Following a review of KS3 homework in 2013 and feedback from parents over the last few years, the school took a completely new approach to homework for those pupils in lower school. A team of staff worked over the last year to develop an improved homework strategy and system that:
- focuses on developing literacy and numeracy skills;
- encourages independence and greater parental involvement with homework;
- encourages the development of better presentation skills;
- provides high quality support materials online for pupils and parents;
- gives all pupils the opportunity to achieve at Gold/Silver/Bronze level;
- involves tutors more closely in pupils’ academic progress;
- underpins success at KS4 across all subjects;
- makes absolutely clear what the minimum expectation is for homework.
The new system places emphasis on reading, independence, literacy and numeracy with clear guidelines:
- every pupil is expected to complete a literacy project each term, with clear marking criteria and timelines published for parents and pupils;
- every pupil is expected to complete sections of the mymaths programme – this will continue to be set and monitored by maths teachers;
- department staff may also set other homework when appropriate – e.g. learning MFL vocabulary, preparing for an assessment, or researching information
For reading books, students have an option to either use a book of their own choice, or select one of their Accelerated Reader books from the term. Accelerated Reader books are provided by the Library and distributed during English lessons. To select these books, students undertake a star reading age test within lesson, giving them an age and zone they should get a book from; therefore, supporting individual differentiation throughout the homework.
To support the completion of the homework, the school will provide each pupil with a high quality hard backed project book at no cost. Pupils are expected to maintain the highest standards of presentation in these books, and they will need to be replaced at a cost of £5 if they are lost or damaged. Ultimately, this is an opportunity for your son/daughter to produce a creative record of their developing literacy skills, and should be maintained with pride.
Each literacy project will now be available in 2 bands – a HOT menu, and a MILD menu. Tutors will guide pupils to the appropriate level.
Students will have a whole term to complete each literacy project. The key dates are outlined below:
|Term 1||Term 2||Term 3|
|Homework Opens||10th September 2018||14th January 2019||8th May 2019|
|Due Date||30th November 2018||22nd March 2019||21st June 2019|
It is suggested that students aim to complete one part of the ‘Menu’ per week, in order to organise their time effectively. Weekly deadlines for each term are set out below:
|Term 1||Term 2||Term 3|
|Starters||24th September||28th January||13th May|
|Sides||1st October||4th February||20th May|
|Drinks||8th October||11th February||27th May|
|Mains||15th October||18th February||3rd June|
|Desserts||5th November||25th February||10th June|
|Something Special||12th November||4th March||17th June|
- English groups 1-6 should follow the ‘Hot’ menu as a minimum
- English groups 7-9 should follow the ‘Mild’ menu as a minimum
Tutors are the first point of call if your child is struggling with the homework; however, we also have Homework Club on offer, this will run every evening from 3-4pm in the library.
Students are encouraged to show high levels of creativity and presentation, here are some examples of last year’s work:
You said… We did…
Following extensive feedback relating to KS3 Homework, we have:
- You said: There is a lack of choice of texts and some texts were too easy/difficult.
- We did: We have now given students a chance to choose an alternative book, provided by themselves but agreed with their tutor. We have also introduced the Accelerated Reader book as part of the project, meaning students are able to use books more suited to their ability and understanding.
- You said: There is too little guidance with regard to time management and for parents/carers
- We did: We have broken each project into potential mini deadlines to help students to plan their time effectively. A parent guide has also been created in order to support parents/carers and students in the projects.
- You said: There has been inconsistency in tutor feedback.
- We did: We have calendared start dates, due dates, marking periods, and tutor feedback sessions. These will also be published on the website and in the parent guide.
- You said: There is a need for displays to make the projects more ‘high profile’.
- We did: We have created a newly refurbished ‘Reading Room’ and Homework Club now run by the Student Executive team; updated information on the school website, including a gallery of past projects; and further developed parent and pupil forums to encourage feedback on the projects.
- You said: Clearer rewards were needed to show students potential outcomes.
- We did: We have created a clear rewards system including a kindle raffle for all Gold Effort winners, a Headteacher’s certificate and lunch, and a new element of some peer choice in these recommendations, plus other opportunities such as inflatables day.
- You said: Some pupils did not read books or see the importance of the projects.
- We did: We have included one clear task per project which checks pupils’ understanding of the book they have read. We have also included a skills and SMSC passport to see their skills building across the years.