Principles and Purpose of Home Learning
At St Nicholas Catholic Academy, we are passionate about equipping every child with the academic tools they need to be successful in secondary school and beyond. In order to do this in an informed way, we look at what research says about the most effective ways of doing things and shape our policies to match.
What does the research say?
- The most effective thing any parent can do to help their child succeed at school is to read books to or with their child every night;
- Activities that involve the parent and child working together on something or talking about work in school can be effective;
- In KS1, regular daily homework in the form of worksheets, which a child is expected to do unaided, can have a negative effect. It can put children off learning as it can cause parents to have to nag about completing homework, rather than doing positive educational activities with their children.
- In KS2 and especially by Year 6, home learning will increase to meet the needs of the pupils, and prepare them to achieve success at secondary school.
Home learning aims to:
- Recognise and celebrate learning that already happens at home;
- Promote parents and children reading and talking together;
- Providing opportunities for pupils to develop a growth mindset and to for pupils to feel proud about pushing themselves beyond what is compulsory;
- Encourage resilience, independence and pupils taking responsibility for their own learning;
- Enabling classwork to concentrate on those things that require the teacher’s presence.
Home Learning in the Early Years
In the early years, parents should read a story to their child daily. If parents cannot do this for some reason, then the parent should ensure that an older sibling, or older relative can do this on their behalf. There is nothing else a parent can do which will have more impact on their child’s learning than this. Parents should make sure their child is a member of their local library and visit regularly together.
Compulsory home learning: basic skills
Practice Y1 – 6.
All children will be expected to read their book. The more children practise reading, the easier and more enjoyable it will become. There is not enough time during the school day for children to practise as often as they need to – so doing this at home is vital. Children also need to learn to persevere in reading longer texts as their reading skills develop. Children who do not practise reading at home are very likely to fall behind and will then struggle throughout their school careers. The more parents read to their children, the larger their vocabulary will grow and the more they will develop their own love of reading. This is as true of children in years 5 and 6 as it is of children in year 1. We would expect parents to record daily reading in their child’s reading record in KS1 and for a child to begin to record their own reading as they move into KS2 and become more independent. Reading records should be brought into school every day by all children.
Children must spend a few minutes each day revising their number facts (number bonds and times tables) and spellings. Ten minutes every day is much more effective than an hour once a week. The more children practise these, the easier they will be to remember. The quicker they can remember them automatically, the more their brain has space to work on other, higher level things. Parents will be provided details of the spelling and number focus each term on the termly year group curriculum leaflet.
In KS2, children will be given weekly digital Maths homework to complete.
Enrichment Activities and Projects
In addition to the reading, number facts and spelling that we expect all children complete, we also give children a range of enrichment projects and suggested activities that can be completed at home. These activities and projects provide families an element of choice; learning that gives options. Parents and children can work in partnership to choose how many – and which – projects or activities they choose to work on together. These will then be uploaded onto Google Classroom, shared with the rest of the class and celebrated at school.
In order to prepare our year 6 pupils for secondary school where regular homework will be expected, year 6 class teachers will also send home additional compulsory tasks in English and maths, on top of the home learning outlined above. For example, they might be given a maths worksheet to do or a reading comprehension.