Definition of Homework

The term “Homework” should not be narrowly interpreted as the definition includes more than just written exercises.  It also involves learning, regular revision work and exam preparation.

Rationale for Homework

Homework provides students with the opportunity to reinforce material already covered in class.

It provides a foundation for future learning and it promotes independent learning.

It is essential for students to commit certain facts to memory e.g. formula, historical accounts, poems, etc and it is important that these should be revised regularly as directed by the teacher.

It is a useful mental discipline as it allows students to test their powers of recall and prepares the student for success in examinations.

Time Allocation for Homework

The amount of time needed for students to complete homework assignments varies from student to student and from academic year to year.  The following are broad guidelines as to how much time Coláiste an Átha recommends the student spend as a minimum on their Homework:

1st Year: 1 – 1.5 hours

2nd Year:  1.5 – 2 hours

3rd Year: 2 – 3 hours

5th Year: 3 – 3.5 hours

6th Year: 3 – 4 hours

At weekends, 3rd, 5th and 6th year students should spend at least 2 – 3 hours on revision and catching up, if necessary, on any work missed during the week.

The Homework Journal

The Homework Journal serves a number of functions:

  • To record work to be completed
  • A means of communication between school and parents
  • Contains valuable information

Students must have their Homework Journal with them for all classes.

It should be in clear view on the student’s desk from the beginning of each class.

An entry should be made in the relevant place for every subject, not just for written assignments – revision of material covered in class in every class needs to be done every night.

The Homework Environment

In order to make the most productive use of homework / study time, the following should be considered:

  • Have a suitable desk and chair in a suitable location
  • Have good lighting
  • Have a study timetable and follow it, especially Leaving and Junior Certificate students
  • Leave mobile phone in another room
  • Do not have anything in the room that might cause a distraction

Guidelines for Students

  1. Teachers place great emphasis on setting purposeful, well planned homework which is designed to assist each student in reaching their full potential.
  2. Students are expected to complete all homework assignments given to them.  In the case of inability to complete a particular exercise a genuine effort to attempt it must be shown by the student.
  3. Homework should be done on time, in full and should be properly presented with the date shown.
  4. Each student must record all homework in their journal when instructed by subject teachers.  Both written work and learning work must be recorded.
  5. Before leaving class the student should understand clearly what the teacher expects to be completed for homework.  If in doubt the student should ask the teacher to clarify what the homework is and the due time and date for submitting the work.
  6. The homework journal must be signed by a parent/guardian each week and presented to the relevant Class Tutor for inspection.
  7. If a student is absent from class/school for any reason, it is the responsibility of the student to find out details of the work that was missed.  This work must be completed by the extended deadline set by the relevant teacher.
  8.  Students who miss classes due to sporting or other extra-curricular activities must complete class work/homework missed in accordance with the extended deadline set by the relevant teacher.
  9. Copying homework from another student is counter-productive and is regarded as a serious matter by the school.  The same applies if one student allows another student to copy the homework.

10.  Homework must be completed.  In the event of homework not being submitted, teachers will require a letter of explanation from a parent/guardian.

Guidelines for Parents/Guardians

Parents/Guardians can aid the success of their child in completing their homework through:

  1. Ensuring that their child has a suitable environment to complete their work
  2. Discussing their child’s work.  Parental support and interest can have a significant impact on the quality of work done.
  3. Signing the Homework Journal weekly and note any comment made by a teacher.  In the event of homework not being done – a note of explanation should be sent to the teacher.
  4. Attending parent/teacher meetings.  Make an appointment to meet teachers if there are problems that need to be discussed.
  5. Ensuring that exam year students do not engage in part-time work during the school week if at all possible.
  6. Fully supporting the school in any sanctions we use to deal with matters relating to homework.  Failure to meet homework requirements is taken seriously by the school as we are aware that neglect of homework can only result in underachievement.

Guidelines for Teachers

  1. Teachers in the school are expected to set regular homework on topics covered in class.
  2. Teachers should explain homework assignments clearly and allocate time to allow students to record homework in their journal.  Teachers should write homework on the board.
  3. Teachers are expected to monitor homework and maintain records.
  4. Homework should be pitched to the ability of students and it should be of value to students.
  5. Teachers should ensure that no single subject should take up a disproportionate amount of student’s time to the detriment of other subjects.
  6. Adequate time should be given to students to complete major assignments such as essays, etc.
  7. Students should be made aware that it is their responsibility to get details of homework assignments from classmates or their teacher if they are absent from class/school for any reason or involved in school related activities/extra-curricular activities.

Feedback for Pupils

Students look mainly to teachers for a response on the quality of their work.  Effective marking and feedback have always placed demands on teachers, but both are fundamental to helping students make progress.  Teachers check homework on a regular basis.  A variety of methods are used to correct homework. The following are examples of these methods. This list is not exhaustive:

  • Teacher correction
  • Class discussion
  • Class correction
  • Students exchange work for correction
  • Students write out answers in the form of a test

Feedback for Parents

The school reports to parents on the progress of students. Reporting is a crucial part of the relationship between school and parents.  Traditional school end-of-term reports that take the form of a grade or mark and a generalized comment for each subject can be reassuring and supportive for the parents of students.  All 3rd and 6th year students receive a monthly progress report that reports on the progress of examination students on a monthly basis in relation to results, motivation and behaviour.  Parent/teacher meetings offer valuable opportunities for the school to move beyond the marks, as it were, and to present more comprehensive assessments of progress.  As well as allowing a focus on progress achieved, such meetings provide an opportunity to nominate areas that need specific attention and to indicate what needs to be done to improve student performance.

Homework Sanctions

Homework assignments and deadlines are set by subject teachers and must be adhered to.  Lack of co-operation by students may be dealt with in one or more of the following ways:

  • Verbal reprimand by subject teacher.
  • Students may be given a punishment sheet by subject teacher to complete.
  • Assignment to be completed for next school day and signed by parent/guardian.
  • Note in the Homework Journal to parents/guardians from the subject teacher.
  • Detention given by the subject teacher, where homework is not completed.
  • Discussion with parents/guardians by phone, letter or visit to school.
  • Failure to produce homework on a regular basis will result in an Incident Report Form being issued.

Review and Evaluation

This Homework Policy will be reviewed and amended, if necessary, on an annual basis.

Any review will be conducted with all the relevant members of the school community.

Any amendments to the Policy will be ratified by the Board of Management.

The Board of Management reserves the right to amend this Policy without notice, if required.