The traditional notion of homework has changed from a rigid timetable with set subjects setting specific tasks on certain days. It is now much more flexible with tasks set to support achievement and progress in a particular subject. Sometimes these tasks are about routine and giving students practice of a skill away from the classroom. Other times they involve independent research tasks which enrich the class based ones. Frequently, students are given tasks outside the classroom to prepare for controlled assignments which take place in school with their teachers and contribute to their exam qualification. All home learning tasks can be linked to success in the qualification that a student is working towards. This could be by doing practice exam questions, preparing for controlled assignments, learning subject specific vocabulary, doing extra background reading, spending time in a workshop to meet a deadline, using the college website and VLE to improve a piece of work from a pass to merit. The possibilities are endless but are all meaningful and worthwhile. Ultimately the more organised and productive a student is at home learning the more progress they will make in their school studies. This will prepare them more effectively for the more independent way of working when compulsory school finishes.
Year 7 & 8
To help students in this discipline we provide a homework timetable as a guide which indicates when they might expect home learning tasks. The timetable is issued to students at the start of the Autumn Term and this is then stuck into the Student Planner. This ensures that there are no more than four pieces of homework expected to be completed on any one evening by spreading the tasks. The home learning tasks are on the days of lessons to ensure the task is fresh in the memory. Students must record all tasks set in the Planner which is issued to all students at the beginning of the year.
We have an excellent tool, ‘Class Charts’, which enables all homework to be set clearly, with support materials provided, and actually takes away some of the stress for students and parents trying to understand and stay on track with homework tasks. We are now using this tool across the school and it is a basic expectation that all homework is set using Class Charts and in line with departments’ policies – in nearly all cases on a weekly basis