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Questions And Answers


Homework is an aspect of school life on which there are many opinions. In St Colmcille’s we have a very clear homework policy which gives clear guidelines to all parties concerned – the pupils, their parents and their teachers. Here are some questions which often arise and which we have attempted to answer.



Why bother to set homework?


We believe

-         homework has an important contribution to make in developing an individual’s capacity for independent study

-         homework opens up new areas within a subject and allows more ground to be covered

-         it helps to develop perseverance and self-discipline

-         it provides the pupil with an opportunity to practise skills learned in the classroom

-         the teacher can look at your child’s individual work


How often is it set? How do we know there is not too much or too little?


Homework is set regularly in most subjects. At the start of each year, the pupil is given an attractive homework diary into which the homework can be entered. The form teacher will check the homework diary frequently and parents are encouraged to sign it each week. It is carefully monitored, so that no pupil has too much or too little.



What form does homework take?

Homework should extend and clarify classroom activity and will vary according to the pupil’s age and ability. Tasks set by teachers may involve writing, drawing, designing, reading, learning off by heart or collecting materials.



We thought homework just meant writing an essay or doing a page of sums…


Education has changed much over the last twenty years and this is reflected in the form of homework. This has been particularly the case since the introduction of GCSE. It is now even more important that pupils develop the skills necessary for individual study and research. Nowadays homework may comprise of the following types of work: written, diagrammatic, correction work, learning, reading, revision, research, designing, conducting interviews, direct viewing or listening, observation or tape recording.



Does Homework vary from Department to Department?


Yes, both in the predominance of the type of homework and the amount – a subject studied for two periods a week may not set the same amount of work as a subject occupying six periods.



How can we as parents help? It is all so different from when we were in school.


Parents often ask how they can help children with their homework. First and foremost your children will be encouraged if you take an interest in what they are doing. Ask to see their books or offer to test some work which has to be learned. Please help the children to establish a regular homework routine. Time should be found for them to develop their interests and hobbies, which are also important. A concentrated effort is needed, not a period of prolonged worrying. It is ideal if a room can be set aside where homework can be done free from disturbance. Such an arrangement is not always possible, but do try to give them the use of a table on which they can work. Each pupil will be provided with a Homework diary. Please check and sign your child’s Homework diary at the end of each week. Your co-operation is much appreciated and will aid the communications between yourself, the form teacher and the pupil. The diary helps pupils remember tasks set and allows parents and teachers to keep up to date with a pupil’s homework.



How much time should homework take?


It is estimated that the average pupil in KS3 in Years 8, 9 and 10 will need to complete up to 11/2 hours homework per night, and the average pupil at KS4 up to 2 hours homework per night. This can only be a rough guide as all pupils work at different speeds. The latter estimate includes continuous work on long term examination projects. Pupils involved in such projects/GCSE coursework are strongly advised to plan their programme of work to avoid congestion during the later part of the year.



What should we do if we are still not clear or are unhappy about homework?


If at any time you should feel any disquiet about your son/daughter’s homework, do not hesitate to contact us. Equally if the homework of any pupil is repeatedly unsatisfactory, for whatever reason, we will of course seek your help to remedy the situation.



But who should we contact?


If you have any questions or concerns regarding homework will you please contact your child’s Form Teacher or Head of Year.



It is most important we work together over your child’s education.

Your influence in ensuring that homework is done is very important. Supervised homework can be provided if necessary in school.

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