Homework


School provides a regular pattern of ‘activities for home’ which relate to the lessons being experienced in school.  These activities vary in nature but always have value, helping to consolidate or support the work in school.

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).

Why is Homework Set?

There are various reasons for setting homework, examples of which are:

• 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

Homework for KS1

RECEPTION: Children introduced to taking home books to read with Parents on a regular basis. Parents/carers are encouraged to seek opportunities in every day situations to develop their child socially and intellectually e.g. by playing games, taking turns, I spy, counting, singing rhymes, sharing books.

YEAR 1: As above and Word Lists. No more than one hour per week.

YEAR 2: As above (Target Pages for reading). Weekly spellings. Tables x 2 x 5 x 10. No more than one hour per week.

Homework for KS2

YEAR 3 & YEAR 4: Continuation of Reading, Spelling and Tables. Introduction of grammar task and/or number task. No more than one and a half hours per week.                      

YEAR 5 & YEAR 6: As above + the inclusion of independent topic work could be introduced.No more than two hours per week.

• In all the above, tasks such as Spellings will be differentiated according to the ability/stage of development of the child.
• Children should not be set homework they do not know how to do.
• Homework should generally provide the opportunity to reinforce or practise work already covered in class.
• All homework should be marked within two days and returned with positive, constructive comments and guidance as necessary.
• Homework should not involve too much "finishing off" written work carried out in class.

Role of Parents/Carers in Supporting Pupils

• Provide a reasonably peaceful, suitable place in which the child can do their homework, and pens, pencils etc., to complete the task.
• Make it clear to pupils that they value homework, and support the school in explaining how it can help their learning.
• Encourage pupils and praise them when they have completed their homework.
• Where possible become actively involved in the homework activities of the child.

Tips for Parents to Support their Child's Homework

Reading:

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.

Writing:

The children will learn how to write in many different genres (styles/purposes) from letters to diaries to stories to adverts, etc.

Handwriting

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. Please take time to watch our teacher videos, as they will give you a useful insight into the types of learning your child will participate in during the year. To access the videos you will need to log on to the site (Username: LCPS3_parent. Password: password) Once on the site click on ‘Parent Zone’, then ‘Curriculum’, then the ‘year’ group you want, and then click on a ‘Subject’. A short video should then begin.

- We have recently subscribed to a website that helps provide additional support and challenges for maths (www.mymaths.co.uk). 

- Helpful websites:

www.bbc.co.uk/schools/ks2bitesize

www.spellingcity.com

http://www.smartkiddies.co.nz/

http://www.rif.org/kids/readingplanet.htm

http://www.storylineonline.net

myliteracyclass.blogspot.com

http://www.reading-skills-pyramid.org/reading-phonemic.htm

Assessments and Standards

We use a range of continual assessment methods and strategies, enabling us to monitor and support children as they progress. Questioning is used extensively to probe and extend understanding. Supportive and constructive feedback is provided to all pupils. Assessment is used as a diagnostic tool that informs future learning. Pupils are supported in assessing their own work and in identifying targets for improvement. There are a number of summative assessment tests/tasks that pupils complete at the end of specific topics/areas of learning. At the end of Year 6, children sit national tests called SATs, which measure standards in Maths and English (Reading, Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling). 

At Ladybridge to champion consistency:

  • Half termly homework will be set in the first week of every new half term and children are given the autonomy to select four or more tasks to complete.
  • Homework across year groups should be collected in and set on the same day eg:Y2L & Y2B will both set homework on a Friday and collect it in on the following Wednesday.
  • Parents must be given the tools and means to effectively to support their children’s educational needs, therefore a covering letter needs to be stuck into the front cover of each child’s book to ensure parent’s have a clear understanding of expectations.
  • Non-negotiable for reading, writing and maths, for your year group, will be included in the books – again this gives parents a clear insight into the skills that they can work on at home to support learning.
  • There will be an expectation that homework will be acknowledged by teachers – 1 house point can be awarded for tasks completed and 2 house points where children are deemed to have gone the extra mile.
  • Spellings will be sent home weekly to reinforce spelling rules learned in class, these spelling should also include words from the spelling appendix in the NC or Common exception words.
  • Children must be encouraged to use ‘My Maths’ online learning resource. When homework is handed out will be a good time to flag up any My maths tasks which link with the week’s learning.

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.