Sandringham School conducted a research project on Home Learning during the academic year 2016-2017 that examined the educational research literature and interviewed staff and students on their experiences.
The research showed that there are many benefits of home learning at secondary school, including:
- Better retention of factual knowledge
- Increased understanding
- Better critical thinking, concept formation and information processing
- Willingness to learn during leisure time
- Improved attitude to school
- Better study habits and skills
- Greater self-direction
- Greater self-discipline
- Better time organisation
- More inquisitiveness
- More independent problem solving
- Greater parental involvement in schooling
However, our research also showed some detrimental effects of either excessive amounts or poorly designed homework tasks, including negative impacts upon family and leisure time and concerns over fatigue and mental well-being.
Our updated home learning policy now emphasises setting purposeful home learning where quality is the main consideration rather than quantity.
Home learning will be set for the following purposes:
- Pre learning
- Checking for understanding
Teachers will follow the T.H.I.N.K. principle when setting home learning:
- Only set home learning when it is appropriate and purposeful, following the T.H.I.N.K guidelines.
- Be clear about the purpose of the home learning task and how it will support student learning: pre learning, checking for understanding, practice or processing
- Provide appropriate feedback according to the school’s marking policy
- Ensure home learning is set according to the home learning timetable are made available to students and parents on the Show My Homework system
- Where appropriate, set home learning activities that are differentiated, inclusive and varied
- Provide appropriate and incremental sanctions in line with the Rewards and Consequences system to students who fail to complete home learning adequately or who fail to hand it in on time.
Tutors will support subject teachers by:
- Checking that students are supplied with a planner or a replacement planner every morning.
- Checking home learning diaries every week and ensuring students are recording their work.
- Communicating with the Performance Director if any general home learning related issues arise
Parents are encouraged to:
- Assist their child with planning and organising their home learning in line with their home learning timetable
- Provide their child, where possible, with a suitable learning environment in which to complete their home learning, without distractions.
- Discuss home learning tasks and teacher feedback with their child to encourage conversations about learning
- Write down all their home learning in their planners, including when it is due to be handed in and the time it will take to complete
- Use Show My Homework to gain the details and support on their home learning.
- Allow adequate time to complete their home learning to standard that reflects their understanding and best efforts
- Stick to the timing guidance from their teacher and if they exceed this to write down the amount of time it took
- Where possible find a quiet environment to complete their home learning
- Take initiative for their own learning exploring and developing their understanding beyond the tasks set
The amount of time spent on home learning will therefore vary across the academic year and will also increase in Key Stage 4 in preparation for GCSEs (2hrs+ per day). In the Sixth Form, the amount of work students will undertake independently outside class time will be considerable. Students need to take responsibility for this themselves (so Show My Homework is not used in the sixth form since Google Classroom is used to share resources and assignments with students). A rough rule of thumb would be to do at least an hour’s revision, research or preparation independently for each hour of taught time, so a student taking 3 A-levels for 5 hours per week would need to do at least 15 hours of independent study.
We have a policy not to set homework across holiday periods for Key Stage 3 students and only the minimum needed for coursework or exam preparation for years 10-13 over the holidays. We recognise that family time is precious and we want our students to rest and enjoy creative, cultural and sporting activities during the holidays.