Home learning and Homework: Guidance for Parents

Why is home learning important?

Homework matters a lot for pupil progress and is core to a great education, in which positive learning habits are formed for a life-time.

“The evidence shows that the impact of homework, on average, is five months’ of additional progress (per year)” The Education Endowment Foundation – a leading UK education research group.

Because we believe that home learning is so important, we have provided a school laptop for your child, with a free 365 office subscription, and access to a range of powerful learning materials and platforms.

This is part of our ongoing Digital Strategy to enable all students to become Powerful Learners and Digital Citizens online.


What is home learning?

The minimum requirement of home learning is that everyday pupils are completing their homework, and in the run up to each set of assessments, actively revising the material.

In addition to this, in order to fully reach their potential, students should be seeking and undertaking other learning opportunities at home or outside of school.

These include making use of powerful online platforms such as Hegarty Maths, Miss Hanna Loves Grammar (MHLG), Quizlet, the ArkSpark website (enrichment opportunities through the Ark School website) and Uplearn (A Level Maths, Economics, Chemistry, Biology, Maths)

Other suggested activities could be: reading (the very best form of enrichment and education) and this is supported by our Reading Canons for each year group; watching documentaries; playing chess and other strategic board games; mini-DIY and creative projects, at home chemistry sets; sport and martial arts; a musical instrument; learning a basic programming language and programming a new game; or creating music. As well as complementing the school’s curriculum, these tasks help students to develop persistence and resilience which also supports their approach to learning within school.


How is homework designed and how should students be completing it?

Following the research, our teachers design homework so that it consolidates memory of core skills and knowledge. This means homework is often quizzing but not always.

The older a student becomes, the more extended is the homework and the more demanding.

Ideally, students should be completing their work under supervision from parents.

In Secondary and Sixth Form, all homework is published on Show My Homework (SMHW), and each week pupils achieve a % for the amount of quality homework submitted on SMHW. All teachers and tutors know this % and pupils can request it at any time. Students who achieve 100% each week are given merits and Silver and Gold Merits over the course of a term, and we follow up with students who have a concerning low level of homework submission, through contact home.

This means that students are able to show parents their SMHW page every day and the homework that they have been set. Students should then be completing their homework, without the distraction of a mobile phone nearby and be able to show their completed work to parents each evening.

Many pieces of homework are quizzes and so students will be able to show their % or score immediately to show their achievement.

Unfortunately, sometimes students try to complete homework in a rush. These attempts to complete homework are clearly not extending students’ brains and learning. Even worse, occasionally, students miss their homework deadline. We discourage this by having a lunchtime detention, to focus students’ minds.

We recognise that not all homework is straightforward, and homework habits take time to build up. We therefore offer Homework Club from 3.45-4.30, Monday-Thursday, for pupils who request it, and also for any pupils who are struggling to complete homework at home. You are welcome to contact your child’s tutor if you would like your child to enrol in Homework Club.


How much homework should my child be doing?

In our Curriculum booklets we give more detail, however this table shows our approximate guidance for homework.

Year Group Number of hours expected on Independent Work, per subject, per week
7 English – 3 hours. Maths - 1 hours. All others 30 minutes
8 English – 3 hours. Maths - 1 hours. All others 30 minutes
9 English – 3 hours. Maths - 1 hours. All others 30 minutes
10 English - 3 hours. Science - 1.5 hours (Chemistry, Biology, Physics - 30 minutes each). Maths - 1.5 hours. All others 45 minutes
11 English - 3 hours. Science - 1.5 hours (Chemistry, Biology, Physics - 30 minutes each). Maths - 1.5 hours. All others 45 minutes
12 6 hours per subject (A-Level) 12 hours (BTEC)
13 6 hours per subject (A-Level) 12 hours (BTEC)


How should students be revising?

The two main resources that students should be using to help them revise are: their class books which should include all the content and feedback in each subject and can be used to create flash cards and take notes as well as creating mind map posters; and revision booklets which are created by most departments to specifically guide our students towards success in the exams – including tasks and information which students can create revision cards from.

If your child wishes to use the internet to revise, there are some helpful websites mention above. However, these come with the disclaimer that they will only be useful if they are covering specific content that students have been taught and actively being used for quizzing and knowledge retrieval and practice of questions. Scrolling through and simply reading web pages is an ineffective way of revising and the internet can be a distraction if the student is not totally focused, with a goal in mind!