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(40 Posts)
bargainmad Thu 05-Jul-07 12:35:36

My son is in year 7 and definitely since Easter he has received very little homework and any he does get is over and done with in 10 minutes. He gets 2 homeworks a week approx. I have looked on different websites and the average for year 7 is about one hour I believe.

He got 3 level 5s in primary school and his targets were set at 6c which he is more than capable of achieving but for some reason this year he is not motivated and his grades have dropped.

I've sent a letter in to the headmaster and head of year saying I am concerned about the lack of homework as they said at the open evening there would a big drive on it his year. I think if he is not achieving his potential he needs homework to remain more focused and to reinforce what he has done in class?

The head of year phoned me and said she was very surprised and was he writing all his homework down in his journal? I said if he wasn't there were no comments from teachers to say he wasn't doing it. Basically she didn't accept that the school wasn't giving enough homework and said it was my son's lack of motivation that was the problem.

I also wanted to know what strategies the school have for clever boys who are not motivated enough.

If things don't improve I will be going into see the headmaster next half term. I was always afraid of this happening when my son went to secondary school. His report was fairly good and said he was on target and working reasonbly well but when I actually speak to the teachers they paint a very different picture. I wonder whether they are careful what they put in reports as the headteacher has to sign them?

He was definitely motivated in primary and was quite competitive.

Sorry for such a long winded post. Would welcome any advice from secondary school teachers out there.

NoodleStroodle Thu 05-Jul-07 12:39:05

DS (11) just finishing Yr 6 in independent school.

2 x 30mins a night and 3 x 30mins or a bit longer at weekend

DD (9) 1 x 30mins a night & weekend

School should have a "Gifted & something" policy.

But it depends on that the homework is for...

MrsWeasley Thu 05-Jul-07 12:40:14

I have found this too!

my DD is in year 7 and rarely gets homework, maybe only 2or 3 pieces a week!

bargainmad Thu 05-Jul-07 12:52:15

One of his friends goes to private school (that is now being changed to an Academy)and his mum reckons he gets 90 minutes a night and this is to keep up the high standards and ensure they are disciplined throughout school.

I really don't know whether he is in the gifted and talented category but he is capable of getting top grades if he puts the effort in.

His geography teacher said he should be one of the high achievers in the school and leave with 10 or 11 top grade GCSES and if we have any concerns to not hesitate in contacting the school as he is one of hundreds and can get overlooked by the school!

We picked this school out of 3 - the best of a bad lot really. Gets an average of 55% A - C passes each year but is rising slowly. With our support I am sure he will achieve but I need to know that the school are not willing to let things slide which I can see happening before my eyes.

Maybe things will improve in year 8.

fizzbuzz Thu 05-Jul-07 20:32:00

1-1/2 hours hwk a night is what our Y7's should be doing.

However sometimes a teacher is absent on a course or marking loads of GCSE coursework, and hwks may not get set. This does reach a peak at Easter when we are up to our eyes in GCSE and A Level coursework, and the odd week may get missed. however I and most teachers try to set homework all the time.

However you raise 2 points. The first is that he may be getting set homework, but not recording it in his planner. This is very common unfortunately. heads of year often say a parent has rung up saying so and so has got no hwk in planner, when I KNOW I have given them homework that week. The best way round this is to ask Head of Year to request that teachers check to see if he has recoreded it. also some teachers give out hwk at end of lesson, and kid's don't get it writtten down in time. Homework should really be given out t start of lesson.

Bright but unmotivated boys are very common. A lot of bright boys can be like this unfortunately, and this can peak in Year 8.
I think unmotivated boys are a national problem which needs addressing by the government. Basically schools teach usually in a style that suits girls' learning but not boys. This could be addressed by single sex classes in co-educational schools, or raising the profile of boys, in a similar manner to the way girls achievement was raised 20 or so years ago. However it is currently cool for boys to scrape by rather than excel

I am glad to see coursework is disappearing in some subjects as this should equalise girls and boys more. It is the introduction of coursework which has benefited girls but failed boys IMO.


Celia2 Thu 05-Jul-07 21:23:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

roisin Thu 05-Jul-07 22:23:34

To me the phrase that worries me is "they said at the open evening there would a big drive on it his year". This suggests to me that the school are aware that their homework policy has not been right, that they are attempting to address it, but have clearly not got there yet.

Personally I would be very unhappy to have a child at a school with this sort of situation. I would be happy to send them to a school with a policy and practice of no homework, or to one with lots of homework and an expectation that it is done (or consequences), and marked and feedback from teachers.

But the middle-ground is a disaster-zone.

katelyle Thu 05-Jul-07 22:45:18

Has anybody got any research to prove that homework actually makes any difference at all? My dd starts secondary school in September and we have been warned to expect 90 minutes or so a night. She will have a train journey and will be lucky to be home by 4.30-5.00. A bit of chill out time takes us to 5.30 -5.45. Then 90 minutes homework - 7.00. Dinner, bath, bed. Where is music practice, sports training, playing with little brother, family time, hobbies, reading, messing about, scouts, dancing....I coulde continue. I reckon if they work them properly at school there should be no need for homework!

Lilymaid Fri 06-Jul-07 10:49:36

Fizzbuzz is right Y8 can be a disaster zone and your child (especially boys) can get completely switched off school then. DS2 (Y11) commented to me recently that he wished the teachers had made as much effort to encourage them in the lower years as they did for GCSE when great efforts were made to ensure that everyone capable got the 5 GCSEs A-C. I think many schools concentrate their resources on the exam years and Y7 and Y8 suffers.

mahonia7 Fri 06-Jul-07 16:28:47


My son is in year 7 and gets hardly any homework as well. He has not been in trouble for not giving in homework..very little in planner. Homework given is so easy he does it at lunchtime or end of lesson.

He got 3 level 5's in his SATs. I spoke to someone in the school and they said that year 7 was an easy year and things get harder in year 8.

I went to a study day at the beginning of term run by T & G dept of council and I have followed their guidelines as I am concerned about the lack of homework..

Basically I set him homework myself. About an hour a night..Monday to Friday. Weekly he would do something like..

French and Spanish vocab (ds very good at languages and this should be built up gradually)
A few spellings
Reading through supplementary science books that go into more detail (loves science).
A few Maths questions or talking him through topics
Read a few chapters a week (not much success here).

The study day said that children should learn gradually and get info into long term memory. They also said that children should be learning about 5 new words a day if doing languages along with spellings.

He is doing ok in the subjects that I can help with maths, science, French, Spanish and history but the other subjects I'm not sure of...

I find the radio silence from secondary school a real struggle and I know I'm not alone...


figroll Fri 06-Jul-07 21:02:16

My dd goes to a grammar school that appears at the top of the league tables each year. She is in year 7 and gets only a little homework each night - she seems to get it done in about 15 minutes and sometimes she does it at lunchtime at school. She is still only 11 and I don't want her working right through the evening. She needs to relax, play, watch telly, mess about etc. If school finished at 12.30 then fair enough, but her school doesn't finish until 3.45, so setting huge amounts of homework would seem unreasonable to me. Celia2, how does your son cope with 2 hours a night? That sounds a real killer.

My older dd is in year 10, and she gets a reasonable amount of homework, but it comes in peaks and troughs. We are in a trough at the moment and she hardly gets any, but when the coursework kicks in she can spend about 3 hours a night.

Hope this helps.

fizzbuzz Fri 06-Jul-07 21:26:04

I'm not sure that teachers focus all their attentions on GCSE and don't push lower school years as hard.

I think it is a developmental thing. Teaching Y7 is like teaching loads of mo.ecules that bounce of each other, they are so full of energy, you could run the national grid off them!

Y9 are very laid back and much quieter, and Y8 are in between the two. I really think it is to do with maturity. Y9 listen better and concentrate more than lower years. So something must happen to them to cause this difference

Celia2 Fri 06-Jul-07 22:52:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Milliways Fri 06-Jul-07 23:04:53

My DS is also 11, in Yr7, and he gets a goog 1.5 hours a night (except it has eased right off the last few weeks as they have had exams & have a week away next week).

He is also in a State Grammar at top of league tables.

It just becomes a way of life, and makes GCSE coursework not such a shock.

katelyle Fri 06-Jul-07 23:19:15

"Has anybody got any research to prove that homework actually makes any difference at all? My dd starts secondary school in September and we have been warned to expect 90 minutes or so a night. She will have a train journey and will be lucky to be home by 4.30-5.00. A bit of chill out time takes us to 5.30 -5.45. Then 90 minutes homework - 7.00. Dinner, bath, bed. Where is music practice, sports training, playing with little brother, family time, hobbies, reading, messing about, scouts, dancing....I coulde continue. I reckon if they work them properly at school there should be no need for homework!"

I'm sorry to copy my own post - but I would really like an answer if anyone knows!

roisin Sat 07-Jul-07 08:04:28

Fizzbuzz - ROFL at your descriptions of yr9s. Ours are nothing like this at all: they are not laid back, quieter, or more mature. And they certainly can't listen better and concentrate more.

fizzbuzz Sat 07-Jul-07 09:13:20

I love Y9, they are my favourite year! They really are much better than 7 or 8 in our school..........and yes they do listen better and concentrate harder.

snorkle Sat 07-Jul-07 09:45:54

katelyle, don't know the answer, but she should be able to do some at lunchtimes or on the train if she has other activities that she doesn't want to miss.

My experience is that the amount of homework varies, not only according to the schools/teachers, but also very much according to the child. Some will get more done in class and/or do a less thorough job of it at home and so appear to have very little, whereas others make a great meal out of whatever is set producing very detailed projects and so can spend ages on the same homework.

unknownrebelbang Sat 07-Jul-07 10:06:44

Forgive me Roisin, but I'm choosing to ignore your post about yr 9s, and going with Fizzbuzz's. (I have to have some optimism, lol)

DS1 is coming to the end of Yr 8, and I'm hoping for big improvements in Yr 9, lol.

He's not doing too bad generally (he's still doing quite well), but he was highly motivated in primary, did well in Yr 7 (but had less homework than expected), whereas in Yr 8 he seems to have lost a lot of interest.

Am hoping the summer break will recharge his batteries and set him up for a good Yr9.

fizzbuzz Sat 07-Jul-07 12:41:22

Y8 are known for being the underachieving year nationally.

Y9's have SATS and that is what focuses them IMO. Also they only start to improve after Christmas. Until then they are still like Y8's

FlamingTomatoes Sat 07-Jul-07 12:54:40

Mmmm, working through lunch at 12 years old... great.

FWIW my friend used to get set extra homework by her mother and she still resents her for it nearly 20 years later.

Our children are not preparing for life, they are living their life.

snorkle Sat 07-Jul-07 13:36:45

The more other activities you want to do the more organisation you need. Sometimes, even if you're 12, that might mean working through lunch if you really want to go out to scouts/dance class/whatever on a 'heavy' homework night. I don't see why the sceptical face? I always used to do my homework on the train & I've seen other kids doing this recently too. If it doesn't appeal, then this might be where reading/some chill-out happens. Music practise might be before school; the 3/4 hr chill time on getting home in practise will often include some playing with little brother, family time, hobbies, reading or messing about. And there's always the weekends too.

I expect that it won't be as much as 90mins every night, so, if she's prepared to be organised, there probably will be time for a fair few activities too.

FlamingTomatoes Sat 07-Jul-07 13:39:23

45 minutes a night chill out time?

I'd rather have a child that's dim but happy.

I think it's disgusting to be expected to work through lunch just so you have enough time to eat, sleep, and do anything extra curricular - at 12. That's why the sceptical face. What sort of life is that?

Whizzz Sat 07-Jul-07 13:40:20

Year 7s in the school where I work have a homework timetable - I'd say its spread at 1 or 2 subjects a day (sometimes they get away with no homework though) but now they are winding down for summer hols - hoemwork has dwindled. Each subject shouldn't take longer than 30mins. Some of the kids who work faster in class end up with less as often the homwork is 'finish off classwork'

unknownrebelbang Sat 07-Jul-07 13:40:56

DS1 will occasionally do his homework at school, it suits him sometimes.

We really struggle to get DS2 (yr 5) to do homework at home, so occasionally we arrange for him to do it in the school lunch-break, with everyone's agreement - including his. He's happy to do this and gets it done.

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