Homework Primary School

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Newly opened Southern Grove Primary School, in the south Perth suburb of Southern River, introduced its no homework policy this year.

Departmental guidelines stipulate that homework should not require unreasonable levels of parent help, should not impinge on family, recreational or cultural time, should not be given as a form of punishment, and should be directly linked to learning.

WA Education Department principal advisor Doug Cook said a blanket approach to homework does not work."Every school has a different context," he said."If you look at the size of our state, from tiny little Wheatbelt schools with one teacher where kids go home from school and actually have work to do around a farm, extra tasks on top of that might make the home life difficult."We have remote schools, where some of the home lives aren't ideal, and setting tasks for kids to take home into an environment where they may not be able to do it sets them up for failure."Making a blanket rule for a state this size, with so many different contexts, would be short-sighted."While the prospect of no homework is relished by some, not everyone is convinced.

There is some evidence that when homework is used as a short and focused intervention it can be effective in improving students’ attainment, but this is limited for primary age pupils.

Overall the general benefits are likely to be modest if homework is more routinely set.

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