Year 2 - can school say homework is compulsory?

(88 Posts)
Redcliff Fri 14-Mar-14 17:15:44

I mentioned to one of the other mums at school today that I heard our sons teacher had been keeping children in a break time to finish homework if it hadn't been done and she went a bit crazy - turns out that she never does homework with her kids and when she asked her son today (after I opened my big mouth) he said that he had been kept in for the last two weeks for at least one break time.

She told him they couldn't do this - is this right?

Littlefish Fri 14-Mar-14 17:26:25

No, she's not right.

Each school sets its own homework policy, in the same way that it sets its own behaviour policy.

Whilst I don't think it's great to keep children in at playtime, and certainly not something I would do, if the school says that homework is compulsory, then it can also set sanctions if the homework is not completed.

tiggytape Fri 14-Mar-14 18:52:04

No. She isn't right.
Littlefish is right. There isn't a law that says (for example) that all primary school children must wear a school uniform or complete 1 hour of homework per week but the school are allowed to make this part of their official poilcy and then it is enforceable which can mean sanctions if it is not done.

If there is a problem with the amount of time homework is taking, the other mum needs to speak to the teacher.
If she thinks the tasks set aren't at the right level or aren't helpful, she needs to speak to the teacher
If she just fundamentally disagrees with any homework at all then she needs to speak to the teacher (not that it is likely to change anything).

She shouldn't be telling a little boy in Year 2 to ignore his teacher and defy any sanctions - that is very unfair on him.

Glasshammer Fri 14-Mar-14 19:52:34

I would be very unhappy if my DS and I had decided not to do homework and the school forced the issue. He's only 7, so very young. I would ha e strong words with the teacher and highlight your decision and request they respect it

Redcliff Fri 14-Mar-14 21:16:58

See where your coming from glass but I guess it makes sense for the school to set rules. When she told her son that they weren't allowed to keep him in I did interject with "maybe you (mum) could talk to the teacher - her son is a real sweetie and I couldn't bear the thought of him getting into trouble. I think she feels she hasn't got time or the desire to do the homework.

Littlefish Fri 14-Mar-14 22:15:12

You're absolutely right that the mum should speak to the teacher rather than support and encourage her child to flout the school rules.

AICM Fri 14-Mar-14 22:26:39

There is no law that says children must be set homework. However there are government recommendations.

The issue here is very, very simple. Each school will have a homework policy, children must do homework in line with the policy or take the consequences in line with the policy. Parents are completely free to look for a school with a homework policy of their liking or to home-educate.

As a teacher a would make a stand enforcing this out of fairness to the whole class.

tiptabletops Fri 14-Mar-14 22:35:58

"Parents are completely free to look for a school with a homework policy of their liking"

as free as 0.2 catchment areas allow.

tiggytape Fri 14-Mar-14 23:04:27

If the school you choose (or the only one that you can get into) has a uniform not to your liking, you cannot expect to opt out. You cannot send your 7 year old in mufti while the rest of the class wear the stripy tie and green skirts. The school is allowed to make the rules on this and they are allowed to enforce them. It is the same with homework. They are not going to allow each child to do as much homework as their mum thinks is a good idea.

If you tell your child to disobey the rules and then ignore the sanctions, it will just land them in more trouble which is unfair on them.

This is may be hard on people who have very strong opinions on homework and uniform and yet live in an area where their local schools enforce both but, in that case, they can either speak to the school and see if any specific part of the problem can be solved or, if it is a major sticking point, they can opt out totally and Home Ed. which some people do for just such reasons.

Heifer Fri 14-Mar-14 23:13:41

I would have expected the teacher to have spoken to the parent if the boy had missed so much homework rather than just keeping him in at play/lunchtime.

My DD school has been set homework Mon-Thur (due back the next day) since yr 2, it's something that you just get used to and get on with it.. Think it was just 10 mins a day in yr 2, working up to 30 mins now in Yr 5 + reading & spellings on top.

If a child doesn't finish their homework without good reason (usually because they forgot to take it home with them) then the teacher does keep them in (yr 5) but I've asked if DD could be allowed to do the occasional piece at the weekend if she's had a sports match after school followed by a club, and was told that was fine so there is some flexibility.

Personally I'm all for homework if it helps my DD progress. She doesn't seem to mind as it's something she is used to and am hoping that the transition into secondary school will be easier.

Glasshammer Fri 14-Mar-14 23:28:57

Thankfully my sons school listens to parents and is able to differentiate in regards to completing homework. The kids are generally v bright and the homework doesn't achieve much really.

steppemum Fri 14-Mar-14 23:29:41

actually tiggy, I thought that at primary they couldn't enforce uniform?

PanelChair Fri 14-Mar-14 23:36:36

It is often said on MN that school uniform can't be enforced at primary school, but that simply isn't true. As Tiggytape says, primary schools can adopt a uniform policy and can enforce it. The difference is in the range of sanctions open to them; unlike secondary schools, they cannot exclude pupils for not wearing uniform (although I gave seen differing opinions even on this point).

tiggytape Fri 14-Mar-14 23:56:09

actually tiggy, I thought that at primary they couldn't enforce uniform?

It is one of those MN old wives' tales that everyone thinks is true but isn't. Every so often someone starts a thread to say they cannot find the particular shade of lilac sweatshirt they need or that the school skirts don't wash well and someone else will say that it isn't compulsory to wear them anyway.

Primary schools however can definitely enforce uniforms (and homework) but there is guidance on uniforms at least to keep them so they aren't ridiculously expensive or put people off applying to the school - they mustn't be used to only encourage wealthier families to apply for example.
Schools don't have to have a uniform if they don't want to. A few choose not to and that is fine. But if the school chooses to have one (as most do) then they are also allowed to enforce it.

prh47bridge Sat 15-Mar-14 00:23:25

I'm not going to quote the relevant law again but the basics are that a school can make pretty much any rules it wants within reason to in order to regulate the behaviour of pupils (which includes wearing uniform, doing homework, etc.) and can enforce those rules provided it has a clear policy and follows it.

Regarding exclusions for uniform in primary schools, it used to be the case that DfE guidance said a pupil should only be excluded for regularly and defiantly breaching uniform rules. That was unlikely at primary school. The latest guidance simply says that any exclusion must be in line with legal requirements. My take is that this theoretically means a primary school pupil could be excluded for breaches of uniform regulations, but personally I think that would be inappropriate.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 15-Mar-14 00:26:15

Thank you, prh47bridge. That is what I was grasping for.

wannabestressfree Sat 15-Mar-14 00:32:08

At the school I teach at the deputy head calls the parent and reminds them of thd contract they signed eg uniform, homework detentions. He also reminds them if they don't like it they can move them elsewhere....

AbbyR1973 Sat 15-Mar-14 08:48:11

Actually I think the Mum is in the wrong here.
If she has a fundamental disagreement with homework in principle she should be discussing her views directly with the school not be leaving it to her son.
Lack of time is a bit pathetic. I'm a single parent that works fulltime in a professional occupation including on-call hours nights and weekend. I am still able to find time to hear DS's read at least 5 times a week, supervise violin practise, read bedtime stories to each DS AND supervise homework at weekends.
Unless the amount of homework set is excessive then most people have plenty of time. DS in year 1 has maths, literacy and spellings given out on Friday to be handed in by Thursday. Literacy is usually a comprehension sheet, maths a worksheet related to class work. The maths sheet usually takes him less than 5 mins to complete, the comprehension sheet maybe 10 mins max.

tiptabletops Sat 15-Mar-14 08:50:27

Can I ask if schools can also ban packed lunches? This has happened at our school this term, because the school wants a bigger take up of school dinners which are cooked on site (makes it more economical for the school, but also nominally in support of 'healthy eating', although the school dinners are far less healthy than the food my son used to eat in his lunch box).

Littlefish Sat 15-Mar-14 09:42:46

Tiptabletops - yes, I think they can.

Redcliff Sat 15-Mar-14 18:57:11

Thanks for all the feedback - I thought that would be the case. I don't know why the teacher hasn't spoken to the mum - there are some very challenging children in the class (1 spat in my sons hair last week) and as the "non-homework" boy is fairly well behaved maybe it just slipped under the rader.

Bilberry Sun 16-Mar-14 17:06:02

In Scotland you actually can't enforce school uniform (at least at primary level). This came up in Parent Council as part of an extensive discussion about length of skirts....

morethanpotatoprints Sun 16-Mar-14 17:13:41

No, they can't make it compulsory, nor can they punish your child for not doing it, unless you signed the home/school agreement.
We had this at my ds schools and it took several stern letters and threat of further action before they stopped suggesting they did detention. I even went into school to take them out of one once.
Fair enough, if you agree that is fine, if you sign consent its fine.

wannabestressfree Sun 16-Mar-14 17:22:23

I just don't understand why you wouldn't work alongside your child's school and actually go in and remove them..... What message does that send?

morethanpotatoprints Sun 16-Mar-14 17:26:57

wannabe

It says stand by your convictions and don't be a sheep for the sake of following others.
There is no benefit to homework at this age, they were at school all day and my opinion is they had enough time to teach.

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