The senior leadership team of the Trust have been working on an updated homework policy which will be launched across all of our schools in September. Parents at Cypress may already have noticed a difference in this term’s homework as we have developed the ‘checkerboard sheets’ which offer children a range of activities which link in with their thematic topic. These have been designed to encourage children to think creatively, and offer opportunities for them to do anything from fashion design (designing a bathing costume for a child in the 1900s), town planning (designing the perfect Anglo-Saxon settlement), or cookery (finding and making a recipe for an African dish). We hope you and your children have been enjoying them!
When formulating the new policy, we wanted to ensure this was evidence-based and took account of feedback from parents and carers. Some of you had asked us to reduce the amount of homework set, so it is not now compulsory to complete a thematic task each week; the expectation varies by year but children are expected to do on average 4-6 items of thematic homework each term. We hope this will ease any feeling of pressure and allow for flexibility when balancing homework with the other out of school activities that children take part in. They are of course free to do more if they wish!
Through the Comms group and the online questionnaire you asked us to make the expectations around homework clearer, so we will explain how much homework we expect children to do and how they will get feedback on their work. We will also make clear in the policy that the behaviour policy will not be applied in cases where children haven’t completed homework tasks. However, we do expect children to read regularly; evidence shows that this contributes to their achievement, and if children are not getting regular opportunities to read at home we will set aside time for them to do so in school.
In discussions with parents, some of you were concerned that there was a lack of evidence that homework actually improves outcomes for children; you will be happy to hear that we have included a new aspect to our policy, based on research, on what does work to support children’s learning. ‘Previewing’ is a new approach that involves children working on topics before they are taught in school, which allows children to get a ‘head start’ on learning and builds their confidence and interest. We are running a ‘preview club’ and ‘preview interventions’ in the upper school to give extra support to children who we think will benefit most from this. If you’d like to know more about this approach, it is summarised here (https://vimeo.com/260769731), or you can speak to your class teacher.
We welcome any feedback from parents or children about the new policy. The parent communications group based at Cypress are happy to collate parent feedback (email to email@example.com), or you can speak to your class teacher or a member of staff. We have had some wonderful examples of homework this term already! Thank you for your continued support.