Rationale — Why is homework important?
"Homework is not an optional extra, but an essential part of a good education."
1999 White Paper, Excellence in Schools
Homework is work that is set to be completed outside the timetabled curriculum. It contains an element of independent study and is crucially important in raising student achievement by enabling students to develop essential study skills pivotal to academic success.
Learning at home is an essential part of good education. Regular Homework is important as it gives students the opportunity to practice at home the tasks covered in class, and helps the students work towards improving important skills. It also helps children and young people to become confident and independent in their learning and prepares them for revision and exams.
- Promoting and achieving excellence.
- Developing a home-school partnership.
- Consolidating and reinforcing skills and understanding.
- Extending school learning and to promote the use of remote learning.
- Develops independence and resilience.
- The School will ensure that homework is an integral part of the curriculum and is planned and prepared alongside all other programmes of learning.
- Students to record and ensure their understanding of the homework tasks and demonstrate commitment to spending an allocated time doing the tasks set and handing the work back on time.
- Parents and Careers to encourage and monitor homework and inform the school if an issue arises.
How will homework be set?
Homework will be set verbally and also displayed on the board in class, by class teachers. Students are encouraged to record this or on their mobile phones (at the teacher’s discretion). All homework will then be added to the "Google Classroom" site for Bedwas High School, and where possible ClassCharts. This website allows parents/careers and students to see what homework has been set for their child, accompanying instructions and advice, links to supporting documents (e.g. video clips), and when the homework is due in. Some teachers may allow students to submit their homework electronically through the ”Google Classroom” site on the Welsh Government’s Hwb site and may also choose to share feedback through this.
Class Charts and Google Classrooms
Class Charts will be used for monitoring homework, for rewarding with positive points when homework is completed or to a good standard, and also negative points when it is not. Students and parents/careers can access the Class Charts website by using the link on the school website, or by typing in the web address www.classcharts.com/parent/login. There is also a free app for Class Charts that can be downloaded via iTunes/App Store and Google Play stores. The app allows users to access their homework on a variety of mobile devices. The web site/app are easy to navigate, but do require log-in passwords which the school can support parents with. Logging-in will enable the user to have their own individualised home screen with their own homework listed. Students who do not have internet access at home will be able to access the website through the school’s ICT systems and will be able to attend the study support and homework sessions led by learning support, which take place after school or by using the school computers. Google classrooms is a similar app which the pupils can download and access through their online Hwb accounts. Again the website/app are easy to navigate, but do require log-in passwords which the school can support parents/carers with. Some teachers might wish for the pupils to submit their homework electronically, in which case this will be done through Google Classroom.
Monitoring & Evaluation
The Homework Policy is to be promoted throughout the school, and its implementation and effectiveness should be annually reviewed.
Bedwas High School believes that homework makes a significant contribution to students’ learning. It has many purposes:
- To encourage the process of independent study and research.
- To develop a love of learning.
- To contribute to resilience, self-discipline, self-motivation and good learning habits.
- To support the learning process, reinforcing work covered and highlighting strengths and weaknesses in understanding.
- To extend the work covered in the classroom by application to similar and more demanding problems, thus widening subject contact time.
- To extend skills and an inquisitive approach to different activities.
- To stimulate a broadening of interest and knowledge beyond the confines of a syllabus.
- To contribute to the progress and assessment of all students providing feedback to students, parents/careers and teachers.
- To provide an important point of contact between parents/careers and work in the School.
- To further develop the parent/career in the learning of their child
In order to achieve this Bedwas High School’s approach to Homework will:
- Be set regularly and with due reference to the age, ability and maturity of the student. Longer and more open-ended homework tasks may be designed to afford greater flexibility and differentiation and these are now encouraged throughout all faculties e.g. for More Able and Talented learners.
- Be an integral part of the Scheme of Learning so that it is relevant to work being completed in school or soon to be undertaken (e.g. flipped learning).
- Students are encouraged to value homework and where appropriate, and possible, involve parents/careers in the process.
- Be communicated explicitly to students and, where possible, to parents/carers. Where possible, information on homework will be made available on the school’s website.
- Consist of a variety of tasks including activities, research, reading, revision, preparation of work to be covered in lessons, written work and test /exam questions.
- A homework club may be set up to assist students and parents/carers with the completion of homework.
- Be marked and assessed in line with the school marking policy, but also appropriately in accordance with the nature and purpose of the homework. For some homework tasks (the gathering of information, observation etc) work will not be marked in detail but will be used to support the completion of other work and acknowledged through the use of rewards on Class Charts. In order to achieve the aims set out above more effectively, some homework tasks will be carried out over a protracted period, include various elements and will be assessed on a variety of criteria including the development of subject and generic skills.
- Generally and wherever possible homework will not be set for completion by the next day to allow students to plan their schedule of work.
- Be monitored by the teacher and respective Head of Faculty. If a student has a valid excuse for not being able to complete homework on time an extension will be granted – parents/careers are asked to identify the reason through a letter or through a message to the school. However, students who fail to complete homework will be referred to the behaviour policy and dealt with in the appropriate manner.
The involvement of parents/carers in the completion of homework is encouraged. It is proven to be beneficial for students when parents/carers assist in helping their children understand concepts or what is required of them, in testing learning, checking that homework has been completed etc. Parents/carers are asked to communicate any homework concerns through a written letter or email to the school.
Homework Strategy – Year 7 and 8
Homework will be set for Year 7 and 8 this academic year (2022-23) as follows:
Homework will focus on the four purposes of the curriculum. The four purposes are:
- ambitious, capable learners ready to learn throughout their lives
- enterprising, creative contributors, ready to play a full part in life and work
- ethical, informed citizens of Wales and the world
- healthy, confident individuals, ready to lead fulfilling lives as valued members of society.
Homework will enhance pupils’ skills, both generic and subject specific. In this way the homework will support the pupils as they prepare for GCSEs.
Each faculty/subject (*apart from English, Maths and Languages) will provide, on rotation, a piece of homework/overall project for each week. The rotation for these faculties (Expressive Arts, Humanities, Health and Wellbeing, Maths, Business and ICT, Science and Technology) is every 5 weeks/half-term. The homework calendar which shows this rotation will be on the school’s website. Each homework task will last for at least one hour and include the following:
- Subject or generic skill (e.g. problem solving, working, organisation/planning, collaboration)
- Must contain a cross-curricular skill (literacy, numeracy or digital competency or even provide another link to another non-core subject within their faculty)
- Will take the form of a "Take away Menu style" by each faculty
- Will contain differentiation of work through at least 3 levels of difficulty. This is to enable pupils to choose and decide which piece of homework they complete.
- Each faculty will have at least 6 homework tasks to complete and design per year. How each of the six faculties organises and arranges these is entirely up to the faculty.
- Pupils should be encouraged to choose more difficult tasks by the classroom teacher.
The subject teacher will set and mark the homework, although a whole faculty approach and task could be set. This is the decision of the faculty. The tasks will be marked in-line with the current school marking policy. The teacher will also provide feedback and will reward pleasing homework through the school’s Class Charts system. However, whether the pupil has completed the task or not will be recorded on Class Charts at least.
The timetable will work on a weekly rotation between faculties. The timetable for these homework tasks will follow alphabetical order and is available on the School’s website. The order of the homework will be as follows.
- Expressive Arts
- Maths, Business and ICT- (Business and ICT related).
- Performance / Health and Wellbeing.
- Technology and Design
Each subject teacher can set additional homework – for example assessments, skills reinforcement or work related to the current lesson or preparation for following lessons.
Examples of the homework sheets for various faculties are below.
Maths, English and Languages - Homework Programme of Study
The programme of study for homework for English, Maths and Languages will be run alongside the faculty homework above and will be separate and run on a weekly basis in the different forms below.
The aim of the homework in Maths is to add depth to the work modelled in school by the teacher. As a development tool, technology will be used where possible to aid immediate feedback, and identify strengths and weaknesses. To this end, there will be a Maths homework set every week, ideally on the same day for all classes. This will usually be set on MyMaths, an online platform, which all pupils have access to through a log-on and password. Also, some topics will be assessed using a ‘quiz’ on the Google Classroom platform, which all pupils have access to.
To add depth to learning, another website MangaHigh will be used to set additional tasks on the same topic. Class Charts points will be awarded in line with the school policy, based on the traffic light feedback MyMaths provides. All pupils will be given one week to complete the work. The teacher will then be able to address any issues during a lesson, before setting the next piece of work.
Examples for MyMaths are below.
In English, homework will be set weekly. There will be a Greek/Latin root word spelling test conducted online once per fortnight (the test words will be discussed and practised in class beforehand). Year 7 and Year 8 learners may have Accelerated Reader/myON tasks as part of the set homework.
Examples for English root spelling tests are below.
In addition to the French and Welsh homework below, the Languages Faculty set termly homework to celebrate language and culture. For example, they set 'Surprise Me' homework to celebrate European Languages Day and Eisteddfod competition homework.
In French, homework is set fortnightly. There is a vocabulary learning homework and/or a written or reading task set from the homework booklet. Pupils are given a homework booklet containing all vocabulary and tasks. Pupils take their booklet home to complete the homework. Pupils are also encouraged to access websites such as Quizlet, Zut, Duolingo, French songs and films to practise their French and to increase their exposure to French language.
Examples for French homework are below.
In Welsh, homework will be set fortnightly. Spelling is the main focus with set spellings tested every week. Spelling lists, Quizlet sets and tailored podcasts are shared on Padlet and Google classroom. Pupils are encouraged to utilise technology to practise both spellings and pronunciation at home. Also other homework include a variety of tasks such as reading, writing, speaking and listening exercises which consolidate learning. Pupils are also encouraged to watch Welsh TV programmes and Welsh language learning sites such as Quizlet and Duolingo to practise their Welsh and to increase their exposure to the Welsh language.
Examples for Welsh homework are below.
At Bedwas High School we believe that it takes more than qualifications to make a young person a good citizen, with a sense of personal wellbeing and moral purpose.
Our school motto is "Caring and Achieving" and this covers all areas of life: academic, social, cultural, sporting and creative. We want to develop the potential of each individual and to prepare students to learn, grow and thrive in the 21st century. We also want all students to be leaders and to give students opportunities to pursue their own interests. As such we have developed a series of challenges for our Year 7 and 8 students. The form tutor, in a morning registration session with the class, will oversee and track completion. Details of how this will be structured and timetabled are below:
- A list of challenges will be provided by each faculty and divided up into the 4 purposes of the curriculum. This will enhance pupils’ skills, both generic and subject specific, and will help great well rounded individuals, which will support the pupils as they prepare for their GCSEs and also the wider world outside of school.
- Pupils will set, discuss and record these challenges during a weekly registration session.
- Challenges are separate from/in addition to homework tasks, and are based on topics, themes of the week, or set by form tutors, Leaders of Learning or Senior Leaders.
Completing these will then contribute to The Bedwas High School Challenge Award, which is designed to promote the development of well-rounded individuals and to recognise the significant achievements of all our students. It will also be a useful tool when applying for college and university places, jobs and other opportunities.
- Challenges will gain the pupil different amounts of ‘points’. Each challenge will have a score of 20, 30 or 50 points. This means the pupil will have to achieve 15, 10 or 6 tasks in a year to achieve the award and graduate.
- Each challenge can be split into Year 7 and 8 tasks.
- Challenges will be stored as a bank of resources. Each faculty can set or add to challenges whenever they wish to.
- It is advised that pupils discuss and set a challenge the Friday during registration, and then the teacher awards points the following Friday on the created mark sheet.
- Each pupil will need to earn 300 points to gain your Bedwas High School award and so ‘graduate’ from that Year in the end of year celebration event.
- Each student must gain at least 50 credits from each of the four (purposes) sections to graduate.
- Challenges will be recorded by a virtual 'Passport'. These are reviewed and recorded during registration and will be reported to parents at each snapshot via SIMS.
- Each student’s form tutor will track each student’s challenges electronically to show what activities have been completed.
- Once a Bronze, Silver and Gold award has been gained, students will be invited to an interview, informal chat or a coffee morning with a member of the senior leadership team where they will be asked to describe what they activities they have undertaken and what they think they have achieved and got out of the challenges.
- It is important to remember the aim of the challenges and awards is to help create well-rounded individuals with strengths in all areas, so it is vital we encourage all our students to go out of their comfort zones and try things they wouldn’t otherwise think of.
Examples of the types of challenges for the 4 purposes are below. Different challenges will be worth different points depending on their difficulty or length.
Ambitious, capable learners ready to learn throughout their lives
- Create a revision poster/flashcards/resources
- Go over and above with homework
- Improve your score on a test
- Exceed your target grade in an exam
- Do extra work outside of class
- Read 3 books in a term
- Have your work displayed
- Go above and beyond in a lesson
- Write a book or film/play review
- Write an article for the school newsletter
- Watch/read and report back on an article/documentary on a topic of interest
- Complete an online course – e.g. touch typing, sign language
- Read at least 100,000 words as recorded by Accelerated Reader
- Research 4 GCSE courses and evaluate which one is best for you
- Write a story/essay/speech outside of class
- Enter a writing competition
- Attend an academic after-school club – e.g. STEM
- Research personal history of grandparents/ancestors
- Visit a museum/historic site
- Help others in a lesson without being asked
- Take on an online quiz related to the work you are doing in school.
- Learn a poem and recite it
- Lead a registration activity
- Explore your local area and create a fact file
- Learn to ride a bicycle/swim/skateboard
- Complete a Rubik’s Cube
Enterprising, creative contributors, ready to play a full part in life and work
- Try a new craft
- Paint a picture
- Take part in a performance, this could be behind the scenes
- Write a creative story
- Take some creative photos
- Make a collage
- Learn to juggle
- Bake a sweet treat
- Do some DIY around your house/garden
- Cook a meal for your family, using a recipe
- Devise a new recipe
- Give someone a makeover
- Create some 3D art
- Invent a new animal with annotations on why it won’t become extinct
- Create an invention/business idea
- Do outdoor art
- Make a comic strip
- Make a trailer for a favourite film
- Make a plan for a new video game
- Sew/knit/mend something
- Write a song/compose a piece of music
Ethical, informed citizens of Wales and the world
- Do some up cycling
- Make an insect hotel
- Volunteer to undertake a chore in the house e.g. cleaning
- Create a survey and present your findings
- Do a litter pick in school or in your community
- Report bullying/prejudice/graffiti/litter dropping
- Volunteer for the School Parliament
- Raise money for charity
- Deliver an assembly to your form or year group on a good cause
- Raise awareness of an issue – e.g. petition or poster
- Learn First Aid
- Help out in an emergency
- Be a Reading Buddy
- Be a Language Ambassador
- Be a peer mentor
- Be a challenge mentor for your form class
- Support a local event e.g. village fete
- Help repair some damage in school – eg remove graffiti
- Donate money or items to charity or a charity shop0
- Organise or take part in the Christmas Box appeal
- Make a pen friend
- Be a maths, English or other subject leader/mentor
- Make sure people recycle in school and at home
- Do three Random Acts of Kindness
- Write a letter to someone who would benefit from one
- Help with chores in the house for a week
- Go on a nature walk for 30 minutes and take photos of thing that interest you and comment why – e.g. animals, insects, flowers, historical landmarks
Healthy, confident individuals, ready to lead fulfilling lives as valued members of society
- Set yourself a challenging personal target and achieve it
- Teach someone something new
- Overcome a fear
- Try 3 Yoga sessions e.g. on YouTube
- Join an after-school sports team/club (in school or outside of school)
- Watch a professional team/game e.g. Swansea City
- Watch/support a school team/game
- Prepare a warm up/warm down activity for a PE lesson
- Perform a dance or gymnastics routine in public
- Set a challenging physical target for a week and complete it – e.g. 20 push ups a day, 15 minute work out a day
- Do different exercises for 15 minutes a day for a week
- Make and drink a smoothie a day for a week
- Keep a food diary for a week and set yourself and keep to three targets for the following week
- Log out of social media for a week
- Don’t use your phone after 8pm for a week
- Write a review for a sports game you have watched live or on TV
- Write a review for the school newsletter about a school sporting game/fixture/event
- Do a charity run
- Walk your dog everyday for a week
- Go on a countryside walk for over 3 miles
- Make a healthy meal for the family
- Try a new sport – ice skating, go karting, canoeing, surfing, fishing, etc
- Learn and practise mediation
- Run for 20 minutes every day for a week
- Umpire or referee a game
- Write a profile on your favourite sports star
- Create a mental awareness poster for your form room
- Set and meet a personal fitness goal e.g. number of burpees in a minute, weight loss
- Coach someone else in a sport
- Fly a kite down the beach
- Walk up Pen Y Fan or another Welsh mountain – time your journey and use a pedometer to count your steps. Take a photograph of yourself with your family at the top
Graduate from the Year
To ‘graduate’ from Year 7 or Year 8 in terms of the award and challenges, pupils need to reach 300 points each year throughout that entire year. This will enable them to receive a bronze award. Once a student has reached these points they will:
Graduate from Year 7 or Year 8 – All get a certificate and reward.
The awards and points are awarded as follows:
300 points= Bronze award
350 points= Silver award
400 points= Gold Award
A platinum award can be given by a subject or faculty to one boy and one girl a year for outstanding contribution to that subject or faculty. There will also be extra awards from the wellbeing team, Standards Manager Award, Form Tutor award, Headteacher award etc.
Challenges will further engage students in opportunities and events that take place in the School. Points can also be awarded to pupils by form tutors, teachers or faculties for being part of clubs (e.g. sporting, debating…), taking part in competitions, sporting teams, musical productions and/or singing and instrument lessons etc.
There is also the potential that during registration periods pupils will also work towards other online qualifications through https://idea.org.uk. If this is the case, pupils will sign up online to the courses and will complete them during registration once they have either set their school based challenge or their teacher has marked their previous one.
The Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award, known as iDEA is an international programme that helps pupils develop digital, enterprise and employability skills for free.
Through their series of online challenges (see https://idea.org.uk), pupils can win career-enhancing badges, unlock new opportunities and, ultimately, gain industry-recognised Awards that help them stand out from the crowd. The website helps pupils become well-rounded learners, organisers and partners.
Learn vital skills for work and life
Pupils develop their talents and gain all-important knowledge and information about the digital world with iDEA. Pupils can win career-enhancing badges, unlock new opportunities and, ultimately, gain industry-recognised awards that help them stand out from the crowd.
iDEA for Organisers
iDEA is very flexible and easy to work with. Staff don’t need specialist IT skills or equipment to run sessions because the modules (badges) are all self-explanatory and can be completed on any device if it’s connected to the internet.
Organisers are using iDEA...
- In registration periods
- In the classroom
- As an enrichment activity for students
- In workshops with community groups
- As part of outreach programmes
- As part of learning and development programmes
- As a tool for digital inclusion and digital literacy initiatives
- To support lifelong learning
iDEA badges have been mapped against several educational inputs, and this helps support life, employability and soft skills, as well as a range of specialist subjects such as enterprise and formal computing (digital literacy, computer science and IT).
Homework – GCSE
Bedwas High School does not have a fixed homework timetable for GCSEs with time allocated for different subjects on different evenings due to the nature of the different courses and how lessons are timetabled. Students will need to learn to manage their time so that they do some homework each evening. Each faculty/subject will set meaningful homework when appropriate for that subject.
The amount of time spent on each homework task is flexible, but within the following guidelines (as set by government). For Years 9, 10 and 11 homework will be for 40-50 minutes per subject per week.
Homework tasks at GCSES, must be:
- Be relevant, meaningful and set for a purpose
- Not be used regularly for “finishing off” class work. This places a heavy burden on some students and too light a demand on others
- Be differentiated on the basis of prior assessment to provide an equal and appropriate challenge for students of differing abilities
- Be manageable for pupils in terms of time and resources
- Be explained clearly to students so that they know what they need to do and how the work will be assessed
- Be manageable for staff in terms of marking
- Be varied
- Writing assignments
- Learning assignments. (Where students may be asked to learn a piece of work, practise a skill, recall knowledge)
- Preparing an oral presentation
- Reading in preparation for a future lesson (flipped learning)
- Finding out information/researching a project
- Using a specific website. (E.G Mymaths, GCSE Bitesize)
- Completing past paper exam questions
- Revision activities in preparation for examinations
- Reading for pleasure
- Subject projects
Homework – A-Level
For students following post-16 courses homework is a vital part of the course/content and must be planned as part of the scheme of work. Students must be encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning and personal organisation.
Heads of Faculty will monitor the setting and completion of homework across the subjects within their faculty through the support of Leaders of Learning and the Standards Manager for Year 12 and 13 (Head of Sixth form). Monitoring activities include T&L and faculty review activities. Structured homework tasks must relate to the assessment criteria and be geared towards examination or coursework requirements. Self-organised study, such as reading and revision, must be highlighted as vital at the start of each course. Guidance must be provided regularly to help students with these tasks.
Sixth form students are encouraged to use their non-contact lessons to read around the subjects, prepare for future lessons/topics (flipped learning) and revise over their work.
For ‘A’/’AS’ courses subject areas are to set a minimum of 3 hours formal homework per week, with an additional 1 hour allocated to student organised study within school time. BTEC homework must be set in line with coursework requirements. The setting of homework tasks must be co-ordinated within subject areas to ensure that the amount set is both adequate and realistic. Guidelines to students are that they must not commit themselves to part-time employment occupying more than 5-7 hours per week.