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To think that most UK secondary school children do not work hard enough

(64 Posts)
ReallyTired Mon 19-Oct-15 09:47:19

My six year old daughter who is year 2 has far more homework than my 13 year old son. My inital fear was that my thirteen year old was simply not doing his homework, however the parents' evening has reassured that he is in fact doing all the homework set.

DD seems to have a bit of homework to do every night. I find it insane that we push six year olds so hard academically, but allow teenagers to get away with doing very little. Frankly my six year old is tired after a day of school and doesn't always want to practice her spellings, tables, reading or do her learning log.

Last year my son had half days for sports day, fun run and spent a week doing activities. After the end of year exams there seemed to be very little meaningful learning. Some of what my son did in activities week were meaningful but other activities were nothing more than a jolly. I feel that more would be gained if school trips were spread through out the year and linked directly to the curriculum.

Sirzy Mon 19-Oct-15 09:48:42


And I would be more concerned about a school expecting so much from a year 2 child.

HeySoulSister Mon 19-Oct-15 09:48:53

'most' uk secondary children? have you spoken to them all then?

TheoriginalLEM Mon 19-Oct-15 09:50:44

yabu - you need to be addressing this with your dds school.

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Mon 19-Oct-15 09:50:56

Your six year old will be more of a sponge, she will have fun learning through play, and 10 mins with you is worth 3 hours at school.
Teens are learning in other ways, independent, responsible, friendships, the homework is a red herring. Im happy my 13 works hard in class, and has little homework.

BoboChic Mon 19-Oct-15 09:50:58

Interesting. I've read a few articles recently about the issues with KS3 not being stretching enough. I was interested because the same years raise all sorts of issues in France and are widely considered to be neither sufficiently challenging nor sufficiently structured.

A lot of progress has been made in reforming primary school and ensuring the basics are properly acquired but of course this requires follow on at secondary.

longtimelurker101 Mon 19-Oct-15 09:59:42

Most studies show that homework at primary level is a waste of time, and the only reason schools set it is to meet the OFSTED criteria.

Secondary school children may get set hmw by teachers once a week per subject which would seem less than the proscribed reading and sums that we force on our younger students. This is especially different as lots of secondary school teachers will only set homework when homework is necessary and will be not for the sake of setting homework.

futureme Mon 19-Oct-15 10:02:10

I'd be concerned about the yr 2 homework.

We have spellings weekly and reading as and when but ideally at least 3x a week. Suits me.

howabout Mon 19-Oct-15 10:08:12


Especially as you seem to agree with my feeling that your 6 year old has too much homework.

My 13 and 14 year old don't get much homework, but what they do get has a clear purpose. They are supposed to get on with things like reading, revising and using any recommended on-line supplementary resources on their own initiative. You could raise this with your teenager.

mummytime Mon 19-Oct-15 10:08:25

Your sons school sounds nothing like my DCs secondary (a bog standard comp). They get homework for each subject each week, about 1-2 hours a day in the first couple of years of secondary, working up to more. Some children though can do it in less time (or do most of it in school, lunch and break).

Homework at primary is on the whole a waste of time, and I regret making mine do most of it (reading is the only exception, but I wish they'd had more time for free reading).

You have experience of two schools, and they are don't sound representative to me (I have also worked in several other schools).
I think teenagers are pushed too hard, and a lot are under massive amounts of stress - with huge expectations from school and themselves.

Alisvolatpropiis Mon 19-Oct-15 10:11:26


ReallyTired Mon 19-Oct-15 10:12:23

Its not just me who thinks that secondary school children do not work hard enough. When I look at the topics that I studied in the equivalent of key stage 3 almost thirty years ago, I feel that the national curriculum has been dumbed down in science. At my son's age I was using equations in science to solve problems. The science curriuclum was far more knowledge and skilled based than its now. There are topics in science which are dull, but knowledge is essential if you are ever going to understand the more interesting topics.

I don't think that all of key stage 3 has been dumbed down. English is better taught than when I was at school. Improvement marking challenges my son in ways that I was never challenged.

I would like the secondary school day to be extended. Cover supervisors should be employed to give teens supervised prep. Teachers must not have their hours increased. My daughter's school sucessfully use TAs to mark work. I wonder if more marking coud be outsourced somehow to reduce the burden of work for secondary school teachers. Maybe sixth formers could be employed to do some marking for lower years.

BertPuttocks Mon 19-Oct-15 10:14:09

Neither of your schools sound anything like ours.

My Yr5 dd seems to have less homework than your 6yr-old.

At 13yrs old, my ds had a fair amount of set work, and was then expected to do independent work online using the various websites that the school subscribed to.


Alisvolatpropiis Mon 19-Oct-15 10:14:09

Oh and your six year old doesn't have to do the homework. Schools can't sanction you or her if she doesn't do it.

Studies have shown that homework pre-14 has a detrimental effect and only a moderately beneficial one post 14.

Try being less of a sheep and thinking for yourself rather than blindly following The Rules.

HeySoulSister Mon 19-Oct-15 10:15:45

so you are blindly clutching at some news report to back you up?

HeySoulSister Mon 19-Oct-15 10:18:03

and not all year 8's even go to a 'secondary' school....there are NO secondary schools here in this borough at all

Racundra Mon 19-Oct-15 10:21:08

What money would fund sixth formers to mark work? When would they have time?
Have you actually been in any high-performing secondaries recently?
Children work hard in lots of schools.
Perhaps chat with your son. Maybe he's organised his time well so that he gets his work done at break and lunchtimes so he can relax at home.

TheFairyCaravan Mon 19-Oct-15 10:22:18

My kids are 18&20. They worked hard at school and it seemed that a night didn't pass without them getting homework. They went to an 'outstanding' comp, got all A*s and As at GCSE, DS1 got 100% in a few of his. I don't think they could have worked any harder.

I don't agree with the school day being extended either. Our kids used to leave the house at 7.20 to get the bus and return at 4:30. That's a long day, what time do you want them to stay until?

WorraLiberty Mon 19-Oct-15 10:22:27

I have 3 kids, aged 23, 16 (in sixth form) and almost 13.

Your experience is nothing at all like mine.

And as for, Cover supervisors should be employed to give teens supervised prep.

Every senior school in my borough has a homework club.

longtimelurker101 Mon 19-Oct-15 10:22:58

As a teacher, I've always found the homework issue is really only important post key stage 3. Much of what is set prior to this is for the sake of saying that you set it. It is far more productive to set meaningful homework, that the students know will be assessed properly and will count towards end of topic grades. It gets done properly on the whole (rather than at lunch or on the bus) and therefore yields valuable progress data.

I take all of the OECD tables with a pinch of salt BTW, the PISA data has been shown to be flawed in a number of ways e.g Only students in top Chinese schools in cities take the tests, where as a far wider demographic of students take it here.

The suggestion above that the school day should be extended? Costs money, will never happen, btw TAs shouldn't be marking work, totally unprofessional. As for 6th form marking work? They have enough on their plate already!

Racundra Mon 19-Oct-15 10:23:35

And TAs in secondary on the whole are only paid to work until end of school, so who is going to supervise prep, and where would the money for this come from?
There's a reason pupils in independent sector have extended days and supervised prep- fees make it possible.

NorthenFeminist Mon 19-Oct-15 10:24:23

Yabu. Both my teenage Dc have had so much pressure on them through high school they both ended up with mental health issues. Ds is currently battling bad OCD that has been brought on by stress from school.

ReallyTired Mon 19-Oct-15 10:25:01

When I was 13 I had four subjects of homework a night. I got very good GCSE results and so did most of my classmates. Homework can be benefical if its meaningful. Obviously there is little point in setting homework that is for homework's sake or not properly marked.

A big issue for my son's classmates is that someone of them have nowhere quiet at home to get on with work. I feel that a prep period supervised by a cover supervisor/ teaching assistant would help children from challenging backgrounds. If there is not enough homework to fill the prep period then the child can read. The problem with squeezing home work in a lunch times is that its often rushed and done to an inadequate standard in my son's case.

"Oh and your six year old doesn't have to do the homework. Schools can't sanction you or her if she doesn't do it."

My six year old likes doing home work. It is clearly doing her good as she is making outstanding progress.

NorthenFeminist Mon 19-Oct-15 10:25:30

I think that its primary children who get too much homework rather than secondary not getting enough.

TheFairyCaravan Mon 19-Oct-15 10:27:16

Sixth formers employed to do marking of the lower years? hmm

Jesus Wept! How do you think the sixth formers are going to get the grades they need for university if they're going to be spending the time they should be studying marking work?

You want the school day lengthened and the kids to do more home work but the teachers must not have their hours increased. I don't think I've ever heard anythjng more ridiculous!

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