‘Pupils’ homework is used well to engage pupils and extend their learning beyond the classroom.’

Ofsted report April 2018


1. Rationale

To provide teachers and parents/carers with clear guidelines for practice and to provide students with a consistent experience to support their learning through homework and feedback.

2. Research

Research shows that a strong triangular relationship between parents, school and pupils results in more effective learning. We see homework, independent study and preparation as important parts in the home school partnership that we value so highly. By working with parents/carers to explain our ethos, make expectations clear and establish effective routines we can strengthen this relationship and help parents to have an active involvement in their son’s education.

We are a research-informed school and as such our approach to all elements of teaching and learning is shaped by credible evidence that shows impact upon student learning.

Research shows that homework set for the sake of providing students with an activity between lessons has limited, if not negative, impact upon student learning and progress (Hattie 2009). As a result at Ravens Wood we will endeavour to set meaningful homework on a regular basis to support student learning.

In order for parents to be able to give support at home, it is vital that parents have a complete overview of the homework their child has been set so they can give support at home and ensure deadlines were being met. In response Show My Homework is the sole vehicle through which homework is set at Ravens Wood. This provides students and parents/carers with a complete overview and helps to ensure deadlines are met.

3. When Homework is Set

Working Together

At the beginning of the school year, when teachers and students are unfamiliar with one another, it sometimes happens that the homework given is too hard or too much for some students. If this happens to your child, please help them to do their best, but do not let them struggle on for hours. Likewise, if it appears that the work set is too easy, do let us know. As a guide, use the ‘estimated completion time’ on Show My Homework.

The relationships we develop with our parents/carers is just as important as our relationships with our students. We need to ensure that none of our pupils see learning as something that only happens at school. To achieve this we need all of our parents and carers to support our ethos and approach. To that end we have set out below what we expect from home and how you can help us help your children. We believe that one of the keys to success is having outstanding relationships with all of our parents, so that we are all consistent in our message.

a) Show your child that you value learning and improvement; not just a quick, ‘get the job done’ approach. We believe that it is vitally important to recognise and praise effort and improvement. We should all, wherever possible, show pleasure in student’s learning and improvement and talk to them about their progress over time. Simply focusing on outcomes can result in students lacking the knowledge, understanding and drive to further improve their own performance

b) Don’t shield your children from challenges, mistakes, and struggles. Instead, we should all teach children to love and embrace challenges. We can say things like "This is hard, but good fun" or "This is too easy. It's no fun." We should teach children to embrace mistakes, "Ah, here's an interesting mistake. What should we do next?" And we should teach them to love and value effort: "That was a fantastic struggle. You really stuck at it and made great progress" or "This will take a lot of effort—I can’t wait to get started and see what I can do”.

c) We should stop praising intelligence. Research has shown that, far from boosting children's self-esteem, it makes them more fragile and can undermine their motivation and learning. Praising children's intelligence puts them in a fixed mindset, makes them afraid of making mistakes, and makes them lose their confidence when something is hard for them. Instead, we should praise the process—a child's effort, strategies, perseverance, or improvement. This approach will help students to be willing to take on challenges and they will know how to persevere with things when it gets difficult.

d) Additional ways of supporting your child with homework. There are a range of straightforward but highly effective activities that you could use to help support your child with their homework and independent study and below are just a few examples:

e) Finally, please do get in touch if you are finding that the homework set is either to challenging or too easy. It is crucial that if this is the case staff know about it. Learning beyond the classroom is important and we need to ensure that what we are asking students to do is meaningful, manageable and motivating. Your feedback and observations are helpful and welcome.