Homework – how much?

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The recent decision by Michael Gove to remove the guidance for schools over how much homework should be set for pupils is in my view a strange one. The argument goes that it should be in the control of the school itself to decide what is set – and that is fair enough.

20120311-082746.jpgBut there is a worrying undercurrent here, homework is necessary both to get through the syllabus, but more importantly to start a work ethic developing in the child – good for later education and life. Developing the ability to work alone is an essential part of learning and further education.

Now I am assuming that homework is not universally popular with teachers – it requires setting and marking which must be a lot of work, but is after all part of the job description, and should ensure their pupils progress with good exam results.

The changes also come just as a new study by London’s Institute of Education reveals that homework, even in small amounts, boosts the academic attainment and social skills of secondary school pupils. The Effective Pre-School, Primary and Secondary Education project showed that homework was linked to improvements in 14-year-olds’ academic prowess and social skills as well as reductions in levels of aggression and impulsiveness. As the parent of an almost 15-year-old I can relate to the need for homework!

My concern is that we will see a ‘dumbing down’ of homework, until it becomes a very minor part of the education system as a whole. That could have a terrible long-term effect upon our education system and economy. Be aware that this is not a minor issue, it could have massive long-term consequences.

Let us hope that the current crop of head teachers decide sensibly how to deal with the homework issue going forwards.

Surviving GCSE’s

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Finally! The Dare household is free of the curse of the GCSE’s, Star has finished today, and now all we have to worry about is the Prom (and results later in the summer of course)!

I had forgotten the joy of exams, the last ‘proper’ exams I did were my degree finals over 25 years ago. I recall them taking over my life for about 4 months and feeling as if I had nothing to do once I finished them (luckily swiftly sorted by getting a job). More recently I had a day of exams to qualify as an Energy Assessor, not a pleasant reminder either!

The GCSE experience has however been all-encompassing, revision has been a very ‘hands on’ experience for us all. My wife has provided the major support mechanism (thank you!) and this she has found very time-consuming. However, she does think she could get some good GCSE’s herself now though!

I am now looking forward to a quiet ‘normal’ home existence. Yes there will without doubt be the occasional teenage outburst, and arguments. But, in real terms normality will have returned and we can function again as a family unit.

The Prom dress is currently being completed – luckily my wife is a very capable dress-maker! It would appear that we now have a satisfactory product,  the shoes I gather are being purchased this week, hopefully at a discount price – probably highly unlikely!

Star has worked incredibly hard for her exams, hopefully the pain  will have been worth it for her. We can only hope that she gets the results she hopes for and deserves.

Results day is now only 9 weeks away, this will add the next element of excitement to family life. Plus its only two years to go to the A levels and then the year after Sam starts his GCSE year ………

definitely beginning to feel old (but very proud)!