Our home learning policy was most recently updated in 2016 and can be viewed here.
“Homework” and ”Home Learning” refer to any work or activities which pupils are asked to do outside lesson time, either on their own or with parents or carers. The role of parents in their children’s education has long been recognised as a significant factor in educational success and school improvement.
Research clearly shows that when parents actively participate in their children's education, achievement increases and attitude improves. Research indicates that it is parental involvement in Home Learning, rather than necessarily the tasks themselves, which have the impact – it needs you!
With this in mind, at Riverside School we believe that home learning activities should be fun rather than a chore and that they should encourage parental involvement rather than pupils studying in isolation.
We believe that children should still have plenty of time after school to play and take part in other activities.
The purposes of home learning:
- Consolidates and reinforces skills and understanding;
- Exploits resources for learning, of all kinds, at home;
- Encourages children, as they get older, to develop the self- confidence and discipline needed to study on their own; and
- Enables an effective partnership between home and school.
For young children, very short activities of different kinds provide an important opportunity to talk with an interested adult about what they are learning and to practise key skills in a supportive environment. It is the involvement of parents and carers in joint activities which is most valuable in promoting children’s learning. Simple games, sharing a book and finding out about words or numbers are typical activities.
As children get older, home learning provides an opportunity for children to develop the skills of independent learning and research and this should increasingly become its main purpose. However, children are not expected to work in isolation and will always need the support and encouragement of an interested adult.
Children will be encouraged to
- complete and return homework on a regular basis; and
- engage in all types of homework.
Parents will be encouraged to
- hear their children read on a regular basis;
- support their children in the completion of homework;
- provide a suitable home environment for children to work in; and
- communicate with school if there are any problems with homework.
Homework offers parents a valuable opportunity to share in what their child is doing at school and provide encouragement and support. Whilst every child and home situation differs, some of the best homework results from working alongside adults in a social setting, such as at the kitchen table. Although you may wish to set a time for homework, wherever possible, homework should not be viewed as a chore, that has to be finished before tea or play! If a child has difficulty with the home learning it should be stopped after 20 minutes and the difficulty reported back to the teacher. Home learning should not become a problem for children or parents and parents should inform us of any difficulties as soon as they arise. We have an ‘open door’ policy and really do want to talk to you about your child’s learning whether at school or at home.
HOME LEARNING ACTIVITIES
Regular reading is vital and should be a daily activity for all children. For young children this may mean that the parent does the reading and the child talks about the story and the pictures. If a child does not bring a book home from school (though they always should) there are many opportunities to develop reading skills within the home – reading TV information, looking at maps, non-fiction, using the Internet or the many books that children have in their bedrooms but don’t always have time to read! Don’t forget to record your child’s reading in their planner.
These are core mental maths recall facts – number bonds, times tables, etc. These are detailed in your child’s planner and should again be practised daily.
Literacy and numeracy activities
Your child may be asked to complete, prepare or extend some work linked to that done in class. These activities would not normally be optional.
A vital skill – using the internet, books, talking to people, looking around the local environment – there are lots of ways to do research and lots of ways to record what your child finds out. Beware the dangers of ‘cut and paste’ from internet sources as these often contain inaccuracies, bias and don’t necessarily help with learning!
Each term the year-group newsletter will keep you informed of anything you could be doing with your child at home, or whilst about the locality, to support the work being done in class. We have a creative approach to our curriculum and some of our topic ideas will lead to some very creative work at home too! Your child may want to make models of castles, prepare a Powerpoint presentation on wildlife, prepare a five-minute speech, paint a picture…. We love getting these pieces of work back into class – they are actively shared and celebrated. There is ALWAYS something to do, linked to classwork! Many of these types of activities are optional.
In the Foundation Stage (Nursery and Reception) children are encouraged to share books with parents. Reading books together should always be an enjoyable experience and a special time for children and parents alike. Children may also have key maths facts to practise, verbal numeracy challenges and phonics/spellings to work on. The class newsletters will detail other opportunities for follow-up work at home. Other ideas will be placed on the parents’ board in the Foundation Stage entrance area and on the year group website page.
In Year 1 and Year 2 homework should equate to approximately 1 hour per week. It will include reading, spellings and key facts in numeracy. Children may also be asked to find out about or prepare something relating to work done in class.
In Year 3 and Year 4 homework should equate to approximately 1½ hours per week. Children are given spellings regularly and take home a reading book. They should also practise their key facts in maths (SMIRFS). This should equate to approximately 15 minutes per night. Children are also encouraged to research new topics introduced in class and are given the opportunity to share their findings with classmates.
In Years 5 and 6 children should be encouraged to develop a more regular homework routine - equating to approximately 2½ hours per week. Year 5 homework will consist of a weekly spelling list and SMIRFS to practise along with continued reading. Maths homework may also be set, as may research pieces based on science or topic work. In Year 6, reading and practice of key instant recall facts in maths should continue. In addition to this it is usual to receive at least one piece of written homework per week. After Christmas, Year 6 pupils should revise for approximately 15 minutes each day.
Role of the class teacher
The class teacher is responsible for ensuring that the homework set is manageable for pupils and parents, and that there is a regular pattern to homework. Class teachers will inform parents about weekly routines and expectations on a termly basis. Homework should be differentiated according to the child’s needs. It should not be used simply for ‘finishing off’ work that should have been completed in the classroom.
Feedback on homework will be given according to the task, through:
- discussion in the classroom setting;
- pupils reviewing their own work;
- pupils following up their homework in class;
- marking and comments from the teacher; and
- tests, eg, tables and spellings.
Home learning should not place heavy demands on class teachers in either preparation or marking. Teachers will set activities for the class or groups but not individuals, except in specific cases.
Absence from school and school holidays
Children who are absent from school through illness will not be expected to complete home learning. Home learning will not be set to cover authorised leave since this should only be for exceptional circumstances such as family crisis, bereavement, etc, when setting homework would be inappropriate. Homework will NEVER be set to cover unauthorised absence such as holidays taken during termtime.
Whilst we would not ordinarily set homework tasks over school holidays, we would encourage ALL pupils to continue their daily reading and SMIRFS. For some pupils, we will encourage additional work to prevent any ‘loss’ of learning over a holiday. For some year groups (eg, Year 6 over Easter) there may be revision or research tasks to carry out over a holiday.
The purpose of homework for the special needs pupil should reflect their own personal targets. The child should be given plenty of opportunity to succeed. The activities that they are given should be varied in nature and should not rely upon written tasks.
We will endeavour to ensure that homework is accessible to all. This will be irrespective of gender, race, cultural background or disability. Wherever possible, we will involve pupils in the setting of homework so that they develop independence and responsibility for their work
Home Learning should be encouraged for ALL pupils – it is a vital part of education.
Overall, tasks should be challenging, stimulating and of benefit to your child’s education. Successful homework is a PARTNERSHIP between home and school. If your child has any problems with their homework then please let us know. When successfully achieved, homework encourages a positive attitude to learning and prepares children well for the future.
Evaluation: The effectiveness of the policy will be evaluated through discussion with children, teachers and parents. The policy will be reviewed at least once every three academic years.