In common with most schools we set homework and within reason think that it is an important and beneficial aspect of our education.  It extends learning time and offers opportunities for revision and completion of work.  It is an excellent means of developing independent reading, spelling and tables skills if a parent or other reliable adult helps.

Research in the UK is clear that its benefits for written work diminish if too much is given, so it is useful to know the sort of time which should be expected daily.  On this matter, there is quite a high level of agreement within our staff, Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and widely accepted ‘best practice’ in many countries.  However - as always - there is a caveat.  Firstly, children simply don’t all work at the same pace.  As an aside, this is one of the major complications of classroom management, which may result in incomplete work going home, too.  Secondly, homework set is often ‘open-ended’ which means that pupils put into the task what they are able, and what they wish.  If something catches a child’s imagination then she may immerse herself in it for hours.  Thirdly, there are times when the work - learning, practical or written - just has to be done.  This is especially so with older children, and when exams are pending then all bets are off.  The job has to be completed.  

Here are our approximate daily recommendations (not including reading, and revision for the higher grades).

Grade 1:-  15 minutes (mainly reading related activities and bonds)
Grade 2:-  20 minutes (mainly reading related activities and bonds)
Grade 3:-  25 minutes
Grade 4:-  30 minutes
Grade 5:-  40 minutes
Grade 6:-  50 minutes
Grade 7:-  60 minutes (this will seem moderate in retrospect when they reach senior school)

ADVICE TO PARENTS (Primary Education magazine)

• Provide a quiet place and routine time for the child to work.
• Your help with research, listening to reading and revision/learning are all important.
• However, children need to learn to work on their own so be available if possible, but don’t hang over them.
• Explain to them how to organise their workload.  Sometimes lots of short sessions are better than one long one.
• See homework as a chance to be involved with what your children are doing at school.
• Praise them and offer lots of positive feedback.
• Don’t do their homework for them.
• Children remaining at Chisipite Junior in the afternoon for extra-curricular activities have the opportunity to complete much or all of their work in the dining hall.

There are inevitably times when it all becomes too difficult or too much, especially for children having to catch up work.  Under these circumstances, the parent’s signature on the work to signify that ‘enough was enough’ will be accepted by the Teacher.