Home learning is an integral part of a student's learning experience, and every student is expected to complete the home learning set for them to the best of their ability. Teachers, students, and parents and carers all have part to play to ensure that learning that is completed at home has a positive impact on progress. The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) recognises that, for secondary school students, quality home learning can add up to 5 months’ learning progress.
In The Downs School, we set Home Learning via ‘Assignments’ on Teams and/ or via Show My Homework (students will be able to access the same home learning via either platform as the applications communicate with one another).
Home learning is given to:
- Reinforce and strengthen the learning that takes place within the classroom, through revision activities and practice examination questions.
- Allow students to extend knowledge and skills beyond the classroom – for example, through research opportunities and super-curricular learning opportunities.
- Provide an opportunity for students to draw upon family and community experience by linking out of school experiences and lesson experiences.
- Develop the skills for independent learning/study.
- Support formal assessment opportunities that occur in lessons.
- Enable students to understand how subjects interrelate.
- Prepare students for future learning – for example, article reading that may support class discussion.
Home Learning versus Super-curricular Learning
Super-curricular learning is learning that takes students beyond what they have learned in the classroom: it is used to broaden and deepen a student’s understanding of the curriculum. At times, super-curricular learning tasks may require students to research and engage with content they have not formally been taught. Super-curricular learning can include, but is not limited to, preparing a presentation on a new topic; researching context in preparation for starting a new topic; reading a book, specialist article, or journal linked to the subject a student is studying; listening podcasts or lectures to gather information (or creating podcast/ blog/ vlog content); watching films and/or documentaries; visiting museums; writing a short story; or completing a case study on a topic.
Super-curricular activities are recognised as an important part of the home learning experience at the school because:
- They help students to develop independent learning skills which are important for life outside of the classroom.
- They empower students to be able to overcome challenges and to build confidence.
- They promote a love of learning and intellectual curiosity.
- They provide students with ideas to draw upon during discussions inside and outside of the classroom.
- They enable students to engage in a variety of learning experiences.
- They allow students to engage in leadership opportunities.
- They are valued by institutions outside of school.
- They allow students to work on time management, organisational, and research skills (to name a few).
Roles and Responsibilities
It is the responsibility of the student to:
- Refer to ‘Assignments’ via Teams on an ongoing basis to check, and complete, home learning according to the expectations set out by the subject teacher.
- Reflect on the purpose of the home learning, how it contributes to their learning, and how it supports formal assessments.
- Have an open dialogue with teaching staff if they have any questions about home learning tasks.
- Take time to reflect on any written and/or verbal feedback given for home learning, or the assessments linked to home learning, and respond to this in a meaningful and appropriate way.
- Complete home learning to the standard outlined by the subject teacher.
- Hand all home learning in on time.
If a student fails to complete home learning to the standard set by the teacher, the school consequences system will be used. As Home Learning is an important part of the curriculum provision, students should recognise the importance of completing home learning to the best possible standard.
Parents/Carers are asked to check Teams regularly to ensure that home learning is accessed by students and completed.
Parents and Carers are asked to:
- Provide a suitably quiet place in which children can complete their home learning.
- Support with ensuring students follow the timings provided by teaching staff for task competition.
- Encourage independent learning and a resilient attitude to learning outside of the classroom.
- Ensure that they demonstrate that they value home learning.
- Encourage their child(ren) and praise them when they have completed their home learning.
- Be supportive of home learning obligations when planning family commitments.
- Set quality home learning, in line with the school’s Home Learning Policy, for which students can see the purpose and can identify how it contributes to their learning. This could include, but is not limited to, memory and recall tasks; practice examination questions; research tasks; the learning of key information; quizzes; recall and consolidation activities; spelling and vocabulary tasks; literacy tasks – for example, article reading; super-curricular learning opportunities; completing coursework assignments as required; and revision.
- Set quality home learning regularly that is aligned to the subject knowledge or study skill being developed within the subject.
- Where possible, to allow at least one week for students to complete home learning tasks. Super-curricular task completion timeframes will vary.
- Expect students to complete all home learning that is set to the standard outlined. If home learning is not completed on time, or to the standard outlined, the subject teacher should put appropriate intervention in place to ensure home learning is completed. This could include, but is not limited to, catch-up detentions; parent/carer contact; working with the respective Head of Faculty.
- Use SIMS to log rewards and consequences pertaining to home learning.
- Make students aware if home learning, such as revision tasks, links to a formal assessment. (Students need to be made aware of this so that they are engaging with the home learning task with this information to mind).
- Agree a schedule with shared-class teacher(s) so that home learning continues to follow the frequency identified in the table (Appendix A in the Home Learning Policy) – unless classes are distinctly different i.e., Science at KS4.
- Ensure Sixth Form home learning will be set regularly, according to the curriculum followed by the individual student.
The recent Parent Forum in Feb 2023 focused on Assessment and home learning and the powerpoint can be found here.