Scottish primary school stops setting homework
A school in the Highlands has stopped setting homework for its 175 pupils.
The decision was taken at Highland Council-run Inverlochy Primary in Fort William after the children and their parents voted to scrap it.
About 80% of pupils and more than 60% of their parents voted in favour of an end to homework.
Instead of homework, the children will be encouraged to read books and comics that interest them and to play.
Highland Council allows head teachers, staff and parents to make decisions on the running of schools.
A spokeswoman for the local authority said: “Highland Council has a devolved school management system in our schools.
“The authority does not have a Highland-wide ‘no homework’ policy in place – this is something that Inverlochy Primary School is trialling in their school.”
Scotland’s biggest teachers’ union, the EIS, said the move at Inverlochy added to a long-running discussion on the setting of homework.
A spokesperson said: “There are a wide range of views and considerable debate within the educational community regarding the value of homework as a learning tool.
Analysis by Judith Burns, education reporter
Inverlochy Primary School is the latest in a lengthening string of schools around the world choosing to scrap traditional homework.
Earlier this year, a high school in Colchester told pupils that it was scrapping set homework in favour of a more independent approach to learning.
Since September, pupils at Philip Morant School and College have selected their own optional tasks with guidance from teachers.
They receive rewards for completed tasks.
Meanwhile, in Spain, “excessive” homework has sparked a rebellion, with pupils from 12,000 schools refusing to do any at weekends for the whole of this month.
Spanish pupils average more than six hours of homework a week, 11th on the global league table, but its pupils perform relatively poorly in international performance tests.
By contrast, pupils in top performing countries such as Finland do less than three hours homework a week.
There is “hard evidence” homework boosts results but there is probably an optimal amount that varies between individuals, Institute of Education experts say, quoting a study suggesting GCSE students who did between two and three hours on every school night were 10 times more likely than those who did none to achieve the government’s target of five A-C grades.
“Certainly, it is important that all pupils develop their abilities to study independently and homework is one – but not the only – method of supporting this type of independent learning.
“Ultimately, it is for individual schools and teachers to determine, based on teachers’ professional judgement and knowledge of their own pupils’ learning needs, how best to structure the delivery of all aspects of the curriculum.”
The spokesperson added: “Engagement with parents – such as through parent councils and forums – is also key in this process.”