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!