Homework for me has a number of purposes. Firstly: it allows students to reinforce learning away from the pressure of the learning environment, and that feeling of ‘my best friend gets the work and I don’t want to show the others in the class that I don’t’; secondly, it is about establishing good learning habits, so that the students are able to cope with exams and assessments through the year and ultimately at GCSE (and beyond); thirdly, it allows parents and carers to engage in the learning process, and ask even the most sullen of teenagers what have you being studying at school. Ultimately though, it is about students having the learning regime in place to compete with their peers, whether that is exams in the short term or employment in the long term: i.e. that straight forward philosophy that hard work pays off.
I appreciate there has been some debate amongst parents and students about the relative merits of the new “Show My Homework” feature in school. There are a number of reasons that we believed this was an appropriate time to take such a decision. I have spoken in the past about the need to ensure high standards and high expectations, but that can only be achieved in partnership with parents and carers. However, with more homework being set online, or being completed at homework clubs in schools, it is hard for parents to monitor the homework remotely. The purpose of the package, from a parental perspective, is to allow parents to set their monitoring at an appropriate level for their children. Without sounding disrespectful to any individual student, we all know there are students that rush home and complete every piece of work set and share all of that with their parents, and then there are students at the other extreme that will happily say to parents that they haven’t had any homework set. Whilst I don’t doubt that there will be teething issues, as much to do with the integration with our MIS database than the programme itself, this will allow students to access homework from a range of devices, and parents to monitor at an appropriate level dependent on their child. Equally, as Mr Pickering said last night at the Year 10 Standards Evening, the skills required for students to flourish in modern industry and commerce will be increasingly computer based, and therefore the idea of an online homework diary is apt.