Home Learning and Directed Study
It is school policy to set Home Learning. We expect students to record their tasks in their Student Planners. Parents and carers are asked to check and sign the Student Planners on a weekly basis. Tutors will monitor the use of the planner as part of the Academic Mentoring programme. It is important that parents retain an active involvement in their child’s homework but that wherever possible the actual tasks are completed independently. There is no published homework calendar but all students are given at least two days to complete tasks. We therefore expect students to complete some homework every evening and plan their time effectively.
Home Learning is set for a number of reasons:
• It encourages students to work independently and develops the skills of lifelong learning
• It allows for activities which we could not easily cover in school time
• It links school to home life
• It helps to keep parents and carers in touch with school work
• It is essential for older children if they are to cover examination courses
The amount of Home Learning set may vary between subjects and some learners will take longer than others over the same piece of work. Different learners in the same group will also not necessarily be set exactly the same task. Home learning falls into six key categories at Sir John Talbot’s School.
1. Homework tasks
These are teacher directed tasks. This is the more traditional style of homework. The teacher will formally set the work with clear instructions and deadlines. This work may be set via a digital classroom such as Edmodo or Google Classroom. If this is the case, full instructions will be found on the website.
2. Homework menus
A series of tasks or activities are set for the 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.
3. Homework projects
Projects are set over a 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 particular 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. Projects will not run for longer than three school weeks.
4. Flipped homework
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 done independently prior to the class based tasks.
5. Reading around the subject
This style of independent study prepares students for Higher Education. It is particularly important for GCSE and A Level learners although it can be set for any year group.
Revision homework will be given to all year groups at various points during the year. GCSEs and A Levels are changing and becoming much more ‘linear’. This means that there is less coursework or controlled assessment and more importance placed on terminal examinations. In preparation for this we will regularly set revision homework. We will train students in a variety of methods for conducting this. We encourage parents to actively engage in this homework by ‘testing’ students after the revision process has taken place. We would encourage you to keep testing until the student has mastered the topics!
In addition to this homework, we place high value on reading for pleasure and would encourage students to read for pleasure at home. As a reading school, we all read together during Accelerated Reading time but the power of reading is not to be underestimated and raising reading skills can have a huge impact on overall GCSE and A Level success. We recommend that additional reading takes place every evening for at least 15 minutes.
The school library is open Monday to Thursday from 3.15pm until 4.30pm. Here students can access computers and books to assist them in the completion of their homework. Our school librarian will also be on hand to assist students in their research and fact-finding.