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Homework develops independent study and enables students to become life-long learners. This page explains why homework matters and how we are setting homework this year.
Why homework matters - five key reasons
As the world of education changes, homework is more important than ever. So, what are the five most important reasons homework is important in modern education?
- As GCSE courses now place a greater emphasis on end of course exams, it is essential pupils become independent learners at as early an age as possible.
- With the emergence of the internet, information is more readily available than any other time in history. Relevant, investigative, homework tasks inspire pupils to explore this wealth of information for themselves.
- Independent study teaches important life skills. Only by working without the support of teachers can pupils learn how to self-manage and find answers for themselves.
- It's not the work completed in class that will ultimately decide pupils’ GCSE results. It’s the hours spent at home or in the library honing the knowledge and skills required for success.
- Homework can be fun - an opportunity for parents and other adults to take an active interest in what their child is doing.
What will homework look like?
Homework will now be given three times over each half term, for every subject.
Each piece of homework will be accessible via Microsoft Teams with links to each task. All students will have access to Microsoft Teams using their school log in details. For more support on how to log in to MS Teams please see our Remote Learning Resources page.
Each half term, homework will set for all subjects following the same format.
Homework Task 1: Prior Learning
Students will complete a task to cement their prior knowledge within each subject. Students will be given tasks that will be created to look at topics, lessons from previous weeks, terms and years to ensure key information is still being retained.
Homework Task 2: Current Learning
Students will have a focus on current topics within each subject area and provided with a task that will show understanding of current knowledge and embed this learning further.
Homework Task 3: Future Learning
The final task for each half term will consist of a new learning that will focus on future topics within each subject area. Students may be provided with reading material, research tasks or support resources to enable them to complete the third task.
Stretch and Challenge Project: One per half term
Each subject area will also be providing a Stretch and Challenge Project for each half term. This will incorporate all learned materials from the half term allowing students to apply their learning within a larger independent task. This is aimed at challenging students independence and learning initiative within different subject areas. This task is not a mandatory homework but one, if completed, will support the students learning and understanding within that subject area.
Each half term students will be provided with a Knowledge Organiser for each subject to use in their books in lessons as well as being posted to MS Teams.
A Knowledge organiser is a set of key facts or information and subject specific (disciplinary) vocabulary that students need to be able to recall in order to master a unit or topic. The Knowledge Organiser also contains the homework tasks outlined above.
Typically, an organiser fits onto one page of A4 or A3 – this helps students to visualise the layout of the page which in turn helps them to memorise the information better. The Knowledge Organiser creates a shared understanding between home and school of the key knowledge and homework tasks for each subject per half term
Click HERE to view and download our Knowledge Organisers for Autumn Term 2021-22.
Intent: Why do we use knowledge organisers?
The intention behind using Knowledge organisers is:
- to support retrieval practice
- to support explicit teaching of disciplinary language
- to emphasise homework as part of the learning process
- to support a shared dialogue of learning between teacher, student and home.
GCSEs and BTECs are becoming increasingly challenging. Most subjects have lost their controlled assessments (previously known as coursework) and these have been replaced with additional exam papers. The focus of these exams is the retrieval and application of knowledge. This puts increasing pressure on students to know and retain even more information for longer.
Our short-term memory is designed to be just that and has limited capacity. Pupils find themselves unable to retain the information, they become stressed and often give up, convincing themselves they are no good at revising or that they “can’t do subject ‘x’ ”.
The secret to success is to regularly revisit the knowledge to be learned (known as ‘spaced retrieval’). This helps transfer the knowledge from the short-term memory to the long-term memory. This not only helps to make ‘stick’ but it also frees up our short-term memory for day-to-day learning and experiences.
Implementation and impact: How will a knowledge organiser help my child?
Knowledge organisers will be made available at the start of each half term to help students remember what they’re learning and to help them to understand the bigger learning journey in their subjects. Instead of forgetting previous learning, pupils continually revisit and retrieve prior learning from their long-term memories making is easily accessible when needed.
How will a knowledge organiser help me to help my child?
Many of you ask us how you can help to support your children at home. Some of you are worried that you don’t have all of the subject-specific knowledge to be able to help your children. Some of you worry how to check that your children have done their homework and revision. The knowledge organisers will help you to do this easily.
How will I know when homework is due?
Whilst the knowledge organisers contain the three homework tasks, they do not include set and due dates. This information can be found on MS Teams. This allows students to take responsibility for their learning and also allows the teacher flexibility in setting the homework at the most appropriate point in the students learning.
Teachers will set regular retrieval homework for students from their knowledge organisers and at the start of lessons, the “Do Now” activity will test students’ ability to recall this powerful knowledge. In addition to this, three homework tasks are detailed on the knowledge organiser, these are:
- A review task based on prior learning
- A consolidation task, based on current learning
- A research task based on future learning
These homework tasks should be challenging, yet accessible. Teachers should take time in class to explain the homework clearly. Tasks which enable students to simply download material from the internet should be avoided. Students should complete all homework in their exercise books, not on loose pieces of paper.
Above and beyond the task outlines above, we would recommend that pupils spend thirty minutes per evening in Key Stage 3 and an hour in Key Stage 4 learning the knowledge detailed in the organiser.
Strategies to support your son/ward with homework
- Read through the organiser with your son/ward – if you don’t understand the content then ask them to explain it to you – ‘teaching’ you helps them to reinforce their learning.
- Try converting the information into a mind map or make your own version using clip art imagery if the organiser contains a lot of text. Display on the wall or the fridge door until the memory ‘sticks’.
- Test them regularly on the spellings of key words until they are perfect. Make a note of the ones they get wrong – is there a pattern to the spelling of those words?
- Get them to make a glossary (list) of key words with definitions or a list of formulae.
- Try recording the knowledge from the organiser as an mp3 sound file that your child can listen to. Some pupils retain more information this way.
- Read sections out to them, missing out key words or phrases that they have to fill in. Miss out more and more until they are word perfect.
- Once they are word perfect and can remember all of the knowledge on the organiser, use the internet or a book to find out more or ask the teacher for some (more) exam questions.
Accessing online homework
The following guides will help you access homework that is set online:
- How to use Seneca - online ICT or Enterprise Homework
- How to use Educake - online Science homework
- How to use Hegarty - online Maths homework
- How to use Bedrock Vocabulary
For Spanish homework, all students have being issued with their detailed log in to https://www.vocabexpress.com including their username. The password is: spanish. The school code is: UKHBAED. Use Google Chrome and click preview new version (at the top in green).
Click HERE to view our homework portfolio, with examples of the kind of homework we set.