Homework

Home learning is any activity which students are asked to do outside lesson time either on their own or with parents or carers. Home learning contributes toward building responsibility, self-discipline and lifelong learning habits. It is the intention of the Queen Elizabeth’s School staff to assign relevant, challenging and meaningful homework assignments that reinforce classroom learning objectives. Home learning assignments should provide students with the opportunity to apply information they have learned, complete unfinished class assignments, and develop independence.

Guiding Principles of the Home Learning Policy

  • This policy statement is developed in consultation with all stakeholders, and is reviewed on a regular basis;
  • Staff and pupils regard home learning as an integral part of the curriculum - it is planned and prepared alongside all other programmes of learning;       
  • The foundations of effective home learning practices are established early on and develop progressively across all key stages;
  • Home learning is set and managed effectively and contributes to the challenge of raising attainment;
  • Home learning tasks are differentiated and are appropriate to the needs of individuals;
  • The support of parents and carers is essential. They assist in many ways, for example, helping their children at home, monitoring home learning, providing encouragement, and even assisting with the marking of home learning assignments;
  • Home learning assignments are marked according to the general school marking policy;
  • The quality of completed assignments is monitored and reviewed at regular periods in consultation with students and parents;
  • Assignments completed well are acknowledged and praised; and
  • Innovative home learning practices that reflect developments within education and the range of learning styles, for example, the use of ICT, and 'Accelerated Learning' techniques.

 

The Purpose of Home Learning

 

  • The main purposes of setting activities to be completed outside the classroom include;
  • encouraging pupils to develop the skills, confidence and motivation needed to study effectively on their own;
  • consolidating and reinforcing skills and understanding developed at school;
  • extending school learning, for example through additional reading;
  • sustaining the involvement of parents and carers in the management of students' learning and keeping them informed about the work pupils are doing; and
  • managing particular demands, such as GCSE course work.

The Nature of the Activities Set

Home learning assignments should be interesting, imaginative and challenging. They should be clearly defined, easy for the students to understand, and give the students the opportunity to experience success.

In suggesting appropriate homework exercises we need to consider:

  • is the work set relevant to this part of the course?
  • do the students have the necessary skills, access to resources, background knowledge, and confidence to tackle the work assigned?
  • how will the homework be assessed?

The home learning activities may take a variety of forms but should always be designed so that students have the opportunities to develop a range of skills, including independent study skills. A balanced programme of activities should be offered which include close tracking of coursework assignments and intensive revision for modular, mock and terminal examinations. Some homework assignments may extend over more than one timetable cycle, but students should be given clear guidance on how they should use and plan their time to enable them to meet the deadlines set for the submission of the completed piece.

Home learning assignments should include:

  • Practice exercises to follow classroom instruction
  • Preview assignments to prepare for subsequent lessons
  • Extension assignments to transfer new skills or concepts to new situations
  • Creative activities to integrate many skills toward the production of a response or product

It is important that students should have frequent and increasing opportunities to develop and consolidate their competencies as independent learners.

Setting and Assessing Home Learning Assignments

Each Year Office will produce home learning guidance specific to their students before the end of the first cycle of the academic year. This may take the form of a timetable, as in Year 9, or guidance about how much work is anticipated will be set by each subject area over one cycle (other year groups). The guidance must reflect the need for a maximum of 1.5 hours per evening for year 9, 2 hours per evening for Years 10 and 11, and 3 hours of independent study per day for Years 12 and 13. Students will need to learn to manage their time so that they do some home learning each evening. Teachers will not set assignments to be completed for the next day, but will give students at least two days to complete each piece of work.

Heads of Faculty should ensure that teaching staff are aware of the guidance published and set home learning activities in accord with this policy. Heads of Faculty and Heads of Year should check student planners and teachers’ records to ensure that sufficient and appropriate work is being set.

Staff should set clear deadlines for the completion of each homework assignment (commensurate with the students’ home learning timetable and the teacher’s marking schedule). Teaching staff must ensure that students record the assignment that has been set in their planners. There will be occasions when no activity will be set either because it is not appropriate or because exercise books have been collected in for marking. In these rare instances, students and teachers should ensure that a reason is given beside the entry in the planner of “none set”.

Accessibility

As we appreciate the benefits of effective home learning, we must ensure that all students have the opportunity to undertake it successfully. The support of parents is a pre-requisite, either in working directly with students or in ensuring that their children can, and will, complete their home learning assignment. In support of this aim:

  • staff must be well informed about family circumstances;
  • parents must be involved in their children’s learning, in keeping with their circumstances and the age of the children;
  • particular care must be taken to collaborate with parents of children with special educational needs, to ensure tasks are appropriate and feasible;
  • alternative study support opportunities must be provided where appropriate (including individual help, the use of IT, and homework clubs).

The assignments set will be differentiated where necessary to take account of individual needs. The quantity home learning assignments set should not prevent students from participating in activities after school such as sport, music, or clubs of any kind.

Assessment, Feedback and Progression

The school’s principles and strategies for assessing performance, setting individual learning targets and enhancing progression through feedback on performance must apply equally to classroom learning and to home learning.

  • Students must be told the criteria on which work will assessed and high standards are expected for home learning assignments.
  • Feedback is planned to show the student what and how to improve.
  • Progression is planned not just in the time allocated but also in type and level of study skills required.
The completion of the homework exercises, together with the results of assessments, will be recorded as part of the student’s summative assessment.

Marking homework forms an integral part of our assessment. We aim to return marked homework to the students as soon as possible, whilst the exercise is fresh in the student's mind. The assignment should be marked in accordance with the school’s Marking Policy.

Sanctions

Students are expected to submit work on time. Students who turn in late assignments on a consistent basis will receive any of the following based upon individual teacher discretion:

  • partial credit
  • no credit
  • communication with parents
  • faculty detention
Students who miss homework because of an absence will receive the opportunity to make up missed work. Students are given one calendar day for each day absent plus one extra day to turn in their work. It’s the students’ responsibility to get work missed due to illness or absence.

Meeting homework deadlines is not always easy for some students, particularly if they are expected to help at home, for example looking after younger siblings, or have weekend jobs. They should not be excused home learning assignments, but may need additional help with strategies to manage it.

A student’s failure to complete a home learning assignment must be recorded in the student’s planner. Any sanction applied, at the discretion of the teacher concerned, must be in accordance with the school’s Behaviour Policy. It is important that that the member of subject staff deals with the student appropriately and in good time, seeking the support of their head of department as and when necessary. The application of such sanctions must be communicated to the tutor. The persistent failure to complete such assignments should result in a discussion with parents/carers (with a discussion of the situation with the tutor prior to any parental contact).

Tutor Responsibility

Tutors are responsible for checking student planners each week. A tutor signature indicates that a tutor is happy with the way in which the student is using the planner to record any work set. Tutors should take note of sanctions applied for the failure to complete home learning assignments, engaging the student in discussion of why this has occurred. Should the student be persistently failing to complete home learning assignments in a number of subject areas, the tutor should raise this issue with parents/carers. The tutor should also ensure that parents/carers sign the planner frequently.

Appendix 1. Summary of Home Learning Responsibilities:

Responsibilities of Subject Staff:

  • Assign relevant, challenging and meaningful homework that reinforces classroom learning
  • Give clear instructions and make sure students understand the purpose
  • Ensure students record the assignment set in their planner
  • Give feedback and/or correct homework
  • Communicate with other teachers, especially tutors
  • Involve parents and contact them if a pattern of late or incomplete homework develops – liaising with the student’s tutor
 

Responsibilities of Tutors:

  • Ensure students record the assignment set in their planner (checking every tutee’s planner at least once per week)
  • Communicate with other teachers
  • Monitor the completion of home learning assignments
  • Involve parents and contact them if a pattern of late or incomplete homework develops across more than one subject
  • Support the work of subject teachers
 

Responsibilities of Parents:

  • Set a regular, uninterrupted study time each day
  • Establish a quiet, well-lit study area
  • Monitor student’s organisation and daily list of assignments in their planner
  • Sign the planner each week and use it to communicate with subject staff and the tutor
  • Help student work to find the answer, not just get it done
  • Be supportive when the student gets frustrated with difficult assignments
  • Contact teacher to stay well informed about the student’s learning process

Responsibilities of Students:

  • Always carry your Student Planner with you
  • Write down assignments in the Student Planner
  • Be sure all assignments are clear; don’t be afraid to ask questions if necessary
  • Set aside a regular time for studying
  • Find a quiet, well-lit study area
  • Work on homework independently whenever possible, so that it reflects student ability.
  • Produce quality work.

Make sure assignments are done according to the given instructions and completed on time.

If you are absent you need to find out what work has been missed and then catch up on it –being away on the day a home learning assignment is set is not an excuse for not doing it .

You should take pride in doing your best

 

Appendix 2. Guidance for Parents/Carers


Some things you can do:

  • Talk to them about their home learning assignments; about what they’re doing, what they find interesting in it, how long it takes them. They don’t always want to talk about it, especially as they get older, but it is the way of discovering what they are doing at school.
  • Sign their planner. We would ask that you sign it weekly. Again, it is a good way of finding out what they are doing.
  • Find ways of making home learning more enjoyable. It is possible for instance to use the Internet for additional resource material. You can come across games that can make both homework and revision much more fun than just reading from a textbook.
  • Set times and the place where home learning should be done. Once students have established the habit of home learning they find it much easier to settle.
  • Do make the home learning environment quiet and comfortable. Make sure there are no distractions like TV sets / games consoles etc. on in the background.
  • Do encourage and praise your child when they are doing their home learning. Point out what they have done well, build on their successes. Success and the feeling of success is the great motivator.
  • Approaching exam time especially, everyone is apprehensive and nervous about doing as well as they can and worried about making fools of themselves. As a parent, you can encourage your child to learn new things and develop their skills.
  • Do help them with assignments but don’t do it for them. Help them find answers but don’t simply tell them. You might think you are helping them but you are actually putting them at a disadvantage. They will become dependent on you to a large extent. It also doesn’t help teachers gauge what areas the child needs to develop.
  • Don’t criticise your child if they make mistakes with their assignments – everyone makes mistakes and trial and error is often the best way to learn.
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of home learning. If you’ve had a long day at work, the last thing you want to do is to work some more - but please remember that children are asked to study at home for a reason.