From September 2017, after much research and discussion, Ashford Prep School decided to discontinue homework, although continuing with weekly spellings, times’ tables and daily reading, all activities that have seen children’s confidence built in these key skills. The school replaced the homework worksheets with a range of ‘enrichment activities’. These include activities such as music theory, practical science, word games, debating, chess, coding, French culture, STEM, mindfulness, current affairs and life skills.
The view was taken that for children to battle to complete 30 – 45 minutes of homework after a full day of everything that the school can offer is counterproductive. Hence, the decision was made with the aim of creating a schooling environment that embraces a world of extra-curricular opportunities to learn, as well as allowing the children to be fresh for their day at School.
A year later, based on last year’s assessment results, teachers have noticed no significant dips, and in fact, reading and maths scores have improved noticeably. Year 6’s transitioning to Year 7 have found a new enthusiasm for their homework and children are fresh for the challenges that they face in the classroom. Teachers continue to focus on their pupils’ well-being by allowing children to be children as they head home at the end of the day.
Times are changing, and we need to change with it. The age-old tradition of homework is not something that the children of today unthinkingly need to do. They will be growing up in a different age and one in which the curious, creative and enthused will be rewarded. If this also means that their time spent in the classroom is with a sharper focus then we will have won in all areas.
Written by Rosie Clifford
Deputy Head Teaching and Learning Ashford Prep School.