The debate about homework never seems to end. There are always firmly held opinions on both sides of the argument, and people rarely change sides. On one hand there are those who feel that homework is a waste of time, that children do their learning in school all day and should therefore have the remaining time for other things, such as sports, hobbies and family. Conversely, others feel that homework is an essential act to reinforce and practice, and that it is a most useful way for students to pass their time in the evening. Of course much depends on the type of homework set, I'm sure we can all recall 'good' and 'bad' homework. In spite of this it is interesting that there are no clear guidelines issued by government on the matter. Recently the UK Secretary of State for Education said
"Just to be clear: schools are not obliged to set homework and some don't. But when schools do set homework, children need to do it. We trust individual headteachers to decide their policy on homework and what happens if pupils don't do it."
He added: "Homework isn't just some joyless pursuit of knowledge. It's an integral part of learning. Beyond the chance to practise and reinforce what you've learnt in class, it's also an opportunity to develop independent study and application – and character traits such as perseverance."
Mr Hinds also cited research from the Education Endowment Foundation, which had "established that, although there are more significant educational improvements from homework at secondary school, there can still be a modest but positive impact at primary level". This left most of us in little doubt, in his view, thoughtfully set homework can be a good thing. This is certainly how we view homework at CES. We believe that not only does homework have the potential to deepen student understanding, but creative homework can be a wonderful opportunity for students to demonstrate other skills and to excel in an unexpected field. In my view, this is the real benefit of homework, and why we should be encouraging our children to treat it seriously.