OPINION PIECE – THE VALUE OF HOMEWORK

The debate around the how much homework is ‘just right’ has been ongoing as long as schools have been open.  However most, in fact almost all, research now suggests that homework can have more of a negative impact than a positive one for primary aged children.

At Peak School our philosophy is very clear.  We value the children doing the basics at home on a regular basis.  Our Home Learning approach enables children to read, spell and complete basic maths on a regular basis and our older children, who are provided with a homework grid, are able to choose from a list of activities some of which involve real life problems/tasks or activities.

I came across an opinion piece in the DailyTelegraph (Australia) entitled ‘Why kids are better off without any homework’.   Whilst we believe some regular homework is absolutely necessary as a school we have questioned and researched the impact of homework.

Professor John Hattie has looked at 1000’s of studies involving the impact of Homework and he found the impact overall to be a negative impact on primary children and only slightly better for secondary students.  He said if you put a ‘living person’ in front of a class the research shows that the average impact of this is 0.4.  Anything over 0.4 has a positive impact and anything below is basically having a negative impact or no impact at all on the development of the child.  Through tens of 1000’s of studies the average score for homework was 0.29 (lower if you take out the impact on secondary students).  In a list he developed of 100 things schools are doing to improve a child’s development, homework scored 88th meaning there are 87 other approaches that have more impact.

He raises the question of why schools provide homework at all.  He believes it is because parents expect it and judge schools on how much homework they give.  The parent perception that ‘it must be a good school because they give lots of homework’ is a strong perception but a false one.

Here is a link to the article –  http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/why-kids-are-better-off-without-homework/story-fni0cwl5-1227032684827

Reference – Hattie, J. (2009). Visible Learning, A synthesis of over 800 Meta Analysis relating to achievement.

 

SCHOOL UNIFORM REMINDER

Just a quick reminder that we ask that all children come to school in the correct uniform.  A number of students are arriving at school in incorrect shoes.  The uniform policy clearly states that children must wear black shoes as part of the school uniform so it has been disappointing to see children arrive in sports shoes, black shoes with white stripes or writing or in shoes that simply are not black.

I have started to issue warnings to children as some of them appear to ‘forget’ to put on the right shoes in the morning whilst others clearly do not have any black shoes at home and are waiting for mum or dad to buy them for them.

Can I ask that you ensure your child comes to school in the correct uniform including the wearing of the correct coloured shoe.

SILENT AUCTION DONATIONS

The PTA are running a silent auction with all proceeds going to the school.  The PTA are accepting all donations of prizes and my thanks to all those families that have responded by donating holidays, wine, art etc.  The Silent Auction will be held on the night of the Lantern Festival and if you are in a position to donate a prize we would be most grateful.  If you cannot donate yourself, perhaps you know of someone or a company which you can approach on our behalf.

Some of the money raised will be going towards the new playground equipment (safety matting) which I talk more about in another blog entry.

Your support is very much appreciated.

UPPER PLAYGROUND EQUIPMENT UPDATE

The climbing diamond or climbing frame on the upper playground is coming to the end of its life!  It is the climbing frame to the left as you walk up the main set of stairs (the one by the climbing wall and left of the netball court).  We are looking to replace it with brand new playground equipment and the student council will play a big part in what the the new equipment will look like.

As you can imagine the equipment is not cheap and some question whether it is laced with gold when I mention approximately how much a replacement is likely to cost!  We are tentatively looking at around $750,000 to replace the climbing frame and the safety matting at the same time.  I am looking at a range of climbing and playground equipment and I am looking forward to hearing the ideas of the children.

We hope to have the playground equipment replaced by the end of the year and sooner if at all possible.  The PTA have kindly agreed to help fund the project by partially funding the new safety matting and the School Council Finance committee have set funds aside in previous years to allow for the new project.

You can help by donating prizes to the Silent Auction and/or bidding on the prizes available.  Also, if any of our parents have any contacts in the ‘playground equipment business’ I would love to hear from you.