Developing the skills to study independently is our aspiration for all students at Shrewsbury Academy. We aim to help students grow and apply these skills as they move through all phases of their education in our school.  We develop student independence through a planned homework programme supporting our students in their transition from Key Stage 3 into examined subjects.

Key Stage 3 and beyond

Homework is defined as any work set by teachers, or completed voluntarily by students, that takes place outside the classroom and timetabled lessons. Every subject area has its own specific requirements regarding the type and frequency of homework. This varies according to the demands of the subject, curriculum time and what has been proven to be effective. However, every subject operates within the following framework:

Task setting:  

It is our aim that homework should be set early during the lesson allowing time for students to ask questions about the task/s and ensure that they have fully understood the instructions, how it fits in with the course they are studying and why the additional learning is important. Homework should be clearly explained and communicated to students and parents/carers using Office 365 via the TEAMSs assignment function. Here all learners can access details of the tasks plus specific information regarding deadlines.

Homework deadlines:  

To minimise stress for students, and to allow them the opportunity to plan commitments around their interests outside school, students should be given sufficient time to complete tasks to a high standard. Teachers will take these factors into account when setting tasks.

Quality not quantity:  

Homework should only be set when there is a clear benefit to the students. It should never be set for its own sake. For this reason, each subject will have a distinct schedule for homework linked to the curriculum.

Appropriateness of tasks:  

Teachers will refer to students’ ability and progress, putting measures in place to ensure that all students can access the task. As students move through the school, homework tasks will increasingly prepare them for examinations and may include past paper questions and revision strategies for recalling knowledge. In KS4 all students will be given guidance on how to access and use GCSE Pod. The school’s dedicated GCSE Pod lead is Mrs. G. Hughes.

Supporting students with homework:  

Many students require additional support to complete homework tasks. They may require a quiet place to work, access to a school computer or further support from their teacher. Teachers and progress leaders will endeavour to provide this support within lunchtime and after school homework clubs.

Teacher feedback on homework:  

Students invest time and effort on homework and will quite rightly want to know how well they have completed the tasks. Therefore, feedback will be timely and in line with the school’s assessment policy.

Consequences of not completing tasks: 

If a student is not going to be able to complete a homework task on time, every effort should be made to communicate this with teachers. Students will be encouraged to manage their homework workload and support will be provided to achieve this, however persistent failure to meet deadlines will result in sanctions.

Types of homework:  

Students will receive a wide range of homework tasks from their teachers over the course of a year. These may include but not be limited to;

These are teacher directed tasks. The teacher will formally set the specific work with clear instructions and deadlines.

A series of tasks or activities are set for a half term or term and students are asked to select activities of their choice from the menu. The menus will cater for a range of abilities and preferred learning styles. Strict deadlines will be issued but there is an element of choice for the student in the style or type of task.

Projects are set over number of weeks at the discretion of the teacher. These projects will require the student to be independent and to demonstrate good organisational skills. This type of homework develops a variety of skills and enables the student to spend time on areas of interest within the project. Students will be expected to touch base with their teachers and explain how they are progressing with the project.

Teachers issue topics to be researched and learnt prior to a lesson. The student’s research and understanding enables them to take part in a series of activities and tasks in the classroom. The ‘learning’ element is conducted  independently prior to the class-based tasks.

This style of homework prepares students for Higher Education. It is particularly important for GCSE and A Level learner to ‘read around’ their topics and themes although it can be set for any year group.

Revision tasks will be given to all year groups at various points during the year. GCSEs and A Levels have changed and become more ‘linear.’ This means that there is less coursework or controlled assessment, and more importance is placed on terminal examinations. In preparation for this we will regularly set revision, retrieval, and recall tasks. We will train students in a variety of methods for conducting this. We encourage parents to actively engage in this homework with their children.

In addition to the homework tasks above, we place high value on reading for pleasure and would encourage all students to read for pleasure at home. The power of reading is not to be underestimated and improving reading skills can have a huge impact on overall progress. As a part of a ‘reading multi-academy trust,’ we all read together during Reading Time during the school day. We recommend that additional reading takes place every evening for at least 15 minutes for all our students.

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