In response to comments from parent questionnaires, followed by a discussion at a Parents’ Forum, we have looked at ways we can improve homework. We have tried to consider everyone’s views, and create a homework policy that meets the needs of all (which is particularly challenging, as it’s difficult to please every one). However, we do feel that the changes we have made will improve homework for everyone. To be outstanding in this area, homework must be ‘appropriate and regular’ and ‘contribute very well to pupils’ learning’ (Ofsted).
At the end of a day or week, we expect your child to be tired because they have worked hard at school. We also know that the children are very often engaged in various social, religious, sporting and leisure activities after school (which we actively encourage). As a result, getting children to complete homework can sometimes be a challenge, and should therefore be proportionate to the time and energy available:
- The first priority is always reading (because, once you can read well, you are then able to access all other learning).
- The next two priorities are to ensure spellings and times tables are learnt each week.
- Following that, every effort needs to be spent trying to REMEMBER the information in the subject organisers that have been sent home (Years 1 – 6 only). The subject organisers are a summary of your child’s learning from their ‘Discovery’ lessons, and your child is expected to remember and recall this learning at various points throughout the year (through quizzes, essays, performances, etc). To support and deepen ‘Discovery’ learning we have provided parents with a ‘Make it, Find out about it, Create it, Present it’ grid giving them guidance on the types of activities they could complete at home. In addition, pupils and parents should spend time reading the subject organisers to help them recall knowledge and support long-term memory.
- Some parents/children will think of additional activities linked to the subject organiser (eg. Mind map, model, A-Z, poem, mnemonic, diary, story, photos, drawing, wordsearch, etc), but this is entirely up to you!
If you or your child still has time for more learning, then they can visit Purple Mash, Spelling Shed, TT Rockstars and Doodle Maths/MyMaths (all logon and password information is in your child’s planner). In addition, below are some useful websites, which include a range of activities, video clips, games and also printable worksheets:
pinterest free printable worksheets
Research findings about the impact of homework, at primary schools, are extremely mixed. However, we also know that working at home can have many benefits:
• To encourage and develop self-discipline, study habits and a range of skills in planning and organising time
• To allow reinforcing, extending and consolidating of work done in class
• To give pupils experience of working on their own, and to develop in pupils a sense of responsibility and commitment to their own learning
• To involve parents/carers as partners in education
• To prepare for test/examinations
• To further challenge and extend children’s thinking
• To provide focused and sustained support for less able pupils
Tips for Parents to Support their Child's Homework
How to pick a reading book? Use the 5 Finger Rule to determine if a book is ‘just right’:
- Open a book to any page;
- Start reading the page;
- Hold up one finger for EVERY word that you don't know or have trouble pronouncing:
0-1 Fingers - The book is too EASY,
2-3 Fingers - The book is at the Interest level,
4 Fingers - The book is at the Challenge level. You can try it ~ be sure it makes sense,
5 Fingers - The book is at the Frustration level and is not a good choice for now.
The children will learn how to write in many different genres (styles/purposes) from letters to diaries to stories to adverts, etc.
Do little and often. Use a sharp pencil. Always have 6 feet on the floor (it includes 4 on a chair!). Handwriting sheets are included in this booklet, showing you where letters sit, and the different stages of joining.
How can Parents/Pupils use the Internet to Support their Homework?
- Where children have access to the internet out of school (home, library), we expect children to access the school’s CLC (connected learning community) at www.ladybridge.bolton.sch.uk/clc . Each child will be given their own log in details (recorded in the front of planners). The CLC will include activities as well as links to recommended websites (including those that require passwords/login details, that the pupils will have in their planners). Please also see additional websites above.
Glossary of Terms Used
Decode - Literally, this means to convert a message written/spoken in code into language which is easily understood. In reading, this refers to children’s ability to read words - to translate the visual code of the letters into a word.
Guided reading - A classroom activity in which pupils are taught in groups according to reading ability. The teacher works with each group on a text carefully selected to offer an appropriate level of challenge to the group. Usefully thought of as a ‘mini lesson’. Guided reading sessions have a similar format: the teacher introduces the text, and sets the purpose for reading, for example reminding pupils of strategies and cues which will be useful, or asking them to gather particular information; pupils read independently, solving problems as they read through the text. More fluent readers will read silently. The teacher is available to offer help when it is needed. S/he then guides pupils to appropriate cues, for example use of syntax (word order), picture cues, initial letter; the teacher discusses the text with the pupils, drawing attention to successful strategies and focusing on comprehension, referring back to the initial focus.
CVC words - Those words that have a Consonant, Vowel, Consonant pattern eg. cat
High Frequency Words (HFW) - These are common words that the beginner reader will come across very early in his/her reading experience as they appear in even the simplest of texts. The list of the first 100 high-frequency words includes words which are decodable e.g. ‘dad’ and words which are not initially decodable such as ‘the’ and ‘where’. (see attached sheet)
Phoneme - A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in speech. When we teach reading we teach children which letters represent those sounds. For example – the word ‘hat’ has 3 phonemes – ‘h’ ‘a’ and ‘t’. There are approximately 44 phonemes in English (the number varies depending on the accent).
Grapheme - A grapheme is a letter or a number of letters that represent the sounds in our speech. So a grapheme will be the letter/ letters that represent a phoneme (see above). English has a complex written code and in our code a grapheme can be 1, 2,3 or 4 letters.
Phonological awareness - Awareness of sounds within words - demonstrated for example in the ability to generate rhyme and alliteration, and in segmenting and blending component sounds.
Shared reading - In shared reading, the teacher models the reading process by reading the text to the learners. The text chosen may be at a level which would be too difficult for the readers to read independently. The teacher demonstrates use of cues and strategies such as syntax (word order), initial letter, re-reading. Learners have opportunities to join in with the reading, singly or chorally, and are later encouraged to re-read part or all of the text.
Letters and sounds - aims to build children's speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven.
There are six overlapping phases. The table below is a summary based on the Letters and Sounds guidance for Practitioners and Teachers. For more detailed information, visit the Letters and Sounds website.