Last year Michael Gove scrapped guidelines that laid out how much homework schools should be setting. Let’s ask him to go a step further and scrap homework in primary schools altogether.
Schools continue to operate under the false assumption that homework is necessary for children to gain a satisfactory level of academic achievement, and to pander to the pressure from parents who also operate under this misconception.
The fact is that there is not a single piece of evidence that can show any real correlation between homework and academic achievement at this stage, nor that shows any improvement in study habits.
Yet many recent studies and reports have raised serious concerns about the well-being of children, their lack of physical activity, excessive time spent in front of screens, increasingly limited time for free play, and lack of time spent outdoors.
Homework is an intrusion on family time, on children’s free time, and can be a regular source of conflict in the home. It creates unnecessary anxiety and pressure for children.
Young children already spend enough time engaged in formal school work. To expect them; to bring more of this home risks overloading them and turning them off learning altogether. They learn and develop in so many other ways. Time for free play, outdoor play, pursuing their own interests, and quality family time is essential for their development and well-being.
This is why I’ve started a petition to ban homework in primary schools. Although, truth be told, I don’t think for a second Michael Gove would ever make such a move. After all, this is the man who wants to increase the length of the school day and the school year. I really don’t think he could entertain the notion that children might actually have other things to do with their time than sit at desks cramming as much formal learning into their precious young years as possible. And he’s not really one for looking at evidence – something made abundantly clear in his response to last month’s letter to the Telegraph from several leading experts calling for a rethink in early years policy.
But hey, Gove won’t be Education Secretary forever (God forbid), and raising awareness is always worthwhile. Since Gove’s already scrapped the homework guidelines, perhaps a change of attitude for parents and teachers is all that’s needed to break the current trend.
So don’t despair – sign and share the petition today!
Homework is optional! Children aren’t forced to do it! As a mother of a child I take a pride when my daughter wants to learn more and explore. UK is among very few countries who have the least amount of homework given to children in primary schools. Most children are very proud and enthusiastic when they share their homework with their classmates. Teachers don’t put any pressure on children to do their homework. On my daughter’s it says optional. Don’t take a chance from her to explore the world if she wants to and the chance of being praised for it. You should ban things that are forced, not something that is only given as an option. There should be a choice. It’s so untrue children are forced and so unfair to ban it.
It sounds like homework’s optional at your child’s school, and that’s great, and how it should be. However, it is not optional in my child’s school, nor in many schools, and this is what this post is about.
I think a reasonable amount of homework is good. Even at a young age children need to start to understand about planning and responsibility for their education, otherwise when they get to secondary school and start preparing for exams, they will have no idea how to organise themselves for revision and prepare for the upcoming stress of an examination. They will then encounter stress and worry which will be detrimental to their performance.
Also by working with your child to complete their homework you can identify where their strengths and weakness’ are and help them improve where necessary and increase their confidence as a result.
I believe this argument about preparing for secondary school is often put forward, but again there is no evidence to support it. Primary school homework is a relatively new concept introduced by David Blunkett in 1998. I don’t think a significant difference can be shown between the study habits and planning abilities of secondary school children prior to this, and those who had to do homework in Primary school.
Introducing something earlier than necessary in order to ‘prepare’ children for something they’ll need to do much later, when they are at a different developmental stage, makes no sense to me.