I’m hoping that you’ll join me at our annual Curriculum and Pastoral evening in early November. But in the meantime, your children in year eight and nine will have begun to receive their homework booklets, so I thought I’d write now. If you have time then I’ve explained our extended thinking around homework here, but if you are in a hurry, then the bullet points at the bottom of this email are the key bits of information.
Just let us know if you have any questions at all,
(Assistant Head Teacher)
Homework is a thing that really divides opinion, both nationally and locally, both with parents and teachers. In fact, only children seem to be united in their views on homework. However, we know that children don’t always know what is best for them; very few children choose broccoli over chips. At Turton, homework has two very clear purposes: one, to allow children the vital opportunity to regularly review their learning. The second purpose is to encourage pupils to eventually be able to work even when there is no-one watching. This is not an easy path, and one that, as with most learning habits, requires structure at the beginning of the journey.
In KS3 we have designed a powerful, knowledge-rich curriculum. Our KS3 homework ensures that all pupils have not only been taught this knowledge, but also more importantly, that they remember it. This review work can take various forms including straight-forward rote learning, extended reading, and practice. We are so confident about the correct sequence of learning, that our homework allows everyone to do the same homework at the same time. Some subjects that are set for ability, will do different homework units to reflect their different curriculum. Turton KS3 homework both reflects learning being done in class at that time, but also circles back to earlier learning in order to have a cumulative effect by the end of year nine. No knowledge becomes redundant as a term or year passes: it all counts.
Pupils are, on the whole, in excellent homework habits when they arrive from primary school, and we capitalise on that by transitioning into these same patterns of a weekly homework in all subjects, due in on the same set days every week. Parents tell us that they find this system really easy to follow, and it helps them to support their children. For the subjects that have more curriculum time (like English and Maths) that homework will take longer than other subjects where pupils have only one or two lessons a week. All the homework is given to pupils, and shared with parents on our website, in advance of the due date, whether that be in a termly or yearly format. Our homework patterns support our ‘Hive Switch’ (a behaviour agreement that the whole community supports in order to allow effective learning at school.) On the day that homework is due, there are no excuses, or extensions for not completing homework, (apart from of course compassionate reasons agreed by the teacher), as the reflection on the work takes place there and then in the classroom. At Turton we stick to deadlines. There is, of course, also a consequence for pupils not achieving a score that is right for their ability, as decided by the teacher. Staff at Turton want to support pupils to do their very best, and that includes understanding the consequence of their actions: eventually we learn that sometimes broccoli is the right choice.
· Every subject sets homework weekly, and every subject has a paper booklet that contains the homework, so that you can see what is due for the following week.
· All students have been given a plastic, A4, zip folder to keep their homework booklets in. They need to bring this every day. Some students choose to leave the booklets they don’t need that day at home. Some choose to carry all of them all the time, so that they don’t lose them.
· Staff will do their best to follow our homework timetable (it gives the hand-in day), but when that isn’t possible, they have got students to change the hand-in day in their planners on the homework diary page.
· I have attached the suggested homework timetable for this year for year 8/9.
· SEND students and Scholars sometimes have alternative booklets, or additional support/stretch.
· There is staff support available at the following times: before school (library/breakfast club), break & lunch (library), after school (library/learning support)
· All of the homework booklets & timetables are also available online, and you can find them here: https://www.turton.uk.com/homework/