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Homework / Home Learning – what’s happening?





Research into homework suggests that it has a positive impact on children’s learning in primary school, leading to a larger, positive impact for children in secondary school. From the research, we pulled out three important features of effective learning at home.

1. Shorter tasks (longer tasks don’t necessarily result in more learning) SO we are reducing the number of set learning expected at home.

2. Tasks directly relevant to learning in school SO tasks will either prepare children for future learning or consolidate past learning, alongside Reading and Times Tables practice.

3. Parental involvement. We are partners, with you, in the education of your children. Children need to be independent, so we don’t want you to do the work for the children, but if you want success for your child you need to be involved!

Your questions answered:

Why is my child getting less homework?

Research shows that less can be more! A short time spent on home learning is often as effective as a longer time.

How can parents best help?

Read with your children every day (reading to them and hearing them read): the best you can do for your children’s education, happiness and even their mental health.

Talk to your children about their tasks (e.g. talking through Big Write for years 3-6 helps them avoid the scariness of the blank page!). Supporting children through their tasks will help them understand at a deeper level and also show them that learning is valued and that you are interested in them.

Choose your time. Practise times tables when you’re in the car. Talk about Big Write over a mealtime. Have a set time when written work is done so it is expected and doesn’t become a battle.

Why am I not getting spelling lists?

Our children’s learning of “spellings” wasn’t working for many children. Children who learnt the words could often either spell the words anyway, or learnt them for the test but didn’t spell correctly in their independent writing. Expect more learning around “families” of words spelt the same rather than a list of test words.

What’s happening about times tables (years 3-6)?

Times tables are really important to learn – keep doing this! However, the system is changing. Children were learning the answers to the test but couldn’t tell you the answer to the same question in a different order! You will still be told which times tables your child is working on for you to practise at home in lots of different orders (and using one of the many online games to help).

What if it isn’t working for my child? What if my question isn’t answered here?

Talk to us. We’ve reviewed the system and are changing things, but will welcome feedback to enquiries@aldermaston.w-berks.sch.uk or face to face.

I don’t think my child is getting enough homework. What should I do?

Do some more reading – maybe a different type of book (comic, newspaper, online book). Go into the garden and look for bugs, seeds, leaves or stars in the sky. Learn a poem together (how about a limerick?). Use one of any number of good online learning games. Play a game of ludo, cards or chess. Set them a challenge to make with Lego (how about a trap for an alien robot mouse?). Ask them what they want to do for the next ten minutes and do it with them. Consider joining a club to use this time up (Cubs, Brownies, sport, choir). Paint a picture. Climb a tree. Ask them what their favourite song is and sing it together. Talk to them. Listen to them. The world is your oyster, and there are many pearls!

I think my child is getting too much homework. What should I do?

Manage the time. If it’s taking too long, then stop. Don’t let your children use this as an excuse for wasting time, however!

What can I expect for my child?

The table below shows you what to expect. Remember that to make sure it is relevant, we need to be flexible, so this is a guide, and more relevant homework may be substituted.



Every day

(aim for at least 5 times a week)


Preparing for learning


Phonics sound or Maths task (later in the year) 10 minutes
Talk about a learning question/information  sent home from school
Year 1
Phonics task or Maths task
15 minutes
Talk about a learning question/information sent home from school
Year 2
Practice task (e.g. spelling, handwriting, Maths) each week
15 minutes
Pre-learning questions sent home from school
Year 3
Reading 10 mins
Times tables 5 mins
Maths task every week 15 minutes
Grammar/punctuation/spelling alternate weeks 15 minutes
Big Talk ready for Big Write (alternate weeks)
Year 4
Reading 10 mins
Times tables 5 mins
Maths task every week 20 minutes
Grammar/punctuation/spelling alternate weeks 20 minutes
Big Talk ready for Big Write (alternate weeks)
Year 5
Reading 10 mins
Times tables 5 mins
Maths task every week 25 minutes
Grammar/punctuation/spelling alternate weeks 25 minutes
Big Talk ready for Big Write (alternate weeks)
Year 6
Reading 10 mins
Times tables 5 mins
Maths task every week 25 minutes
Grammar/punctuation/spelling every week 25 minutes
Big Talk or Year 6 alternative (alternate weeks)
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