At Beaufort Community Primary school, we believe that support from home is an important aspect of a child’s education. Primary School homework is an opportunity for a shared family learning experience, which can inspire further learning and interest. But this needs to be an enjoyable, inspirational and stress free experience for all concerned.
Our homework is divided into compulsory and optional tasks to allow the flexibility to suit each family’s circumstances. Compulsory homework consists of the activities which we consider will have the maximum impact on children’s learning; Reading, Spelling and Mental Mathematics. All other homework is optional until children reach year 6, when we consider our responsibility to prepare them for secondary school.
Daily reading is compulsory homework for all children in the school. This reflects our belief that reading is of fundamental importance to a child’s education and our desire to promote a love of reading in every child. This reading session should be more than just reading the print. We encourage parents and carers to share the books with their child, discussing and questioning at a level appropriate for their age and stage of development. To this end, guidance is provided for the parents/carers of each child. When children enter the school in Reception, our first concern is to teach them to read the high frequency words that will enable them to read effectively. Thus, in addition to their books, each child will be provided with a ‘word tin’ with a selection of high frequency words to learn. As children develop, their daily reading experience will be different, but will always include an element of shared experience with an adult to ensure that there is understanding of their book as well as accurate reading. Home reading is rewarded with prizes and certificates as our children make their way from ‘Rocket’ to the rest of the Universe!
Spelling is a compulsory part of our homework for every child and we expect them to be practised daily. Every child in the school is on a personalised spelling journey, which starts with phonics and moves into the spelling of high frequency words. Our spelling reward scheme encourages children to move ‘around the world’, spelling banks of words in each country until they reach Australia. They then earn their ticket home by spelling ‘tricky words’ which they have found themselves, from errors in their written work, or from their reading.
Each child in the school will have mental maths homework appropriate to their individual needs. In Reception, this is likely to involve counting objects, moving on to number bonds and then multiplication tables as children progress through the school. Our reward scheme encourages the children to collect trees as they learn basic number facts and times tables. Daily practice of these facts can enhance children’s mathematical ability and increase their speed and accuracy in other areas of Maths work.
Each time a class starts a new topic, we will send home a topic web, outlining all the areas we intend to cover with the class during that topic. Along with this, we will send home a ‘Family Learning’ sheet of optional homework tasks, connected to the work being covered. This will provide ideas for a variety of cross-curricular, practical homework activities, ranging from suggested places to visit and Art/D.T. projects to ideas for extending the Mathematics and Literacy work being learned. In addition, ‘Dig-it’ Maths games may also be sent home when the children have used them in class. All of these activities can be undertaken at a time to suit the family and children can choose from the list whenever they wish to engage in a homework activity.
Again, the focus here is on Family Learning time and our aim is to provide ideas for quality educational experiences that can be enjoyed by all. For our younger children, the experiences are likely to be ‘play based’ and will provide a wealth of opportunities for parents and carers to help in developing essential language skills.
Optional homework completed is brought back into class, where it is shared and celebrated, thus inspiring other children to participate in the activities suggested.
Use of ICT
We offer our children a number of packages which can be used to enhance their optional homework. These include ‘Mathletics’, ‘Education City’ (Nursery and Early Years only) and ‘Purple Mash’, all of which help them to develop essential skills.