Child reading. A Honiton primary school has stopped giving pupils written homework, and is encouraging them to read for at least 20 minutes a day instead. Littletown Primary Academy is trying out the change with all pupils except for Year Six between now and the end of the academic year. Headteacher David Perkins said the decision was based on educational research and consultation with parents, children and staff. His message to parents explaining the change said the research showed that weekly written maths and English homework have little impact, can cause stress to families, and are not always valued by staff. On the other hand, spending 20 minutes reading at home every evening is the single thing that has the most positive impact on pupil outcomes and life chances.
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Pupils have now been asked to read for 20 minutes every evening. Get the pick of the week's stories and fascinating Devon history features direct to your inbox every Saturday morning in our exclusive Weekend Report newsletter. Littletown Primary Academy in Honiton has scrapped homework for pupils, with children instead asked to read for 20 minutes every evening. Teachers are testing the new idea between now and and the end of the academic year, which applies to all pupils apart from those in Year Six. A letter sent home to parents from headteacher David Perkins claimed weekly written maths and English homework have little positive impact. Worse still, analysis and consultation with parents has suggested it can cause families stress and is not always valued by staff. Mr Perkins added that spending 20 minutes reading at home every evening is the single thing that has the most positive impact on a pupil's academic achievement and their life chances.
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Who remembers the Sunday evening rush? Scrambling through your spellings trying to memorise them for a Monday morning test. Or even better, finding out you have to make a fully-fledged chair and you just know that the class swot is going to strut in with a wooden structure - sanded and varnished. It was quite literally the stuff of nightmares.
Is homework a valuable learning tool for schoolchildren - or a negative drain on energy and time? It's a topic which has caused heated debate among educators and researchers for decades, with varying results. But one primary school in Devon has decided to test the water for itself - ditching formal homework and replacing it with regular reading and mental arithmetic practice. Between now and the end of the school year, pupils up to Year Five at Littletown Primary Academy in Honiston will not be given written homework tasks as part of a trial scheme to test the impact on learning.