“The impact of homework on learning is consistently positive and can lead to an average five months' additional gain in student progress.” The Educational Endowment Fund, Teaching and Learning Toolkit, 2016.
At Leeds West Academy, the staff strongly believe that students who develop good routines around completing high quality home study are more likely to achieve better outcomes. We also accept that ensuring all our students consistently complete great home study is a significant challenge and we work very hard to ensure students are set regular, meaningful home study and are supported and challenged to achieve excellence.
Our main principles
- Home study should be used to extend or consolidate students’ knowledge and skills.
- At key stages three and four, weekly home study should usually take thirty minutes to complete per piece set.
- Normally, students should be given one week to complete their home study.
- If students are preparing for an exam or an assessment they would be expected to spend longer than 30 minutes revising.
At Leeds West Academy, students do not follow a prescribed timetable for home study. Instead, Directors, Curriculum Leaders and Subject teachers carefully embed a series of personalised homework exercises that enrich and extend the learning journey from scheme of learning, followed in the classroom. Home study is viewed as an integral element of the journey of learning and students are typically required to complete tasks in preparation for forthcoming lessons. In addition, students will be required to repeat and extend their work as part of home study to ensure they demonstrate refinement, improvement and progress.
How much homework should students do?
- In years 7-10 students should normally complete around 5 hours of home study each week.
- In year 11 students should seek to complete around 10 hours of home study per week.
- In year 12 and 13, students should complete around 15 hours of private/home study per week.
How do we support students with home study?
- We share good examples of home study, so our expectations are clear.
- We acknowledge home study and track its completion, helping students to maintain a good routine.
- We provide every student with a planner so they can write their homework down.
- We continually reflect and seek to improve our home study processes.
- Year managers, school leaders and form tutors identify and support students who are struggling with home study.
- We make reasonable adjustments, in line with our SEND and IANT policy, for some students.
- Staff carefully plan ‘key’ home study tasks that compliment & extend learning in the classroom and scheme of learning
- We provide all students with an after-school study-hub so that they can complete their home study should they wish to. This enables student access to ICT equipment, staff support and the numerous resources embedded in the LWA Virtual Learning Environment
What can parents and carers do to help with home study?
- Check your son/daughter’s planner each day, ensuring that home study is being written down.
- Provide a quiet space and relevant stationery so that your son/daughter can complete their home study.
- Discuss home study with your son/daughter.
- Discuss home study at Consultation Evening and Meet Your Form tutor days
- Contact the academy if you have any queries or concerns.
How do we celebrate great home study?
- Teachers will mark home study pieces and praise/reward students for their effort and standard of work
- A lesson activity may directly link to the home study piece(s), demonstrating its value to the students.
- Teachers may send great home study pieces to the Leadership team so that they can praise the students too.
- Particularly good home study pieces will be presented in assembly including celebration assemblies towards the end of each half term.
What if students do not complete their home study pieces or miss a deadline?
- Students will receive a home study comment (code – H) in their planner.
- Staff will log a missed home study on Behaviour Watch.
- Students who miss 3 pieces of home study per half term (and further multiples of 3) will receive a home study detention which will take place after school.
A general guide to the amount and regularity of home study your son/daughter should expect:
Key stage 3
At KS3 students will be set weekly home study in English, Maths, Science, Project, Spanish, History and Geography. At KS3 technology, ICT, PE, drama and art will set longer project-based home study pieces (with regular check-in points and a final hand-in point).
Key stage 4
At KS4 all subjects should set one 30-minute home study per week. Normally, students should be given a week to do this home study pieces. Students should also be encouraged to regularly review their notes and will be expected to spend amounts of time preparing for assessments and exams.
Key stage 5
Independent learning is crucial to a student’s success in post-16 education. We expect students to do between 12-15 hours of private/home study per week, every week. We also expect students to work hard on home study in the holidays.
Planning for exam success: revision
Students who are motivated to revise effectively will do better in their exams and therefore as an Academy we do a lot of work to help students:
“Look, cover, write, repeat”
This work shows how a student has written a list of words three times to help retain the spellings. Each time, the student has covered the original list so as to try and remember how to spell it. This is done a lot at primary school, but it is also a brilliant technique to use at secondary school.
Mind-maps a great way to retain knowledge
A mind-map is a great revision tool because students can revise an entire topic onto an A3 piece of paper, and once it’s complete it can be stuck on a bedroom wall as a visual reminder of the learning.
Colour coding aids memory
Colour coded mind-maps are also highly effective revision devices as students can map out sub topics in different colours and then associate each sub-topic with a particular colour.
Flash cards are good for condensing knowledge
Flash cards are a brilliant way to try to remember lots of information in a condensed form. We encourage students to make them for the different topics they have to revise.
Writing essays and practising exam papers are a brilliant revision tool
There’s no better way to check your understanding than to apply your knowledge and skills by actually completing a past paper or practice question.
Using acronyms is proven to help the brain store more complex information
We encourage students to think up their own acronyms for topics as the brain can store them in the long term memory. For example, many people use “Never Eat Shredded Wheat” as a method to remember North, East, South and West. We apply this concept to lots of topics within the differing GCSE curriculum.
Many subject areas provide revision guides for students to help with the revision process
Revision guides are highly useful because they concentrate the knowledge down into core facts and processes that students need to know.
We encourage students use a “Look, Cover, Write, Repeat” strategy to try to retain this factual knowledge.
Every student is given support in helping them to create and use a revision timetable
All students have to sit a lot of exams and in order to prepare for each one effectively they should block out time in the week to revise each subject.
This organised approach will help them develop a structured routine and alleviate stress as they feel more fully prepared.