One year on, is it pass marks for school that banned home­work?

Par­ents and kids hail move but no other pri­maries fol­low suit

The Sunday Post (Newcastle) - - NEWS - By stu­art Find­lay SFINDLAY@SUN­DAY­POST.COM

It’s a de­bate that has di­vided pupils and par­ents for years – is home­work a good idea?

If one Scot­tish school which voted to ditch home­work is be­ing used a guinea pig, then the days of kids be­ing given sums to do at home could be num­bered.

Last Novem­ber, The Sun­day Post re­vealed In­ver­lochy Pri­mary in Fort Wil­liam had taken the un­usual step of ban­ning home­work fol­low­ing a vote from pupils, par­ents and teach­ers.

The school’s 10 teach­ers were split 5-5, while 62% of par­ents and 79% of pupils were in favour of a ban.

Ac­cord­ing to the Ed­u­ca­tional In­sti­tute of Scot­land (EIS), it was the first time par­ents had ac­tively voted to abol­ish home­work.

A year on, it’s still widely backed by par­ents and pupils but there hasn’t been a rush of oth­ers fol­low­ing In­ver­lochy’s lead.

Barry Hutchi­son, 39, whose nineyear-old daugh­ter Mia is in pri­mary 4 at the school, be­lieves the change has been a suc­cess.

“I’m de­lighted,” he said. “Mia is more re­laxed, she has more time for clubs and seems to be per­form­ing as well, if not bet­ter, than be­fore.

“Teach­ers have said there’s been no slip in stan­dards so I’d say it’s been a re­sound­ing suc­cess.

“If you want your child to do more work at home, the op­por­tu­ni­ties are still ev­ery­where. You can go on­line and get plenty of re­sources. No one should be miss­ing out, but it takes the pres­sure off.

“It means more time for hob­bies for kids to en­joy be­ing kids.”

In­stead of be­ing as­signed work to take home, pupils are en­cour­aged to read books, mag­a­zines and comics for plea­sure ev­ery night in the time they used to use for home­work.

Levi Ma­clean, a seven- year- old pupil at In­ver­lochy, voted to keep home­work last year but his mum, Leona Jones, 35, said he was hap­pier at home since the change.

She said: “I wasn’t sure, but it hasn’t low­ered his level of learn­ing so I’m happy. We still do read­ing and sums at home but there isn’t the same ex­pec­ta­tion.

“We speak to a lot of kids at other schools which get a lot of home­work, which takes a lot of time and causes ar­gu­ments for adults and kids, so they are scream­ing out for this.”

King’s Road Pri­mary in Rosyth scrapped home­work in Oc­to­ber 2016 but some par­ents com­plained about the de­ci­sion as they hadn’t been con­sulted.

It is likely that many are keep­ing an eye on In­ver­lochy’s progress, not just in Scot­land, but across the world.

There has been fierce de­bate in ed­u­ca­tional cir­cles about whether home­work is good for young­sters which has been rag­ing for years.

Par­ents of stu­dents from 12,000 schools in Spain staged a protest telling pupils not to do their home­work for a month, claim­ing they were given too much.

The re­volt fol­lowed an Amer­i­can study re­veal­ing 82% of par­ents thought their chil­dren get too much home­work, with half be­liev­ing it harmed fam­ily life.

A spokesman for the EIS said: “There con­tinue to be a wide range of views and con­sid­er­able de­bate within the ed­u­ca­tional com­mu­nity re­gard­ing the value of home­work.

“An in­creas­ing num­ber of schools have taken the step, fol­low­ing con­sul­ta­tion with par­ents, to move to al­ter­na­tive means of supporting in­de­pen­dent and home learn­ing.

“What is im­por­tant is that schools and teach­ers work to­gether with par­ents and car­ers to sup­port pupils in the mod­els of learn­ing that best suit the chil­dren con­cerned.”

The move got the thumbs up from pupils at the time

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