Please complain to your school about homework. Lets get rid of it!

(37 Posts)
freerangeeggsnookie Thu 12-Apr-12 06:07:46

I would like to appeal to all parents who are fed up with homework and encourage you to email, phone, tweet & post your school to stop it.

Having taught for a number of years in various schools I am sick and tired of the absurd homework we are setting. Here are some facts about homework from Visible Learning by John Hattie (summarising research on homework):

1. Homework makes no visible difference to pupils progress until they are in about year 10 and in high ability groups.
2. Homework does not help pupils learn time management skills.
3. For the homework to be effective the teacher must be actively involved.
4. Anyone who asks a pupil in year 7 and above to make a poster is taking the piss (pet hate, not from VL).

Now this is not to say that pupils shouldn't do any studying at all. If a student is independently studying at home doing extra work that they have requested then this will have a benefit. Also as stated above as pupils get older and are studying complex content it can be essential.

Unfortunately most pupils are snowed in with ridiculous tasks which teachers are forced to set by heads who are terrified of parental complaints. It is these complaints that need to be balanced out. If you are not sure if your childs homework is useful ask them after its marked "What improvements could you have made?". If they cannot answer then they have learned nothing. What was the point of that?! So if you are sick of homework like me please, please, please complain. Nothing would make schools a more happier place!!!!

pianomama Thu 10-May-12 09:51:36

So why set ridiculous homework then? Why not set useful homework which involves problem solving, learning spellings etc
If I were to complain, it would be about the lack of it.
And please don't kid yourself - no child would chose to request extra work - its the teachers job.

Joeblack066 Wed 27-Jun-12 20:00:21

I have long thought that homework is ridiculous. DD has 11 subjects in yr 10, all bar one set 'just a few minutes' of homework every week. It's usually about 2hrs worth in reality. That's 20 hrs a week. No time for any kind of a life at all.

Mintyy Wed 27-Jun-12 20:02:05

Would certainly agree for primary school children.

Melpomene Wed 27-Jun-12 20:07:09

Dh and I have complained to our dds' school a couple of times - not about the concept of homework as such, but about the amount and nature of it. It commonly takes dd1 (9) up to six hours to complete her homework at the weekend, with parental guidance/assistance. It takes over the whole weekend, compromising other family activities.

For literacy homework she usually has to write a story including ten specified words which have little or no connection with the theme of the story - eg she had to write a story about a dinosaur including the words 'unlawful', 'aura' and eight other fairly random words.

Still waiting for a reply to our recent complaint about the amount of homework.

KCB01 Mon 30-Jul-12 13:37:28

Homework is morally, ethically and in all ways wrong for so many reasons. It is a parents role to assist in their kids learning opportunities but homework does not do that. Our school keeps us informed of what is going on in the classroom so we can look for opportunities to expand their learning in our time with them. Homework is often used by parents as a way of showing their support for their kids learning while not taking on any responsibility for it themselves. If you feel that your kids aren't getting enough homework, why don't you find out what your school is covering and use that to find things to inspire learning individually in your family rather than just think that by supporting homework you are doing your bit (by the way, that isn't directed at anyone in particular). Please, please, please, if you feel that homework is wrong in any way please sign the e-petition at epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/17055.

Why is homework wrong? Among other things my strong beliefs are:

I strongly believe that homework is unjustifiable for the reasons I quote below. I'm constantly talking to people and reading forum posts etc which show that there is a large minority or even a majority that feel the same, but no one seems to want to rock the school boat. We need to change peoples consciousness so that homework becomes as anti-social as smoking is these days. Somehow those of us who feel this strongly need to urgently start speaking collectively, write to mps, high profile people, schools, headteachers etc and start making our voice heard. Each year we have gone into school and reminded them that homework is not compulsory, home school agreements do not legally have to be signed and that while I will support my child if they wish to do set homework, I do not expect them to face punishment if it is not done. I urge everyone who feels like this to do similar. In addition, there is an e-petition at epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/17055 which I urge you to sign - At the very least it may eventually indicate how many people feel this way.

Homework Issues

I feel strongly about the setting of homework in schools. I'm aware that this issue is contentious, so I've indicated just a few reasons why I believe so strongly that homework is wrong, to indicate that this isn't just a knee jerk reaction. It appears that I am not the only one - Teachers appear to be concerned, as indeed do many parents who do not push the point, as they are scared to push against the status quo.

Sends the wrong message re: Work/Life balance
- Most are concerned that this country prioritises work above all other aspects of life - Work/life balance misadjustment is costing us in both money and quality of life.
- Yet right from the age of 5, we are telling our children that not only is it acceptable to take work home, it is mandatory. It removes the segregation between work and pleasure
- It makes many feel guilty about not taking work home, and perpetuates the spiral of work taking full precedence over personal and family life.

Disruption of Family and Personal Time
- It dictates how we should spend our time with our children and as a family
- It reduces the spontaneity of spending time as a family.
- It reduces the time available for children to pursue those interests that they want to discover.
- It reduces time to learn for themselves outside of a pre-determined curriculum, and for us as a family to determine a learning agenda.
- It leads to stress, fear and unhappiness if homework either wasn't done or couldn't be
- That unhappiness leads to friction within families
- Can lead to sleep deprivation, either due to actually doing homework or worrying about it.
- Can reduce the activity levels of children, preventing them from more active activities when doing homework.
- Increases stress levels in children
- Result in drained, tired children - everyone needs time to refresh themselves - That time is the time that they are not at school or work.

Dissuades Children from Learning for fun
- A 2006 Scholastic/Yankelovich study found that reading for pleasure is a better indicator of test scores than homework, but that reading for pleasure decreases sharply after the age of eight. The study found that the largest reason for this was due to homework.

Rude, Inconsiderate and impolite
- I consider the presumption that a school can take up my family’s time outside of the hours prescribed to it as plain rudeness.
- I think it unlikely that the school would take kindly to my setting my children things to do during lessons.
- Yet that is exactly what homework does to time outside of school. If a school believes that it can determine what my family does in its own time, then why shouldn't I specify what my children do for a period of time in each lesson? Because, as I would agree, it would be impolite and inconsiderate!

Most studies show limited or no use in primary schools and only some use in secondary
- 2006 Synthesis of research - Found no correlation between homework and achievement in Primary, limited in Secondary (but only up to a period of 1 hour)
- US Cross Cultural analysis found that low-homework setting countries such as Japan, consistently achieve better than higher homework setting countries such as UK and US.
- Some schools are eliminating homework completely (e.g. Nottingham East Academy). Tiffin School - "Something's not right when a boy can't watch a nature documentary because he's busy doing maths".
- School provides a standardised place for formal learning - Home does not - Home life can be noisy, distracting, unsettling etc.
- Often homework is given because "parents expect it". As Peter Stanford from the Independent says "Teachers set homework in the belief that it pleases parents. Parents don't disabuse them of this, even when it is exhausting their child, because they don't want him or her to be singled out or seen as failing."
--- Richard Rowe, head of Holy Trinity School at Guildford, Surrey, said he would happily vote to abolish homework but had been unable to persuade parents."I genuinely think that if children of primary age are taught well and do a good day's work, there should be no need for homework," he said. "They should be allowed to have a childhood." (Times educational Supplement 14/3/2008)
----Margaret Morrissey, of the National Confederation for Parent Teacher Associations, said: "Schools need to explain to parents that they want their pupils to be fresh and excited in class.
"Younger children go to school quite early and, if their parents work, don't get home till 6pm. To have homework on top of that just risks burnout." (Times educational Supplement 14/3/2008)
- Even teachers and their union dispute the use of homework - . Professor Dylan Wiliam of the Institute of Education in London, "Research shows homework does not make much of a difference"
--- ATL (Association of Teachers and Lecturers) in 2008 called for an outright ban on primary school homework saying that it was "counter-productive" (+ strict limits on secondary school homework).

numptysmummy Mon 30-Jul-12 13:47:52

Am i right in thinking that we do not have to make our children do homework and that they can not be 'punished' for not doing it? I have issues with primary school homework - 3 primary aged children = alot of MY time and theirs spent doing things they have time to do in school and not doing things as a family. This does not apply to listening to them read/ reading to them.

KCB01 Mon 30-Jul-12 14:02:02

That is correct - There is no compulsion for children to do homework at any age in the UK despite what we are constantly being told. Home-school agreements are also not compulsory documents. We have consistently informed our children's schools in writing each year that while we will support our children in doing any homework they wish to do, we do not expect them to be punished in any way if they decide not to do it. Parents need to take responsibility for supporting their children in a different way instead of hiding behind the convenience of homework. It sounds like you have a great healthy attitude to how to bring up your family - Don't let anyone make you feel guilty for not supporting homework - We care as much, if not more, for the development of our kids.

As I mentioned, there is an e-petition at epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/17055 which I urge you to sign (+ any of your friends that feel the same way). At the very least it may eventually indicate how many people feel this way, as most of the time the lie that 'most parents want homework' is peddled about.

meah Fri 26-Oct-12 10:41:54

I already did that as my ds & dd had been given a load of homework to during the crimble holiday last year!! I told them not to do it and sent them back each with a letter stating that i told them not to the work, its crimble a time for family not more home work time (I did put in the letter that homework is nessecary when they have exams coming up and need to study for them)!! They're at school all day where they should be learning in a classroom with a teacher on hand to funnily enough - teach!! I recieved a phone call later that day from my dd's year head (ha she wasnt a happy bunny grin ) She blabbled on about this n that but what most caught my attention was when she said ( i forget her exact words) that basically the homework they are given is an important part of their learning and are marks/graded on it those grade are then inc in they're end of year report & included/are part of the end of year curriculum leval grades which then all go towards they're exams!! WHAT A CROCK OF BS!!!
My DS is in yr 9 DD in yr 8, they get more homework than i ever did in all of the secondary school yrs, I didnt even get the amount they do when study for exams!!
Not only am i sick of homework at they're age, but i also find it disgusting that if your child doesn't do/hand in the homework set They get an after school detention!!!!!!!!!! 12 & 13yr olds getting after school detention!!!!!!!! I DONT THINK SO!!!! They're not keeping my kids back they've tried but i wont allow it. My kids are TINY for their age and have to get a bus home which is near about an hrs journey, they used to go to an after school club as there is a public bus that runs from there school at 5, but that all stopped when one evening the bus didnt turn up leaving a load of stranded in the dark miles away from home, and they wanna keep my kids back at school for detention - i think not!
Am going back to the school in a bit where again i voice my opinon about everything - will let you know what they say when im back

meah Fri 26-Oct-12 10:44:40

The pettetion is now closed sad

meah Fri 26-Oct-12 10:55:28

KCB01 I couldn't agree with more, and i just lmao reading ....
"I consider the presumption that a school can take up my family’s time outside of the hours prescribed to it as plain rudeness.
- I think it unlikely that the school would take kindly to my setting my children things to do during lessons."
I may have to borrow that when i write to my kids school.

Whats more who can remember being shouted at by the teacher saying,
"Er you can do that in your time NOT mine!!" ?
Shame kids dont have any time to themselves now!

APMF Sat 27-Oct-12 22:54:16

I often thank God that there are parents who feel this way about studying and/or tutoring for 11+. Less competition for my DCs.

ravenAK Sat 27-Oct-12 23:28:18

From the other side...

I'm a secondary school teacher, & no fan of pointless h/w. We are required to set it, via the school's VLE, at least once per week per subject per child.

If I don't, some parent will inevitably complain & I will get grief. So I set it. & I go to quite a bit of trouble to make it relevant, interesting & accessible. I liaise with the librarian & SEN to ensure it can be completed at lunch or in our weekly 'late study' session with support available.

If it doesn't get done, I will give a h/w effort grade of 4 (scale is 1-4) on the next progress review. At this point, another parent will complain, because I haven't phoned them to let them know that the h/w hasn't been done.

'But it's your child's responsibility to write h/w down in their planner, &/or check the webfeed. Also, he's been reminded in the lesson, then had a note in his register, then had a lunchtime detention, which he didn't attend. No, you're quite right, I didn't ring you at home AND on your mobile AND at work at this point; it's not your homework, it's your son's.'

At this stage, the kid just gets an afterschool detention. Which is very much enforceable, via subsequent sanctions including isolation & exclusion.

By KS4, it does become a bit more essential. I'd love for there to be a tick box which says 'Kid won't do homework, parents unsupportive, target GCSE grade reduced accordingly' but there isn't, at least officially.

sweetpea31 Sun 25-Nov-12 12:16:19

Teachers have to set homework to meet the teaching standards. Teachers have to show evidence they have met all the standards and standard 4 states that teachers need to "set homework and plan other out-of-class activities to consolidate and extend the knowledge and understanding pupils have acquired." Teachers are duty bound regardless of their opinion of homework.

I think it does set the child up in good stead for what life throws at them later on. As a university student you will have to work in a job alongside assignments + lectures. It will not wash if the child preaches that he does not agree with doing so much work as it upsets the work/life balance...they will be told to pack their bags! Some children will be lucky and not have to work if their parents pay their way but lots will have to work, maybe full time hours to support themselves. Even so, they will have lots of out of lecture work to do, homework and assignments and lots of reading. If they are used to doing extra work outside of school then this will be much easier to cope with in terms of managing workloads, prioritising and time management. Students will invariably want to just go out drinking etc so having that understanding and work ethic instilled will help them to appreciate what needs to be done.

moonstorm Sun 25-Nov-12 19:07:50

I've only just seen this. I totally agree with the op. There is no point at all with homework. When the dcs are at home, I want us to do family stuff together.

redandwhitesprinkles Sun 25-Nov-12 19:47:50

I haven't read the whole thread. As a teacher I have to mark it so tend to set learning home works such as ask people at home about x, y. Teachers do sometimes set useless homework that they then gave to mark, rather than planning high quality learning opportunities which would benefit the pupil more. However many of us have to set to a timetable rather than a useful learning opportunity.

AutumnGlory Wed 28-Nov-12 22:07:34

My daughter is improving massively from homework and I just wish there was more. But I appreciate she is only year 1 and I'm not yet sick of it because she gets it once a week. However I can see it does help with their learning, makes her proud of herself and more committed to school. She loves it.

moonstorm Wed 28-Nov-12 22:14:38

Yes but you support her. Homework differentiates between those children who have help and those who don't.

APMF Thu 29-Nov-12 08:57:28

Oh my gawd! You mean there are people out there who help their children with their school work? Scandalous. I'm too busy watching Corrie for that namby pamby stuff [inserts sarcasm emoticon]

DS is year 8 at an academic indie and he gets 2 hours of homework a night. Each piece is promptly marked and forms the basis of a future lesson. So instead of teaching the children facts in the lesson, the teacher discusses the homework with the children and solicits their opinions. Basically, they are using the same teaching model used in higher education.

As far as I am concerned, homework is a good thing even at a young age but only if it is done right ie it is pitched at the right level (a maths worksheet that takes 2 minutes is just a waste of time) and is always marked and constructive comments are made.

APMF Thu 29-Nov-12 09:11:51

@moonstorm - I can never understand people who have this EITHER/OR attitude ie you either have homework OR you and your DCs have a social life.

My DCs have a homework load that is greater than most state school kids. Yet they have time for after school clubs, TV for DD and PC games for DS, music lessons/practice. And we still have family time where we play board games and just chat about our respective day at work and school.

So people who say that even minimal homework gets in the way of their family life must have loads more social stuff going on in their busy lives.

UterusUterusGhouli Thu 29-Nov-12 09:23:37

I agree there is often too much. A few Christmases ago dd was set holiday homework "make a power point presentation on the causes of the second world war". She was eight ffs. I don't want to be discussing the myriad of European events that led to WWII over the sprouts. As it happened we have a boring family member who does.

AMPF, my daughter is on the G&T program, has always been top of her class and I certainly don't spend hours & £££ tutoring her. Some people are naturally bright. smile
*attempts to out-smug. Fails*

APMF Thu 29-Nov-12 09:30:11

@KCB01- Such a long post. Where do I begin?

I especially liked the point about how the school won't like it if you set tasks for your DC during school lesson time so why are they setting tasks in YOUR time? Classic. It's a bit like the cops won't like it if you pulled them over for driving while drunk so why are they doing it to you?

As for holding up Japan as an example of a minimal homework culture that still does well, are you frigggin kidding me? Some of my friends work in Japan and they were telling me that the local kids gets lots of homework that consist of learning and memorizing facts. Not only do they get lots of homework, IMO its of the useless type.

APMF Thu 29-Nov-12 09:40:08

@uterus - I haven't mentioned tutoring, at least not in this thread, so why are you directing that comment at me?

That aside, I accept that some kids are naturally bright and that they can coast and still end up with As, Oxbridge and a top job. Like a lot of other kids, mine are bright but aren't THAT bright so they need a pushy parent and an academic school to get them to the same place.

MrsjREwing Thu 29-Nov-12 09:45:13

I agree I thunk it is too much after a long day at school.

APMF Thu 29-Nov-12 10:49:28

@meah - I found your post to be so funny. I suspect that wasn't the desired intention smile

You DC's teachers must sooo love you and your DC.

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