Homework and Revision Strategies
Our intent is for homework to embed, extend and enrich students' learning over time. It will play a central role in our students’ journey to independence.
Our approach is informed by research which shows that effective homework can lead to five months’ additional progress (even up to eight months in some cases). Studies found that the scores of students who received homework, compared to those who did not, were on average 62% higher.
The Purpose of Homework
- To consolidate knowledge
- To practise and apply skills and techniques
- To enrich the curriculum through depth, breadth or engagement
- To develop confidence in learning independently
- To support GCSE and A-Level NEA (non examined content i.e. coursework)
The most frequent homework task set will be the consolidation of knowledge, to support students’ review of the curriculum with Knowledge Organisers and PLCs (personal learning checklists). Twenty four examples of consolidation of learning homework tasks can be found here. Students can complete any of these tasks with their books/Knowledge Organisers, even when they have not been set by their teacher. They are effective because they interrupt the natural forgetting that happens to us all after we first learn something new. These tasks are divided into those which help us:
- Reflect on and reinforce learning very soon after the lesson
- Build strong memories by going over knowledge at a few spaced out times after the lesson
- Retrieve learning from memory at an increasingly long time after the lesson.
Much of this work will not be given feedback by teachers. The majority of homework will be assessed through low stakes tests of the knowledge and skills that students have revised, learned or practised. This will provide students with feedback on how effectively they are working. Where it is given feedback this might be verbal or whole-class feedback which students then act on to check and correct their work.
Students can expect to be given homework on a regular basis. Students at KS3 will be set homework less regularly than at KS4 and KS5 to reflect the timings below. Maths, English and Science will set more homework at KS3 than non-core subjects, with greater equity at KS4, to reflect curriculum time weighting. Homework will be recorded on the homework website.
We recommend students spend the following amounts of time on homework:
- Years 7 and 8 - 50 - 60 minutes a day.
- Years 9, 10 and 11 - 1½ to 2 hours a day. Nearer the former in Year 9, the latter in Year 11.
- ‘Independent Study Time’ for Years 12 and 13 - A minimum of 4 hours per subject per week in Year 12, rising to 5 hours per subject in Year 13. There is an expectation that some of this work will be completed in school time during study periods.
In some holidays in years 10, 11, 12 and 13 homework will be set to support students with preparing for examinations or NEA.
Revision and Review Strategies
We all like to see the fruits of our labours and often students are keen to revise for their assessments and exams but just don't know where to start. In fact, research shows that students are most likely to choose strategies which are the least effective. For example, re-reading information, summarising and making notes or highlighting are all commonly chosen revision strategies. Whilst they can feel satisfying, as they help us feel familiar with the content, they don’t really make us think hard about it, from memory, without looking; which is what is needed to really make learning stick and stop the natural forgetting process.
The following resources and information have been designed to help students revise effectively and maximise knowledge retention. We have named them the RED review strategies; retrieval practice, elaboration and dual coding. We call them review, rather than revision strategies because we don’t want our students to only revise once they get to the end of a course or prepare for an exam or assessment. We need students to review things little and often so they can store them securely in their long term memory where they can remember and use them.
Students can sometimes be disheartened or put off if these strategies seem more difficult than those they have used previously. They are challenging at first because they work. We hope you find these useful, but please speak to your subject teachers about how to use them in each subject, or your Head of Year if you would like further guidance.
RED revision example - History
Dual Coding Example - Media Studies