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Homework Policy (2010)

Ramsgrange Community School have herewith formulated the following homework policy in accordance with our mission statement above, which aims to help our students in the achievement of their full potential. Our policy is rooted in the school’s fundamental aim to foster in students a sense of self-reliance, independence, co-operation and responsibility and to provide them with skills for life-long learning.

 Rationale

Homework is an integral part of every student’s learning programme. It is a feature of all classes and it serves the following purposes:

  • It consolidates and reinforces skills and understanding developed at school.
  • It encourages students to develop the skills, confidence, self-discipline and motivation needed to study effectively on their own. This is vital given the importance for students in the future of life-long learning and adaptability.
  • It extends school learning, for example, through additional reading.
  • It sustains the involvement of parents in the management of students’ learning and keeps them informed about the work students are doing.
  • It allows the students to manage particular exam course work.
  • It directs research.
  • It strengthens links between home and school.

Goals of our Homework Policy 

  • To ensure consistent approaches to the setting and reviewing of homework across the school
  • To ensure equitable distribution of study-time for each student
  • To reduce pressure on students from homework overload
  • To promote the development by students of good study habits and effective study skills
  • To enable students to develop a capacity to organise their own work
  • To enhance the academic achievements of students
  • To encourage parents to take an interest in and to share responsibility for their children’s work and progress.

The School Journal

From the beginning of first year each student is expected to establish a homework routine. As part of this routine and as part of the Ramsgrange Community School homework policy, each student is expected to keep a record of all homework in his/her journal, which is supplied by the school to the students specifically for this purpose. The school journal must be kept free of graffiti or any other offensive material. If a student loses their school journal, they will be required to purchase a new one immediately at an increased cost.

Students are required to have their journals in their possession while in class and when doing homework. Journals are regularly monitored by class tutors and they are available to all teachers and parents to communicate with each other. Parents are required to sign the school journal at the end of each week.

 Good Homework Practice

As part of our homework policy it is expected that in completing written homework, students should do so in the correct subject copy and it should be dated eg: homework for day/month/year. The question number should be clearly labelled and the answers should be clearly and neatly written. This forms good examination technique and also assists with revision.

All homework should be completed on time, presented on time and to the best of the student’s ability in a neat and tidy fashion. An explanation from parents/guardians should be provided in the school journal for non-presentation of homework and should be shown to the relevant class teacher at the beginning of class.

If a student has been absent (eg: for school trips/matches/meeting with Chaplain/Guidance Counsellor) the onus is on the student to find out what work has been set and to endeavour to complete it within the time given. If a student has been ill, a period of time will be given to the student to complete missed assignments.

The Amount of Homework Appropriate for Students of Different Ages

Ramsgrange Community School supports best practice in suggesting that the minimum amount of time that should be spent by students at school level, on average, on homework should fall within the following guidelines per day:

  • First Year              Minimum 1 ½ hours per day
  • Second Year          Minimum 2 hours per day
  • Third Year            Minimum 2 1/2  hours per day

(weekend study and revision are also essential)

  • Transition Year     Varies depending on project work and activities
  • LCA 1 and 2         Varies depending on Key Assignments and Task Work
  • Fifth Year              Minimum 3 hours per day
  • Sixth Year             Minimum 3 hours per day

(weekend study and revision are also essential)

All students should spend time at home or at supervised study on their homework/revision whether or not work has been assigned. If no homework has been set then students have an obligation to go over material they have recently studied in class to make sure that they have fully understood it and they can use it to answer examination style questions. Ramsgrange Community School also encourages students to avail of supervised study (where homework can also be completed) provided each evening at school throughout the school year. Examination year students are discouraged from taking up part-time work.

Appropriate Tasks for Homework

The range of tasks which are appropriate for students of various ages and abilities are many and varied. Tasks however, should have a clear objective and be linked to study programmes. Teachers are encouraged to check that their overall homework programme is balanced in the type and scale of tasks and manageable for students. It should be noted that homework time devoted to reading and learning is as important as written work. Some examples of appropriate homework tasks are found in Appendix 1.

 Implementation & Monitoring Procedures

  • Subject teachers will check homework given on a regular basis
  • Journals will be checked by class tutor at tutor meetings and are open to inspection by other teachers and parents
  • Parents are expected to check the Journal regularly and sign notes from school personnel
  • Concerns over homework will be communicated to parents and to the Year Head by the class tutor and/or class teacher
  • Discipline slips for homework will also be monitored by the Year head/class tutor

 Disciplinary Sanctions for Non Presentation or Poor Presentation of Homework

It is our expectation, as part of this policy, that all homework given is completed on time, presented on time and to the best of the student’s ability in a neat and tidy fashion.

It is very important that homework, including the sanctions for not completing it, should be consistently applied across the school so that all pupils see the arrangements as fair.  Sanctions may include any of the following- completing the homework, re-doing the homework, note to parents, extra relevant work, discipline slip or other sanctions at the discretion of the teacher.

Roles and Responsibilities

The Role of Parents

  • To support school policy
  • To provide suitable conditions for homework
  • To ensure that the suggested amount of time is spent on homework
  • It is the parents’ responsibility to inform the school or class teacher of any reason why a student was unable to complete a homework assignment. A parent may communicate this through the student’s journal.
  • If a parent feels that his/her child is struggling with the amount of homework or degree of difficulty of same he/she may communicate this to the class teacher.
  • Parents are expected to check the Journal regularly and sign notes from school personnel.
  • Parents may communicate with class teachers at parent/teacher meetings regarding homework.

Success Criteria

  • Views and experiences of Year Heads will be sought in relation to discipline slips
  • Views and experiences of Class Teachers/Class Tutors/Subject Departments will also be sought
  • School Records will be analysed to assess the impact on students academic progress
  • Views and experiences of the students through the Student Council and Parents, through the Parents Council, will also be sought

Appendix 1

Some examples of appropriate homework tasks are found below:

Written assignments                Learning Assignments   Listening Assignments

Essay Writing                          Reading                          Investigations

Interviews                                Drill Practice                  Simple Experiments

Research                                  School Library Visit       Public Library Visit

Drafting                                   Report Writing               Designing

Revision Work                          Problem Solving             Practice of Some Procedure

Preparation for Debates           Role Play                        Making a Model

Preparation for class tests        Drawing                         Key Assignments

Project/Task work                   Word processing

Exam preparation/questions   Watching a recommended TV programme

Monitoring, Reviewing and Evaluating

The school will monitor, review and evaluate the policy and all related work and procedures on an ongoing basis to ensure legal compliance and the maintenance of best practice.