be in a quiet designated place at home or after school in the school library.