Homework Policy

ST. HELEN’S JUNIOR NATIONAL SCHOOL Homework Policy

The formulation and revision of the homework policy involved the partnership of the teaching staff of the school and the Parents’ Association. St. Helen’s Junior School seeks to enable each child to achieve his/her potential. Homework is both oral and written work given to reinforce the work done in school. It is used to extend the child’s understanding of this work. It encourages children to work independently and to take responsibility for their assignments.
Homework is given to:
• Link home and school in a meaningful way
• Benefit the child’s learning by developing study skills
• Reinforce work done in class
• Enable parents/guardians become aware of their child’s progress and achievements
• Enable parents/guardians assist children who may need extra help
• Help identify problem areas
• Develop the child’s ability to work independently and to develop a child’s self discipline
• Encourage the child by providing an opportunity for achievement.

The achievement of these objectives depends largely on the suitability of the homework given and the support and supervision the child will enjoy at home. On the school side, we endeavour to ensure that unfamiliar or unexplained material is never set as homework and that the amount and nature of the task set is always in accordance with the child’s capabilities. Ideally, the child should be able to complete the set homework without continuous help or attention. Initially, of course, the child will need help and advice in establishing a proper approach to his / her homework. This is particularly important when written homework is introduced for the first time.
Once the routine is established and is in operation, almost all children should require no more than a routine checking of their work when finished. The child’s homework journal should be checked and signed daily. If parents/guardians find themselves having to sit with the child and guide them step by step through the work they should, first of all, consider if such attention is really necessary. If it is not, it is almost certainly inhibiting the child’s development of his / her self-discipline. However, if they are satisfied that a real problem exists they should make arrangements to meet with the class teacher without delay. It is important that the parent/guardian does not do the homework for the child but rather advise the class teacher of the problem.
Parents/Guardians should endeavour to discuss with the child, in a relaxed informal way, the other work they have been engaged in and to relate this work to their family environment whenever possible. This type of reinforcement of the school’s activities is probably the most effective way of assisting the school. Its benefits, in terms of motivating the child, are incalculable. The main purpose of homework is to assist and develop the child. If homework is creating tension in the home and putting unreasonable pressure on the child it cannot achieve this end.

Junior and Senior Infant classes

Homework for the infant classes may include
• Oral work
• Mathematic activity cards (8 weeks per year)
• Writing – 3 sentences – Jolly Phonics (senior infants only)
• Phonics
• Reading
• Religion – Grow in Love workbook
The amount of homework should be completed in 15 minutes and should not take longer than 20 minutes. This includes work set by the Learning Support/Resource Teacher for some children, it may be more important to prioritise reading set by the L/S teacher. Any individual written homework set for a child in the infant classes will be discussed and agreed with parents.

First and Second classes

Pupils have the responsibility to ensure:
• That they have the relevant books and copies
• That homework is written accurately in homework diary
• That homework is completed to the best of their ability
Homework for first and second classes may include:
• Oral work
• Phonics
• Spellings
• Tables
• Gaeilge
• Reading
• Writing
• Written and oral mathematics
• Religion. (2nd class)

Written homework in first class may be introduced gradually, to cater for the needs of any individual class. A maximum of two written assignment may be set. The amount of homework set can be completed, by the average child, in 20 minutes and should not take longer than 30 minutes. This includes work set by the Learning Support/Resource Teacher for some children, it may be more important to prioritise reading set by the L/S teacher. Please contact L/S teacher if you have a query about this. Where appropriate, homework can be differentiated by the class teacher. If any child regularly exceeds the time limit, and the parent/guardian feels that this is not due to bad work habits, the problem should be discussed with the class teacher.

Weekend Homework:
It is school policy not to give written homework on Fridays

The Role of the Parent/Guardian

• Set aside a quiet regular time
• The child should be sitting comfortably at a table & free from distractions
• Encourage a positive attitude towards homework from an early age
• Homework time should include time for oral as well as written work
• Encourage your child to keep books clean and tidy
• If your child is working independently, be available to help and show an interest in what is being done. Praise your child’s efforts.
• If working with your child you feel yourself becoming impatient STOP, this will only have a negative effect
• Check that written work is done neatly and correctly
• It is the parent/guardian responsibility to become familiar with the homework policy
• Examine tables and spellings (first & second classes)
• Listen to reading and poetry
• Check and sign your child’s journal daily
• If your child is persistently having problems with homework, contact the class teacher and discuss the difficulties
• The class teacher will contact the parent/guardian if a child, fails to do his/her homework or complete tasks in an unsatisfactory manner, on a regular basis
• If for any reason, homework cannot be done, write a note in your child’s homework journal.

Success Criteria

Positive feedback from teachers, pupils and parents/guardians
Satisfactory homework exercises and assignments submitted by pupils.

Implementation Date
This amended homework policy was implemented June 2014 following consultation with parents/guardians and ratification by the Board of Management.
The policy was amended in February 2016. Further consultation with parents, teachers and ratification by BOM occurred in February 2016.

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