No Homework In Primary Schools In England

A headteacher at Britain's first secondary school to ban homework claims the move allows teachers more time to plan lessons.

The new policy has been introduced at the 1,650-pupil Philip Morant School and College in Colchester, Essex.

Principal Catherine Hutley hopes her teachers can work on delivering inspiring lessons instead of spending hours setting and marking homework.

The school's head says there are not enough hours in the day for her teachers to complete all of their work.

So she has announced a blanket ban on homework to give staff time to plan "precise" lessons.

It is believed to be the first time a state school has scrapped homework without extending school hours.

Out-of-school-hours learning will still be encouraged through the school's website with prizes offered to the most dedicated students.

The head is convinced students will benefit but parents have raised concerns about the impact of the policy.

Reaction to the move has been mixed among the parents of pupils affected by the change.

Ms Hutley said: “The job of a teacher is impossible.

"We have the most dedicated and committed staff you could possibly ask for.

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"They are working every hour God sends but planning lessons can fall by the wayside.

"We want it to be the number one priority so teachers can plan for students' individual needs and keep on top of their progress on a daily basis."

The mum of one 15-year-old pupil said her daughter “couldn’t believe her ears” when she heard the news.

She said: “My daughter has never been a big fan of homework so she’s really chuffed about the new policy.

“But I’ve told her that it doesn’t meant she’s off the hook as I am going to make sure she’s still studying for a couple of nights each week."

Mum Jodie Finnigan, who has two children at the school, said: "I support the school.

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“I have always felt that kids have too much homework.

"Especially when it encroaches on their weekends and holidays - a time that they should be resting and re-charging.

“I have friends who are teachers and I am very aware of the high volume of extra work they have to do.

“It's a very brave step but one that I am sure has been well thought out and may lead the way for other schools to follow in the future.”

A dad with a child at the school said: "As usual the kids who want to work hard and succeed will still do well. "My worry is for the youngsters who need to study harder to get the results.

"It could be that they are the ones who suffer."

The scheme was discussed for one year before being implemented.

Ms Hutley added: "We are aware opinions on this issue are polarised with many parents and carers delighted by the change but others concerned by what the move will mean for their child.

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"If, for any reason, we start to see this new approach to homework is having a negative impact on students' progress, we will do something about it. "But I do not believe that will happen."

Last year the independent boarding school Cheltenham Ladies' College announced plans to ditch homework in response to an "epidemic" of mental health problems.

In 2013 Jane Austen College, in Norwich, said pupils would be expected to complete all their work during timetabled hours and extended the school day to 5pm.

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A primary school teacher has defended her new "no homework" policy, saying it was in the best interest of her eight-year-old pupils.

In an interview with People, Brandy Young, a teacher at Godley Elementary School in Texas, said she had received full support from the school’s administrators, parents - and espeically the young students.

"They're excited, but they do understand that not having a homework packet doesn't mean learning ends when they leave [the] classroom," she said. 

"I'm encouraging them to develop new skills and spend time with their families and find something that engages them."

The 29-year-old teacher wrote a letter to parents to announce there would be no formal homework for the coming school year, which started on 22 August, except the work that students had not completed during class. 

Instead, Ms Young encouraged families to eat dinner and read together, let their children play outside and get them to bed early.

The letter was posted online by parent Samantha Gallagher and it quickly went viral, with more than 72,000 shares on Facebook.

Ms Young said it would have been "tremendous" to have experienced the same policy when she was at school.

She said the amount of homework for children today appeared to have increased.

"Any homework that's given just needs to be meaningful.

"The kids are so busy and they work hard days, and when they go home, they don't need busy work, let's just make sure we're not giving busy work," she said.

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