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Home Learning

Home Learning Guidelines

Research has shown that the setting of homework for secondary school students is a benefit to their learning (EEF research). However, there is a wide variation in potential impact, suggesting that how homework is set is likely to be very important. 

There is some evidence that homework is most effective when used as a short and focused intervention (e.g. in the form of a project or specific target connected with a particular element of learning) with some studies showing a very strong positive impact on attainment.

The benefits are likely to be more modest, if homework is more routinely set (e.g. learning vocabulary or completing problem sheets every day). Evidence also suggests that relating homework to learning in normal school time is important. In the most effective examples homework was an integral part of learning, rather than an add-on.

To maximise impact, it is also important that students are provided with high quality feedback on their work. Studies imply that there is an optimum amount of homework of between 1 and 2 hours per school day (slightly longer for older students), with effects diminishing as the time that students spend on homework increases. 

Why should students receive homework?  

  • Research evidence shows that students make better progress by completing homework than not.

  • Students develop the correct habits for study and future success.

  • Teachers are able to set a wider range of tasks through setting homework and, therefore, have a greater range of evidence of the students’ progress and achievement.

  • Teachers are able to devote more lesson time to collaborative study, practical work and discussion, if independent consolidation work can be completed outside the classroom.

  • Students can be encouraged to enrich their classroom learning with application to the wider world, CEIAG or PSHE related themes.

  • Students and parents can share the learning experience in greater partnership.

All home learning tasks should be set using one of the school’s existing digital platforms such as Microsoft Teams or accessible through the Student Intranet. Students should still be asked to note a summary of their home learning task in their planners.

Types of Homework Tasks

The list below is not an exhaustive list of tasks that could be set for homework, but rather an indication of the type of tasks that are appropriate. 

There is an expectation that students would receive a variety of tasks over time.  

  • Preparation for future learning (such as reading ahead and summarising or planning tasks for future tasks)  

  • Wider reading tasks for enrichment or consolidation  

  • Structured short-answer questions to consolidate learning in lessons  

  • Choice of tasks with varying levels of challenge  

  • Vocabulary or key-facts learning  

  • Extended project work – either completed as individuals or collaboratively  

  • Guided research with appropriate support at the start of the work, such as key websites or printed references  

  • Timed essays or extended pieces of writing  

  • Creative responses to the learning 

  • Online homework tasks  

  • Revision  

  • Write-up of experiments or practical work  

  • Rehearsal 

  • Making improvements to a piece of work which has received feedback (GPOP tasks).

Current research suggests that the most effective homework tends to be preparation for future learning and completion of specific tasks with clear criteria for success. Research also suggests that it is effective to give students some autonomy with the task, such as giving them choices or licence to be creative. Project work tends to be least effective and as such, is discouraged as a means of regular home learning. 

Under normal circumstances, it is not appropriate to set homework which is to be completed overnight. There are occasions when lessons are on consecutive days and, therefore, the teacher may feel that they have to set homework overnight. In these circumstances, it should be a shortened task. In any case, it should be noted that completing work overnight, such as learning vocabulary, does not encourage good learning habits or support students’ long-term knowledge acquisition. 

Many students at our school are involved in many extra-curricular activities and indeed this is encouraged. This means that students can struggle to find time to do both their activities and spend sufficient time on their homework which leads to extra stress, especially on the highly committed students. It is important that both parents/carers and teachers encourage the students to seek support if they are finding it difficult to balance everything; it is also further evidence for overnight home learning tasks to be discouraged. 

It is important to note that there is no expectation that homework will be set every lesson; if there is nothing appropriate to set at that time, then the teacher is not required to set work. However, a creative teacher should be using the full range of home learning tasks and, therefore, it would be rare for no home learning to be set for a number of lessons consecutively. 

Following a review of recommended (such as EEF) research and findings, FHS has brought together its expectations for T&L to support all learners succeed, regardless of their start point. 

All lessons at FHS are underpinned by excellent curriculum sequencing and provide students with the necessary opportunities to learn, retain and recall knowledge and skills. They should include elements of these key components of great teaching but do not have to be addressed in any particular order.

Home Learning - regularity 

The tables below set out a guide for the homework time per fortnight in each year group (click that box that applies to your your year group. 

This is a guide for subject staff, although it is clearly difficult to judge how long it will take every member of the class to complete the work; teachers should inform their students how long they believe the task should take and encourage their students to give feedback to them at the end of the task. 

This is also a guide to students and parents; if the task is taking significantly longer than the allotted time then they should give feedback to the teacher. Parents are encouraged to write a note in the child’s planner for the teacher to read, if they feel there is feedback re. length / difficulty of task which the teacher should be made aware of. 

NB: these timings do not take into consideration the time which should be added for mock/examination or assessment preparation. 

Key Stage 3

(English, Maths, Science)
1 piece per fortnight, totalling 40 minutes
Non-Core 1 piece per half term, totalling 30 minutes

Key Stage 4

(English, Maths, Science)
1 piece per fortnight, totalling 1 hour
Non-Core 1 piece per fortnight, totalling 40 minutes

Key Stage 5

For every lesson on their timetable, a minimum of one further hour of independent study should be undertaken by the student. This should include a range of research, review, revision and examination style practice.