Home Learning

John Ball recognises the vital role parents play in their child’s education. We hope that parents, pupils and teachers will work in partnership to promote positive learning within and outwith the school. We aim to promote links between home and school and homework is one way in which this can be done.

In John Ball our philosophy regarding home learning centres around ensuring that we promote the process of learning between children and parents. For this to happen teachers should ensure that they are sending home learning activities that will allow parents to gauge how their child is progressing, practice key skills and work together on an activity that promotes a shared learning experience. Most importantly home learning should be fun and motivating.

By focussing on learning as a process in the learning school, the opportunities for parents to relate to their son’s or daughter’s experience at school increases significantly. The learning school is based upon the notion that everyone connected with the school is a learner, therefore: parents as learners can empathise with their children.

Through this greater empathy, the parent is more likely to:

  • Understand better their children’s learning experience;
  • Support better their child’s own learning at school;
  • Be able to learn with their child;
  • Form a more fruitful part of the learning triad (Coleman,1998): student, parent and teacher.”

Middlewood, Parker and Beere (2005), Creating a learning School, Page 155

Reasons for home learning

Home learning extends the amount of learning time available and can help establish a good work ethic, which will stay with children as they move through to secondary school, further and higher education and into the world of work. Every parent knows their child best and can use their own skills, knowledge and experiences to support their child’s learning. Children often respond well to individual attention from their parents, thus promoting positive relations within the family. Children become aware that learning doesn’t only take place in school.

The purpose of home learning tasks will vary from class to class and stage to stage but will be used to promote:

  • Reinforcement and consolidation of class work
  • Preparation for future class work
  • Opportunities for independent learning
  • Use of resources which may not be freely available in school
  • Training pupils in organising and managing their own time
  • Encouraging ownership and responsibility for learning
  • Opportunities for parental co-operation and support
  • Communication of information on class work to parents
  • Creation of channels of communication between home and school
  • Positive work habits and self-discipline

What can I expect my child to get as home learning?

Pupils should be given home learning appropriate to their needs and be given clear information and feedback when appropriate. Equally, it is vital that teachers be given support from parents in the implementation of home learning tasks.

Home learning tasks will vary according to age, year group, from class to class and will depend on the curricular area of the task. Details of activities and time allocation can be found at the end of this policy.

For example, the time spent on reading practice in the early stages, reading task set in Years 1 and 2 will differ significantly from reading tasks that may be set for Years 5 and 6 pupils. Children may be asked to complete some regular tasks e.g. spelling and, may also be set some extended pieces of home learning undertaking research related to their learning in topic based work. They may also be asked to think about and prepare for a writing task they will work on in school.

Some tasks may be carried out over a number of weeks to allow children to plan their homework, taking their other commitments into account.

What should the teacher do?

  • Make it clear at Meet the teacher night in September how home learning for the class / year group will be arranged, stick to this schedule and inform parents of any changes.
  • Plan and provide tasks that should be stimulating and should also give parents some information about the work being taught in class.
  • Plan and provide tasks that should be matched to the needs of the child. In some cases an individual home learning programme might be appropriate.
  • Assign tasks related to work taught and skills learned in class.
  • Set regular home learning capable of being completed in the given timescale.
  • Where appropriate provide feedback (read and mark) the home learning (and give appropriate feedback) on the quality of the completed tasks. This may be done as a group or as a class, both verbally or written.
  • Support pupils in completing home learning and address any issues or concerns by contacting parents when a pupil is not completing home learning tasks.

What is my child’s role in home learning?

  • Copy tasks or listen to instructions carefully and accurately, making sure they are clear about what is expected of them.
  • Be responsible for looking after their reading record and home learning books / tasks.
  • Ask for help and advice when necessary.
  • Complete the tasks to the best of their ability and hand them in on time.

As a parent what can I do to help my child?

  • Help to emphasise the importance of home learning.
  • Agree a routine for the completion of home learning and check that it is being followed.
  • Give support and assistance when required.
  • Encourage your child to always complete tasks to the best of their ability.
  • Inform the school where there are concerns about the amount of home learning or if pupils are having difficulty completing it.