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Headteachers criticise French leader for homework remarks

22/10/2012 Joanna
British headteachers have dismissed French president Francois Hollande's suggestion that homework should be eradicated.

Last week, the socialist leader said that "an education programme is, by definition, a societal programme. Work should be done at school, rather than at home".

However, when the Cambridge News asked those in education jobs in England for their opinions on the subject of work outside class, there was widespread disagreement with the Frenchman.

"He is making an assumption that parents from poorer backgrounds are not as caring and are stifling their own children's ambitions," Tricia Kelleher, principal of the Stephen Perse Foundation in Cambridge, told the news provider.

"What we find is our pupils want to explore their learning and carry out their own investigations and teachers giving homework provides structure for that."

Ed Elliott, headteacher of The Perse, said that whether homework is effective is more to do with the quality of the tasks set by those in teaching jobs.

"Good homework excites learning and stimulates pupil interest. It leaves them wanting more," he said.

This opinion was echoed by Ms Kelleher, who said it was up to teachers to ensure that, when work is set outside class, it is well thought out.

"There is a problem with homework when it is set for homework's sake," she said.

Earlier this year, an Institute for Education study revealed that secondary school students who spend two to three hours a night studying achieve better results in all three core subjects and have better "social-behavioural outcomes", for factors such as self-regulation, hyperactivity and anti-social behaviour.

Pam Sammons, a professor of education at Oxford University, who worked on the 'Influences on students' development from age 11–14' research, told the Guardian: "One of the reasons private schools' results are better is that there's more expectation of homework."

Posted by Tim ColmanADNFCR-2164-ID-801473530-ADNFCR
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