Home Learning and Homework: Guidance for Parents
Why is home learning important?
At Ark Acton we believe that homework matters and plays an imprtant role in helping our students not only secure great exam results but build good study habits that will help them at University and in the world of work.
"The evidence shows that the impact of homework, on average, is five months' of additional progress (per yer)" The Education Endowment Foundation - a leding UK education research group.
Because we believe that home learning is so important, we have provided a school laptop for your child, with a free 365 office subscription, and access to a range of powerful learning materials and platforms.
This is part of our ongoing Digital Strategy to enable all students to become Powerful Learners and responsible Digital Citizens online.
What is home learning?
The minimum requirement of home learning is that everyday pupils are completing their homework, and in the run up to each set of assessments, actively revising the material.
In addition to this, in order to fully reach their potential, students should be seeking and undertaking other learning opportunities at home or outside of school.
These include making use of powerful online platforms such as Hegarty Maths, Seneca, the ArkSpark website (enrichment opportunities through the Ark School website) and Uplearn (A Level Maths, Economics, Chemistry, Biology, Maths)
Other suggested activities could be: reading (the very best form of enrichment and education) and this is supported by Sora, our reading App - https://soraapp.com/welcome -; watching documentaries; playing chess and other strategic board games; mini-DIY and creative projects, at home chemistry sets; sport and martial arts; a musical instrument; learning a basic programming language and programming a new game; or creating music. As well as complementing the school’s curriculum, these tasks help students to develop persistence and resilience which also supports their approach to learning within school.
How is homework designed and how should students be completing it?
Following the research, our teachers design homework so that it consolidates memory of core skills and knowledge. This means homework is often quizzing or overlearning our core knowledge - https://arkacton.org/curriculum/knowledge-booklets - but not always.
The older a student becomes, the more extended is the homework and the more demanding.
Ideally, students should be completing their work under supervision from parents.
In Secondary and Sixth Form, all homework is published on Show My Homework (SMHW), and each week pupils achieve a % for the amount of quality homework submitted on SMHW. All teachers and tutors know this % and pupils can request it at any time.
This means that students are able to show parents their SMHW page every day and the homework that they have been set. Students should then be completing their homework, without the distraction of a mobile phone nearby and be able to show their completed work to parents each evening.
Unfortunately, sometimes students try to complete homework in a rush. These attempts to complete homework are clearly not extending students’ brains and learning. Even worse, occasionally, students miss their homework deadline. We discourage this by having an after-school detention, to focus students’ minds.
We recognise that not all homework is straightforward, and homework habits take time to build up. We therefore offer Prep Club from 4:00 – 5:00, Monday-Thursday, for pupils who request it, and also for any pupils who are struggling to complete homework at home. You are welcome to contact your child’s tutor if you would like your child to enrol in Prep Club.
How much homework should my child be doing?
Each week, all students must:
- Learn 1-2 blocks for each subject in the Knowledge Booklet. There is an in-class quiz in each subject to test this knowledge. You can find your child’s current booklet on the Ark Acton Website (https://arkacton.org/curriculum/knowledge-booklets).
- Complete 2hrs of reading on Sora (https://soraapp.com/)
- Complete all online Hegarty / Sparx Maths work (https://www.sparxmaths.uk/)
- Complete specified subject work as set by class teacher
The amount of work set each week increases as a student moves up from Year 7 to Year 13 to reflect the increasing demands of the subject.
How should students be revising?
The two main resources that students should be using to help them revise are: their class books which should include all the content and feedback in each subject and can be used to create flash cards and take notes as well as creating mind map posters; and revision booklets which are created by most departments to specifically guide our students towards success in the exams – including tasks and information which students can create revision cards from.
If your child wishes to use the internet to revise, there are some helpful websites mentioned above. However, these come with the disclaimer that they will only be useful if they are covering specific content that students have been taught and actively being used for quizzing and knowledge retrieval and practice of questions. Scrolling through and simply reading web pages is an ineffective way of revising and the internet can be a distraction if the student is not totally focused, with a goal in mind!