‘… homework exercises can be an invaluable guide to learning, but the exercises must be clear and relevant to learning aims. The feedback on them should give each pupil guidance on how to improve, and each must be given opportunity and help to work at the improvement.’
Inside the black box - Paul Black and Dylan William
Policy and Practice
Date Reviewed : 2nd October 2013
Review Date : October 2015
The purpose of this document is to provide a consistent and cohesive structure to the provision of homework at Melrose Primary School.
This guidance takes account of national and local expectations as outlined in Curriculum for Excellence, Building the Curriculum Series documentation and SBC Parental Involvement Policy, June 2008.
This document has been developed through consultation and in partnership with parents, teachers and pupils at Melrose Primary School.
National Messages - Building the Curriculum Series
Building the Curriculum 2 - active learning in the early years
‘Parents are the first and most important educators of their children.’
Building the Curriculum 4 - skills for learning, skills for life and skills for work
‘Working in partnership affords young people a broad range of opportunities and scope for greater personalisation and choice, with benefits for both the young person and the partner organisation. Working with each other, and with other partners such as parents…can help schools and other learning providers to make the most of their contribution and recognise their part in lifelong learning.
Building the Curriculum 5 - a framework for assessment
‘Parents are key partners in supporting their children’s learning. In schools, staff should help parents to understand what children are learning, how their work is assessed and how they, as parents, can support their child’s learning.’
Parental Involvement Policy – Scottish Borders Council, June 2008
This policy states that all Scottish Borders Council schools must
‘develop a policy on homework that will give parents, pupils and staff a shared understanding of what is required - regular homework is the equivalent of an extra year’s schooling, a real benefit when it comes to national examinations.’
See appendix for the definition of a parent for the purposes of this document.
Through this policy we aim to:
- ensure roles and responsibilities related to homework are clear and defined
- ensure a consistent approach to homework across the school
- use homework as a tool to help raise standards of attainment
- improve the quality of the learning experiences offered to pupils and to extend these beyond the classroom
- provide opportunities for parents, children and school to work together in partnership, in relation to children’s learning
- encourage pupils and their parents to share and enjoy learning experiences
- reinforce work covered in class by providing further opportunities for individual learning
- practise or consolidate skills and knowledge, especially in Numeracy and Literacy
- encourage pupils to develop the responsibility, confidence and self-discipline to study independently
- prepare pupils for transition to High School
The nature of homework
Homework tasks will be varied. Homework can be set in many forms with different expectations and outcomes. The outcomes and expectations of all homework activities should be clear for the child and the parent. This may be in the form of Learning Intentions and Success Criteria (see appendix). Tasks will be ‘fit for purpose’, make clear links to the planned learning and should not be ambiguous or unclear.
Most homework will relate to the development of skills and knowledge in Literacy and Numeracy although any other curricular area could have identified homework tasks. The amount and level of homework will change through the pupil’s time in school and should increase as the child gets older.
Homework should be challenging and appropriate, but should not be too hard for the pupil, or create stress within the pupil’s family. If homework is proving difficult to support at home or causing anxiety, parents should contact the class teacher in the first instance. Access to ICT will not be assumed and equality of opportunity will be taken into account.
How and when is homework issued
Homework patterns and routines will be clearly established and identified at the beginning of each term in the teaching and learning overview for that class/year group. Most homework will be allocated on set days during the week. Normally more than one day will be allowed for homework tasks to be completed.
Times allocated for homework will usually be:
Early level (see appendix) usually Nursery and P1, up to 40 minutes per week
First level P2 - P4, up to 1 hour weekly
Second level P5 - P7, up to 2 hours weekly
Personal research based projects/tasks will be identified at the beginning of a term in the Teaching and Learning Overview. No more than two personal research based homework projects will be planned for any academic year. Research or project based tasks will have clear criteria on what is expected, including an estimated time allocation identified and shared.
Home work diaries will be used in Primary 7 as part of preparing pupils for transition to High School.
Feedback on Homework
Pupils and parents need to know how well learning at home has been achieved and how they could do better. Feedback or marking may be through a balance of verbal and written feedback. This will help to ensure homework has a high profile and status and is an important and valued part of school life.
Roles and Responsibilities
To ensure homework tasks are written down and taken home (With appropriate support)
To make time to complete homework
To maintain high standards and high levels of effort when completing homework
To return completed homework to the teacher on time
To ensure a suitable place, time and resources are available for completing homework tasks
To be actively involved and support with homework, but not to do the task for the child
To encourage and praise their child for completing homework to a high standard
To communicate with the teacher regarding homework when appropriate e.g. ‘high level of support needed’ or ‘long time required to complete the task’
To contact the school with any concerns
To set homework which is engaging, varied and at the appropriate level
To ensure the purpose and nature of the homework is clear to pupils, with an explanation to parents of how they can help their child when necessary. This may be done through the termly Teaching and Learning Overview.
To establish regular homework in an easily followed routine, with realistic deadlines
To mark homework and give timely feedback
To recognise effort and achievement in homework tasks
Head/ Depute Headteacher / School Management Team
To check compliance with the policy
To meet and talk with parents when appropriate
To discuss with teachers how far the policy is being successfully implemented
To ensure all parents are aware of the policy and the responsibilities within it
Homework will not usually be sent home if a child is absent from school.
Further information - homework
The definition of a parent, for the purposes of Education legislation is fairly broad, namely “a guardian and any person who is liable to maintain or has parental responsibilities (within the meaning of section 1(3) of the Children (Scotland) Act 1995) in relation to, or has care of a child or young person.”
- non-resident parents who are liable to maintain or have parental responsibilities in respect of a child
- carers who can be parents
- others with parental responsibilities, e.g. foster carers, relatives and friends who are caring for children and young people under supervision arrangements
- close relatives, such as siblings or grandparents caring for children who are not looked after or are under home supervision arrangements.
The use of the term ‘parent’ in this policy covers all the definitions detailed above.
Learning Intentions and Success Criteria - as defined in ‘Sharing Learning Intentions - A practical guide for primary teachers’ by Ian SmithLearning intentions can be thought of as broad descriptions of what learners can be expected to learn in a specific task or piece of work. / The ‘end’ or the ‘goal’
Success criteria can be specific descriptions of the strategies learners might use to reach the ends or produce the performance. / The learning strategies or the ‘means’
But success criteria can also be thought of as specific descriptions of what quality learning looks like. / The evidence of the success or the ‘product’ or ‘performance’
Curriculum for Excellence levels
The table below is a general guide to the five curriculum levels with progression to qualifications. The framework is designed to be flexible to permit careful planning for those with additional support needs, including those who have a learning difficulty and those who are particularly able or talented.Level / Stage
Early / the pre-school years and P1 or later for some
First / to the end of P4, but earlier or later for some
Second / to the end of P7, but earlier or later for some
Third and Fourth / S1 to S3, but earlier for some (the fourth level broadly equates to SCQF level 4)
Senior / S4 – S6 and college or other means of study
Further information on curriculum for excellence levels can be found at