Homework and Supporting Your Child
An Evidence Based Approach to Homework
Research tells us that when children reach ‘automacity’ in a skill (i.e. they can just do it), this frees up their ‘working memory’ to think about the bigger picture. If children can read fluently, they can concentrate on the meaning of the text. If children know their times tables inside out, they can use these to more easily carry out other calculations. If children know their spellings, they can concentrate of choosing which words to use, rather than focusing on how to spell them. We know from cognitive research that the more often a skill is practised, the more embedded it becomes – this is where the expression ‘practice makes perfect’ - or more accurately, 'practice makes permanent' comes from.
Based on educational research, Bourn’s approach to homework is to set homework that reinforces areas that have been covered in lessons. These tasks are English and maths focused in all year groups.
This is the single most important skill for a successful life. Listening to your child read, and reading to them. This should happen daily and be recorded in your child’s Reading Record (Key Stage 1), which will be checked regularly by your child’s teacher. During Year 3, most children will complete quizzes on Accelerated Reader once they have finished a book. This will show the level of their recall and understanding of the text and allows teachers to ensure that children choose books that are appropriate for their level of reading.
Children in EYFS and Year 1 will also have phonics activities to practise at home.
Times Tables and Number Skills
This will predominantly be times tables practice from year 2 onwards until all tables are known inside out and a child can give an instant answer to any times tables’ question. All children are expected to know all their times tables by the end of Year 4, when they take a national Multiplication Tables Check. Ensuring your children know their times tables is the best support you can give them in maths.
Teachers will send home spelling patterns or Word Lists required for each year group to learn. These will be tested in school and will relate to the week’s work completed through spelling work completed linked to the school’s Spelling Programme.
For those children requiring additional support in key areas, additional homework tasks may be set on Google Classroom.
Research on the Impact of Homework
If you are interested in reading more, the following websites, organisations and book have lots of information about this subject, and many others.
Educational Endowment Foundation is an organisation was established to improve educational attainment. It provides evidence based resources designed to improve practice. It summarises the findings of educational research from around the world. Its findings are that there is a low impact of homework at Primary level, for very low cost and based on limited evidence.
Ofsted covered the issue of homework in their Annual Report of 2016-17 and this report also outlines the variance in parental view on homework, with two thirds of parents saying they think it is helpful to their children.
For more in depth reading: ‘Visible Learning and the Science of How We Learn’, John Hattie and Gregory Yates. This book explores the major principles and strategies of learning and explains the cognitive building blocks of learning acquisition.
If you have concerns
Please remember, if you have any issues with homework or supporting your child at home, please speak to your child’s class teacher who will be happy to help.