A teacher friend of mine has recently set up a petition at Number10.gov.uk against the excessive setting of formal homework. I know it's something that I end up ranting about on here a lot, and others have expressed the same frustrations so I hope you don't mind me linking to it:
"As a qualified teacher of more than 30 years experience, I see children being loaded down more and more with multiple subjects of homework every night of the week and weekends. I am very concerned about the effect it has on them.
At the end of the school day, children should pursue other interests; Brownies, Cubs, Guides, Scouts, learning an instrument, sports, voluntary work, youth clubs, gardening etc. Those with talents need time to hone these lifetime skills.
Time spent with family is limited enough as it is. Time together to sit down for a family meal once a day used to be the norm. Now if they can have one meal a week sitting together around a table, they are doing well and homework is a major divisive factor in family evening life.
The musicians, writers, artists etc of our future should be learning these skills in their spare time. Excessive homework as a concept is out-dated, unnecessary and the last resort of teachers who fail to cover the curriculum in class time. We urge you to have OFSTED examine the practice urgently."
I don't agree with homework at primary school. Reading, spellings and tables yes. Maybe the odd project but not regular written work. I have a real problem with it - I know they say homework is valuable but I also think it imposes too much pressure and is really only for the school's league table place at the end of the day.
At secondary - I think they need it, but less of it. I'd like to see the school day extended so they do a 9-5 day and no homework at home - ie like a prep system - say school ends at 3, they have a break and then do 1.5 hours' homework but that will never happen! It would have the advantage of letting kids ask teachers for help as well.