This school has stopped giving kids homework because it's 'too stressful'
What's right to do in the education system is often hard to figure out, especially when you get down to the nitty gritty of it. As a child, there are plenty of things you know would make school a more appealing place or obstacles that could be removed to make the learning process smoother and more effective. However, once you become an adult, your entire perspective changes.
As an adult, you can understand and see the ways that children may be affected at school that they can't put into words, yet - on the other hand - you've lost a little of the perspective of a child on the way. Basically, I don't envy any parent or teacher that has to navigate that mine-field.
For those in the education system, you might have a new idea you want to try out - but you've still got to get it past the parents. For instance, this month a school in Nottingham, UK, introduced a new 'community service' punishment for troublesome kids, but a lot of parents took issue with their children picking up litter or helping out in the cafeteria.
Further south in England, another school is hoping to introduce a new system to improve the experience for students - this time by stopping giving students any homework at all. Littletown Primary Academy, in Devon, is testing out the change with all pupils except for Year Six (5th Grade), between now and the end of the academic year. Instead of doing homework, they will be encouraged to spend the time reading instead.
The headteacher of the school, David Perkins, explained that they came to this conclusion after reading education research and consulting with the parents, staff and children. According to a letter sent to parents alerting them to the change, the research showed that weekly written homework for maths and English had little impact on grades, isn't always valued by staff, and could cause stress at home.
On the other hand, Perkins argued that even a short time reading at home in the evening during the primary school years (ages 5 through to 11) could have the most positive impact on their grades and intelligence.
"Reading for 20 minutes a day can make a massive difference to a child’s education," Perkins said, while Literacy subject leader Cathy Binmore added:
"Reading is the foundation that underpins all other learning. Promoting a love of this will set our children up for a life of adventure and intrigue and will enable them to continue learning throughout their lives."
Research also reportedly found that the most effective maths homework was to practise their times tables, so the school has recommended that students do this as well as read.
Whether this works outside of the research environment and in the school itself is something that will be discovered throughout the rest of this year. But you can bet that students will be happy not to do it, and staff will be happy not having to mark it.