Homework Policy in Primary Schools: A Review of the 2015 Guidelines
Homework is an important part of the learning process for primary school students. It helps them to consolidate and extend their knowledge and skills, as well as to develop positive attitudes and habits towards learning. However, homework also needs to be appropriate, manageable and meaningful for both students and parents.
In 2015, the Department for Education in the UK published a statutory guidance document for schools and local authorities on homework policy. The document outlines the key principles and expectations for setting and marking homework, as well as providing some examples of good practice. The document also recognises that homework policies may vary depending on the context and needs of each school and its community.
Some of the main points from the 2015 guidance are:
Schools should have a clear and consistent homework policy that is communicated to parents, pupils and staff.
Homework should be set regularly and in line with the national curriculum requirements.
Homework should be differentiated to meet the needs and abilities of individual pupils.
Homework should be understood by pupils and parents, and not be seen as an onerous task.
Homework should be marked in accordance with the school's marking policy, and feedback should be provided to pupils on their progress.
Homework should not contain new work that has not been covered in class, or assessment items that are done at home.
Homework may include reading, spelling, vocabulary, number facts, calculation, research, written assignments, handwriting or other tasks to extend work done in class.
The amount and frequency of homework should be appropriate for the age and stage of the pupils. The guidance suggests that homework for primary school pupils should not exceed 1.5 hours per week in total.
The 2015 guidance also encourages schools to involve parents in supporting their children's homework, and to provide them with information and advice on how to do so. Schools should also monitor and evaluate the impact of their homework policy on pupils' learning outcomes and wellbeing.
The 2015 guidance aims to help schools to develop effective homework policies that enhance pupils' learning experiences and achievements. It also recognises that homework is only one aspect of a balanced and broad curriculum that supports pupils' development as learners and citizens.
While the 2015 guidance provides a general framework for homework policy in primary schools, it also acknowledges that different schools may have different approaches and practices that suit their specific contexts and communities. For example, some schools may have more or less homework than the suggested amount, depending on the needs and preferences of their pupils and parents. Some schools may also have more flexible or creative ways of setting and assessing homework, such as using online platforms, portfolios or projects.
To illustrate this diversity, here are some examples of homework policies from different primary schools in the UK:
North Park Primary School in Durham has a homework policy that is aligned with the 2015 guidance, but also emphasises the importance of parental involvement and feedback. The school provides parents with a homework booklet that explains the purpose, expectations and benefits of homework, as well as giving tips and advice on how to support their children. The school also encourages parents to communicate with teachers about their children's homework progress and difficulties.
St Joseph's Primary School in Cairns has a homework policy that is based on the principles of quality, balance and choice. The school recognises that homework should be meaningful and relevant for the students, but also manageable and enjoyable for them and their families. The school allows students to choose from a range of activities that cover different areas of the curriculum, as well as personal interests and hobbies. The school also encourages students to reflect on their learning and set their own goals for improvement.
Woodlands Primary School in Kent has a homework policy that is focused on developing independent learning skills and fostering a love of learning. The school does not set any formal homework tasks for its pupils, but instead encourages them to pursue their own interests and passions outside of school. The school provides pupils with a list of suggested activities that they can do at home or in the community, such as reading, writing, drawing, cooking, gardening or visiting places of interest. The school also invites pupils to share their learning experiences with their classmates and teachers.
These examples show that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to homework policy in primary schools. Each school has its own vision and values that inform its homework practices. However, all schools share a common goal of enhancing pupils' learning outcomes and wellbeing through effective and engaging homework. aa16f39245