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A growing number of WA public schools are banning homework for primary students so they can spend more time relaxing, reading and playing.

At least four schools have introduced official “no homework” policies — all they ask of students is to read a little each night, preferably with their parents, shares ABC news.

They argue homework is of no benefit to younger children and can even be detrimental because it gets in the way of important family and recreation time, which allows children to recharge their batteries after a busy day of learning at school.

Bramfield Park Primary School, in the Perth suburb of Maddington, introduced its no homework policy last year, but it came with strings attached.

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Principal Jayne Murray said the school wanted children reading or being read to every night, getting out and playing rather than being glued to a screen, and also getting a good night’s sleep.

“There’s lots of research to show that doing extra homework doesn’t have an educational benefit for our students,” Ms Murray said.

“They work really hard when they’re here everyday. They’re on task, they’re really learning a lot, so we think after school is a time to do something else, not be on their screens but get outside and play.

“It’s a stress for parents, it’s a stress for teachers.

“Finding that time to sit down with your child is difficult if you’re busy.”

She said only a small number of parents requested homework for their children and the school directed them to online learning resources including ABC Reading Eggs and Mathletics, or encouraged them to get a tutor.

Are we setting them up for a fall?

However Glenn Savage, a senior lecturer in education policy at the University of Western Australia argues. “I think there are some problems with the blanket-ban approach to homework,” Dr Savage said.

“What we should be doing is trying to inspire all teachers to understand what good homework practices look like, and then rolling that out across all schools and across all classrooms.

“You wouldn’t want to go from Year 6 having no homework, having never heard of the concept, to suddenly going to high school in Year 7 and being given homework every night, and not know how to be an effective learner when it comes to that.”

As a mum of both a primary and high school age child (grade 3 and grade 8) I can honestly say neither of them are expected to do homework.

The primary school child is encouraged to read, and do times tables if he wants. But there is no pressure at all.

The high school child has rarely had anything at all over the past two years.  I must admit I have been very surprised for high school. I keep expecting it to come, maybe in grade 9 and 10?

Do you think children should be doing homework?

Share your comments below

  • I use to like homework, I like learning and getting things done

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  • Some schools insist on children reading to their parents. I think parents should show some interest in what their child is learning at school but not necessarily every night. If you normally read to your child at night, encourage your child to read to you first. At any age homework should be consistent with what your child is learning at school – not things that are in no way relevant – and not suitable for their age and certainly not things suitable only for a child 2 or 3 years older than yours. I personally know of one school that does that.

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  • Setting up sensible and beneficial homework routines when younger is a positive habit when further study is undertaken when children get older. Study outside of school then becomes a routine reality rather than a shock. It does need to be in moderation and age appropriate too.

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  • I think homework is a part of a fundamental part of life.
    Yes the child goes to school and learns there. But only if the learning is repeated both at school and home then only the information will set in.
    If recreational sports or family time interferes with about half an hour of homework after school. It seems like a lame excuse.
    I look forward to my daughter bring home homework then i as a parent can help her and know what she is learning at school..and what is expected of her. Getting rid of homework will be a bad mistake.

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  • I think homework is helpful because it teaches children how to manage their time in order to finish their homework.

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  • As a retired teacher with both primary and secondary experience, I can tell you that homework is one of the banes of a teacher’s life and there is not documented evidence that it is at all helpful, in the normal course of education.
    Firstly, the call for homework is driven by parents not by educators. Parents who seem to think that if a child has no homework the teacher is not doing the job.

    Secondly, it is often detrimental to family dynamics. It cause stress. ESL families struggle. It robs kids of play time.

    Thirdly, there is no way of knowing if the child did the homework or if the parent did it. This is particularly true of school projects in primary school.

    Finally, some kids are taught incorrect informaton or methods from well meaning parents trying to help their child.

    There is a place for out of school work. If a child didn’t grasp a concept or was away from school for some time, it might help. If parents want a high achiever to enter a selective school (but don’t ask the teacher to do the extra work, pay out of school tutoring). But in general, it is a waste of time.

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  • I do know that when my son started Year 7 and full secondary school homework hit, it was such a shock to his system and took him quite a while to settle in and manage the workload.

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  • I honestly think they should just get a home reader and maybe in grade 5 start to introduce a little bit of homework-but not too much. Let them be kids for longer.

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  • Some children thrive on homework, some it is a real chore.

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  • Nah, I think the homework at primary schools here is too much, although it differs per school. Sure some daily reading is good, but I think kids can learn a lot by playing.My year 7 and 8 kids don’t have a lot of homework either, also that differs per school.

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  • I don’t believe in homework, the teachers at my kid’s school are not setting homework because something asn’t finished in class, they are setting homework for things they haven’t even taught in class yet, (high school) and don’t even get me started on holiday homework

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  • Getting my son to do homework just makes us all miserable.

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  • I agree. Reading time every day should be more than enough. And maybe working at the time tables because practice would be very beneficial.

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  • I live in qld. My children are now enrolled in a school that has minimal homework. Every year level has to read. My year 6 son reads for 40 minutes a week. My year 1 daughter has to read 4 books a week they send home, she also has sight words to work on. That is all unless they have failed to complete work in class then that gets sent home. I dont have to argue with my son anymore but i am worried how next yr being in high school with affect him having homework for different subjects.

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  • I think teachers should set homework only if a child is falling behind in class, or is having difficulty with a particular lesson and needs more practice.

    Reply

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