Monday, 29 January 2018

Homework for Primary School Children? Yes or No?

I firmly believe that children up to 11 should only have to take home spellings, learn their times tables and read in their own time. Everything else should be completed within the school day.

Occasionally a project about 'what I did in my school holidays' is quite a nice thing to do, but other than that, their time at home should be spent enjoying time with family, friends and any additional activities they may be involved in.

Homework, certainly at my daughters school, seems unnecessarily excessive. My daughter can spend hours on it over the weekend, and then be expected to read for an hour a day and learn her spellings. My daughter wants to do well at school and feels the pressure to complete this work, not just half heartedly, but well. As a result, her weekends disappear into just doing homework.

I wouldn't mind quite as much if my daughter had any feedback for her homework or, after she has learnt her spelling if the teacher actually did the spelling test at the time she has advised the class.

Last week, Lola, my daughter, learnt her spellings and then there was no test (this has happened more times than I would like to say). And to my knowledge I have seen no feedback for any homework.

Here is Lola, one weekend when she was doing some modelling for a local vintage clothing maker

Lola recently spent time building a 3D model for her homework, she put time and effort into it as her class was told that they were to do a presentation to the class of this project. This was prior to the Christmas holidays, Lola didn't get to do the presentation and has since been sent home with the said project as they were 'cluttering up' the class room.

So what was the point?

I spoke to Lola's teacher at parents evening and said I felt that they were providing too much homework for her age group. The teacher agreed with me and said she had to give as much homework as she was because that was what Michael Gove, had decided when he was Education Secretary from 2010 - 2014, however, based on my research, after that meeting, Michael Gove scrapped the government guidelines for homework in 2012 and left it to the discretion of the Head Teacher of the school.

I have also checked the school website, to see if there is any kind of definition on there for the amount of homework Lola should be receiving. If there was, and Lola didn't do the homework the school could come back to us with sanctions. There is not. Although, apparently parents are supposed to receive a homework schedule at the beginning of every term. I have had a child in this school since 2007, I haven't ever seen a homework schedule.

At the parents evening I said, I felt it was more important that Lola spent time with the family at the weekends, for example going to see my father, her grandfather with dementia, and attending her dance competitions, lessons and exams as they gave her good discipline and team working skills. The teacher agreed, and said that if Lola couldn't manage to do her homework because of this, I should just write her a note and to explain.

A couple of weeks later, this happened, Lola completed most of her homework but not all of it, so I wrote her a note, which she gave to the teacher. The teacher then berated her in front of the whole class and said that she wouldn't get away with this at secondary school. Since then Lola has felt additional pressure to complete all her homework.

Pressure is a key word here, year 6's are put under a ridiculous amount of pressure to succeed in their SATs, as this has a marked impact on the schools Ofsted rating. Yes, it may effect what set they start off in, in secondary school, but as my 15 year old says, it makes no difference in the long run as you do a whole raft of tests when you arrive at secondary school and they will move you accordingly after that.

So at the moment, I have steam coming out of my ears whilst I attempt to help Lola with subordinating conjunctions and coordinating conjunctions. All I keep thinking is ...

SHE IS ELEVEN - LEAVE HER BE!!!

All I know is when I was 11, I didn't do homework, I read, learnt my spellings and times tables and did the odd project. I did alright at school, I got a degree and I managed that whilst still being allowed to be a child.

I would love to know what you think about this.

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