NEW HOMEWORK POLICY
As a school, we have recently decided to change our homework policy in the light of research that shows homework for primary school aged children offers no clear benefits and can actually harm children’s prospects by causing stress, sleep loss, family conflict or even confusion when parents and schools use different methods.
As a result, we have decided not to set weekly homework for Maths and Literacy and to revise our approach to Home Reading, Times tables and Spelling.
The half-termly topic-based homework projects will continue as normal. These are explained in the Year Group Newsletter that we send home each term. Each child is asked to prepare a project of their own choice based on their topic work – this may be a poster, a 3-D model, a piece of art, anything that explains or demonstrates some aspect of their topic work that has caught their imagination. This is normally due towards the end of each Topic.
We realise that our home-school Reading Rocket scheme has been losing its impact and we are currently developing our “100 Books” scheme into a new home-reading initiative. While homework generally offers no benefits, home-reading is one area where parents really can help. Until our new scheme is ready to be shared, we ask that you please continue to read as much as you can with your child at home. Every minute you can spare reading with your child – no matter what the book – will fire them up with ideas, facts and literacy skills that they can use for the rest of their lives. It should seem like fun, not “work”.
After Christmas, we will be launching a new home-school initiative for a “Times Tables Sheriff!” This will provide parents with a toolkit of activities they can use to help their children. Meanwhile, we ask parents to continue helping their children to practise times tables at home. Year 3 should focus on 2x, 10x, 5x, 4x, 8x and 3x (in that order!). Year 4 should revise the 3 x tables and also learn 6x, 9x, 7x 11x and 12x (also in that order). Years 5 and 6 should revise all of the times tables up to 12x, focusing on ensuring the pupils are as fluent and speedy as possible (they should be able to answer each question correctly within 5 seconds). It is best to start by learning a new times table in order by writing it out, saying/singing it aloud, etc. (e.g. 3×1, 3×2, 3×3, 3×4, 3×5 …). Then move onto asking questions in random order. It is very important that the children can then go on and move between multiplication and division for each times table. For example, if they know that 5 x 7 = 35, they should also know that 35 ÷ 5 = 7.
Learning to spell by memorising lists of words is ineffective for most pupils. Many pupils will remember how to spell the words for a few days and then promptly forget and spell the words incorrectly when they use them in their writing. Rather than learning lists of words at home, we have a structured programme in class for learning spelling rules and patterns that will allow pupils to work out how to spell new and unfamiliar words by identifying the patterns. If you would like to continue to help with spelling at home, we will send home lists of spelling words required in the National Curriculum. There are approximately 100 words on each list that need to be learned by the end of Year 3/4 and by the end of Year 5/6.
Thank you for your patience while we redevelop our homework policy. Please contact your child’s teacher directly if you need any further information. They will be happy to advise you on how you can help at home.
Mrs S. Marsh