Homework Primary School

Homework refers to tasks given to pupils by their teachers to be completed outside of usual lessons.Common homework activities in primary schools tend to be reading or practising spelling and number facts, but may also include more extended activities to develop inquiry skills or more directed and focused work such as revision for tests.The quality of the task set appears to be more important than the quantity of work required from the pupil. There is a relatively consistent picture that pupils in schools which give more homework perform better, although for primary age pupils the difference is small.

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Other schools adopting a similar approach include Honeywood Primary School in the outlying Perth suburb of Wandi and Bletchley Park Primary School in Southern River, where homework was banned 11 years ago.

But after a recent review, Bletchley Park has approved limited homework, allowing spelling lists, times tables, and project work for the final term in Year 6, to better prepare students for high school.

They argue homework is of no benefit to younger children and can even be detrimental because it gets in the way of important family and recreation time, which allows children to recharge their batteries after a busy day of learning at school.

It could be the start of a quiet revolution, with a number of other schools watching closely before taking the leap themselves.

It is certainly the case that schools whose pupils do homework tend to be more successful.

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However it is not clear whether use of homework is a reason for this success.

Departmental guidelines stipulate that homework should not require unreasonable levels of parent help, should not impinge on family, recreational or cultural time, should not be given as a form of punishment, and should be directly linked to learning.

WA Education Department principal advisor Doug Cook said a blanket approach to homework does not work."Every school has a different context," he said."If you look at the size of our state, from tiny little Wheatbelt schools with one teacher where kids go home from school and actually have work to do around a farm, extra tasks on top of that might make the home life difficult."We have remote schools, where some of the home lives aren't ideal, and setting tasks for kids to take home into an environment where they may not be able to do it sets them up for failure."Making a blanket rule for a state this size, with so many different contexts, would be short-sighted."While the prospect of no homework is relished by some, not everyone is convinced.

Glenn Savage, a senior lecturer in education policy at the University of Western Australia, said there was a huge gulf between good homework and bad.

Background information: According to an article in the ''Key for School Governors'' (the national information service that provides governors with guidance, insight and instant answers to their questions on all aspects of school governance, see: ''Homework in Primary Schools'', source: https://schoolgovernors...

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