Homework policy and principles

Key principles for homework at West Exe School

 

Homework must be varied and sustainable for teachers and for students.

It is a common misconception that the ‘homework’ means only an extended written task. Whilst some homework may be involve extended writing, there are many valid, educationally sound alternatives.

Homework for Learning must be consistently applied at all levels.

We are seeking consistency in: the quality, range and frequency of homework set; in the way it is marked; and completion rates monitored.

Outstanding Learning and Homework are mutually supportive of each other.

The setting and reviewing of homework will require adequate time during lessons.

Homework must be directly relevant to the learning.

Homework may arise from a lesson, or even precede it as an element of ‘flip learning’. This link between lessons and homework should be made clear to students.

Homework must be challenging and appropriate for individual students.

Whilst generic homework tasks are entirely appropriate in many circumstances, outstanding homework is usually differentiated, so truly challenging the very different abilities and targets of students in any given set.

Homework must encourage engagement and ownership by parents and students.

In addition to homework being an integral part of teaching and learning for students, it can offer opportunities for clear and positive engagement in the process for them and parents

Homework must be proactively monitored and developed at all levels.

Homework in itself does not aid learning and progress- the right quality, frequency and assessment of it does. The introduction of Show My Homework means that every parent, student and teacher now has visibility of homework across the entire school, in year groups, subjects and even by individual students and teachers.

 

Requirements

  1. One homework task is to be set within 240 minutes of lesson time for each teaching group in every subject. While this means some subjects will be setting weekly homework while others only every two weeks, this requirement actually promotes balance, consistency and fairness.
  1. All homework is to be set using ‘Show My Homework’ (SMHW). Homework is also to be recorded in student planners. This latter form of recording can be much more abbreviated and serve merely as a reminder, rather than repeating the explanatory detail that SMHW facilitates.
  1. Where possible, documents and resources relating to any given homework will also be made available using the SMHW portal rather than printed as hard copy. This supports our ‘Project Zero’ drive to reduce waste and help the environment. Where audio/ video clips are embedded, teachers will ensure the footage is age appropriate.
  1. Homework tasks set in the lesson are best supported with an explanation as to why it is important and what success criteria are linked to it. Homework is not just ‘work’; it is a key means by which learning is gained, confirmed or extended, and this should be clear to the students.
  1. A range of homework activities other than just extended writing tasks are encouraged. The quality of homework will be monitored by middle and senior leaders in part for its appropriateness in relation to the type of skill and the learning it is linked with; only some of these will be best developed by setting extended written tasks for homework.
  1. Teachers in subjects other than English will include a specific literacy target for students to focus on when undertaking a homework task that involves a significant amount of writing. As a rule, paragraphs or a series of short written answers coming to a half side or more, qualify as ‘extended’. The marking of such work best includes reference to students’ outcomes with that target, using both the appropriate marking code and a summative comment.
  1. Homeworks set over a period of time will show examples of differentiation in order to be both challenging and accessible for all students. Whether it is differentiation by task, success criteria and/ or resourcing, homework needs to be planned, set and resourced in order to maximise the learning outcome for students of different abilities.
  2. Feedback on homework needs to be prompt, precise and point to areas for improvement. Homework can be teacher, peer or self-assessed, and the feedback written and/ or verbal. Use of peer and self-assessment should be undertaken when, in the teacher’s judgement, such approaches are the most appropriate, and students should be prepared/ resourced to ensure that their assessments are informed, relevant and accurate. There will usually be some written recording of feedback, even if it is only the student noting a teacher’s or peer’s verbal comments.
  1. Records must be kept of homework completion and, where appropriate, grades awarded. There has always been an expectation that teachers keep such a record, and this is to continue as part of the new policy. SMHW has a logging and marking facility and this will be introduced at a future date so parents/carers will be able to monitor their child’s homework completion.