Homework at primary school: How much is recommended and why?

By Laura Vida Wilkinson

Private Tutor

As a teacher turned tutor, I have been directly or indirectly involved with over 70 schools, ranging in quality from the ‘Outstanding’ to the frankly shocking. And any school worth its salt has a clear policy on homework. Such a policy should outline both the reasons why home learning is important and the school’s expectations for both children and their carers.

Here, I refer to the homework policies of two of the best junior schools in the Uk. One is Falconer House, a leading independent school in London; the other is Charles Dickens Primary School, a leading state school, in which I once worked. Officially rated ‘Outstanding’, both aim to nurture Academic Excellence, Creativity and Social Intelligence. In doing so, they equip children with the key skills and confidence they will need throughout their lives.

6 reasons why home learning is crucial:

  • Children only learn to organise themselves and to take responsibility for their learning with practice.

  • Homework fosters independence; children need to learn to work on their own. Many actually imbibe information more readily outside the classroom.

  • Independent exploration and achievement increase self-confidence and motivation.

  • A homework book means that parents can be involved in and informed about their child’s learning. This is crucial if they are to support them at home.

  • When carefully set, homework consolidates school learning: children need to revisit concepts regularly. Maths facts, spellings, handwriting etc. all require regular practice.

  • Daily reading and discussion at home help broaden a child’s vocabulary. This, in turn, informs a child’s capacity for clear, original thought and self-expression.

Below are the current homework expectations for Falconer House. ‘R’ (Reception) roughly corresponds to P1 in Scotland. The table provides a good guide to what might reasonably be expected of a child at each stage. However, in its homework policy, CDPS makes it clear that their own similar expectations are not rigid. They represent an ideal, which the vast majority of children do attain with the support of their parents.

By Laura Vida Wilkinson

Private Tutor

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