I hope you have all had a good week. It was really pleasing to see such excitement about fixtures this week, and to spend time with the Year 4 parents at the Boarding Taster evening. The growth in ‘overnight stays’ has been down to the hard work of a number of staff here and I am determined that we continue to grow the opportunities. It is a great way for the girls and boys to spend time with each other in a structured yet fun way and enjoy some independence. I think it is integral to the strength of relationships onsite between staff and pupils and between pupils.
There are changes to the timetable from next week that we feel are necessary and will be helpful to both pupils and staff. This does have an impact on the pre-prep ‘other lessons’ and the pre-prep staff will be in touch about this. Mr Cook spent some time explaining the change to Year 4 up in assembly this morning. As a result my planned email regarding my assembly this morning is postponed until next week!
Over the next few weeks we will be reviewing how Independent Study for Year 4 pupils upwards works, do catch me when I am at drop off or pick up to share your thoughts. Listening to parents already I think you want to understand what they are doing, and how well they are doing it. I am also struck that for many of you, you have chosen Holmwood because ‘homework’ is done in school (where possible) and that principle is important. Having seen various reviews of ‘homework’ over the years I am struck by certain other principles matter in the setting of homework and a research paper written in 2010 highlights these priorities:
- Purpose: all homework assignments are meaningful and students must also understand the purpose of the assignment and why it is important in the context of their academic experience.
- Efficiency: homework should not take an inordinate amount of time and should require some hard thinking.
- Ownership: students who feel connected to the content and assignment learn more and are more motivated. Providing students with choice in their assignments is one way to create ownership.
- Competence: students should feel competent in completing homework. In order to achieve this, it’s beneficial to abandon the one-size-fits-all model. Homework that students can’t do without help is not good homework.
- Inspiring: A well-considered & clearly designed resource and task impacts positively upon student motivation
Research suggests that good ‘homework’ can have a real impact on learning. The types of task matter, as suggested above, to ensure the most efficient use of time. I know what pain and heartache can be caused by overly challenging tasks or low order skill tasks that take time. I will spend some time with some pupils and with the staff working with the current model to consider how it can be improved; and then review, and later communicate more widely, a clear framework to parents.
Have a very good weekend!