Homework Policies

policies Homework is an essential element of the learning/teaching process. Homework should be meaningful for the student and the teacher and should always be set as an integrated element of the material under consideration in class. It serves to reinforce the work being undertaken in class and should act as a bridge between the work of one lesson and the next and a vitally important aspect of each student’s education. The setting and correcting of homework is integral in reinforcing good practice for staff. It allows students to explore recent learning, develop deeper understanding and apply newly acquired concepts. The purpose of giving properly coordinated homework is:- to reinforce and consolidate skills and understanding developed at school. to encourage students to study and learn on their own. to involve parents/ guardians in the student’s learning and to keep them informed of the work students are currently engaged with.

  1. to encourage lifelong learning.
  2. to facilitate the realization of the potential of each student.
  3. to allow opportunity for formative assessment, self-assessment, peer-assessment, thereby forming part of the process of assessment for learning.
  4. to allow opportunity each half term for continuous assessment processes, with the completion of key homework tasks which will be positioned periodically. This will reward consistent workers and when combined with house exams will provide a more rounded assessment of work-levels and progress.

Behaviour Code Expectations

As outlined in the Behaviour Code,the College staff have the highest expectations in relation to student engagement with homework. Specifically the Code notes that: In relation to assigned work, it is our expectation that students understand the importance of homework as a critical reinforcement of classroom learning.”

Therefore it is our expectation as a school community that:

Students will take responsibility for their own learning by bringing the correct text books and materials, endeavouring to complete all tasks in class to the best of their ability.

Students will have their St Brendan’s College Journal with them at all times. In order to support organised learning, students must record all homework, written and oral, in the Journal.

Students will endeavour to complete homework tasks, assigned in class, to the best of their ability, and will be supported by parents in facilitating this important work. 

Approximate daily homework contact time

The following are guidelines on the recommended times students need to spend on study including breaks. The times outlined below include class assigned homework tasks as well as study or revision.

 Year group  Monday-FridayRecommended time
 First year 11/2 – 2 hours
Second year 2-2 ½ hours
Third year 3 hours
Transition year Task completions as required
Fifth year 3 hours
Sixth year 3-4 hours

Students in examination years should use the weekend as an opportunity to engage in further study.

  • Third years should complete at least four further hours during Saturday & Sunday.
  • Sixth years should complete at least 6-8 hours during Saturday & Sunday

Taking breaks improves concentration levels while at study.   It is very beneficial to take a short break of 5 to 10 minutes after each 45/50 minutes spent at study.

Responsibilities of the Teacher

Teachers are expected to: Assign homework regularly as an integral part of the work required to fully experience the syllabus.–(preferably each day the teacher has class) Effectively communicate homework assignments to students, preferably placing homework on the board at the beginning of class. Clearly link the homework to the lesson objectives. Ensure that homework is recorded by the student in his college journal. Through differentiation, ensure that homework reflects the level at which the student is capable of performing and where appropriate assign varied levels of individuated homework. (providing challenge to all) Allocate homework that can be completed by students within a time frame appropriate to the year-guidelines outlined in this policy. Endeavour that students understand and know how to do the homework before leaving class. Clearly outline the criteria for success in the particular task. These should be written in the Journal or Homework Copy Utilise a variety of homework forms as described in the policy- oral-aural-written-project- preparation, practice, extension, enrichment. Staff will monitor homework and are encouraged to use a variety of feedback methods including:

  • Class correction-presentations or through questioning
  • Copy review
  • Use of formative assessment-comment only marking is encouraged as a strategy for effective feedback to our students.
  • Staff are expected to utilise review of homework to reinforce key learning, through using the assessment for learning principles (sharing the marking schemes, sharing the criteria for success, peer-assessment, self-assessment, comment only marking)

The teacher identifies:

  • A positive aspect of the completed work.
  • A weakness in the work
  • the next steps in improving the identified weakness.

Marking of key homework pieces as identified in a continuous assessment system promotes discipline and rigour in completion of tasks and facilitates on-going attention to homework. Teachers will inculcate a positive attitude to the engagement with and completion of homework. This rewards system incorporates an awareness of differentiated levels of ability within each class group. They will seek to reward good practice through the College Merit Systems

  • Journal Merit Pages
  • Progress Cards
  • Merit Cards
  • Annual Awards

Teachers, cognisant of the variety of ability levels in any mixed ability class group should be conscious of the variety of levels at which the work will be achieved. Teachers are required to implement homework policy and contact parents through college journal or by letter as required. Extra homework must not be given as punishment. However, students are expected to complete missed assignments.

Responsibilities of the student

Students must record all homework, given to them by the teacher, during class, in their College Journal. Should a student be unclear about a homework task he should question his teacher in order to clarify the requirements of assigned homework. The importance of attentive, active listening and recording of key words is emphasised as central to understanding and learning new topics Each student should record the criteria for success as explained by the teacher. Overall criteria for success should be agreed at subject department level. Have a minimum of one homework copy for each subject (unless otherwise specified) and an organised filing system for the careful maintenance of hand outs/notes. Using the homework recorded in the College Journal, each student should organise a plan to complete homework, cognisant of the due dates. Complete the homework assigned to the best of their ability and submit it at the time requested. Students must review all formative feedback and apply the guidance to related work If a student is unable to do homework due to illness or other personal reasons, then a note must be written in the College Journal, by a parent/guardian withan explanation. Always have their College Journal with them and get it signed by parent/guardian when requested by individual teachers. Students must present their journals for review on designated occasions by class teacher, Year Head, Deputy Principal or Principal. Students who have been absent through illness or extracurricular events including sport are expected to make a reasonable effort to find out what homework has been assigned and to complete it to the best of their ability. 

Responsibilities of the Parents

Parent(s)/Guardian(s) are expected  to provide a reasonably peaceful, suitable place in which students can do their homework away from the distractions of TV, game consoles, MP3 players, mobile phones, internet, social networking sites, etc.  Parents are strongly encouraged to engage with their son’s homework and study. Encourage students to complete all homework and check it regularly and to use any remaining time to revise and organise up to the daily prescribed time. It is the philosophy of this policy that students deliver the prescribed time each school day in order that they develop a healthy attitude to homework and revision practices. Assist your son in forming a study and revision habit-where possible attending Study Seminars as offered at the school. Sign the homework journal as requested. Check the Merit pages and the Sanction record weekly Parent(s)/guardian(s) are encouraged to communicate with teachers via the Homework Journal. While mindful of the economic reality of our times, it is not appropriate for students to undertake part-time work during school term time as this may interfere with their ability to complete homework and study.

Range of Homework assignments

Homework is not always written. It varies in form, purpose and may take different forms such as:

  • Oral/aural work
  • Project work
  • Study-note taking, Mind-mapping, summation
  • Investigations/research

Assigned daily homework may involve: Preparation This type of homework prepares a student for an upcoming lesson eg. Advance reading of a piece Practice An opportunity to reinforce sills & knowledge from a previous lesson Extension An opportunity to expand on skills taught in a previous lesson. Enrichment An opportunity to analyse, synthesise or evaluate previously taught skills or concepts. The form or type of homework which may be assigned  is not limited by this outline. 

Special Education Needs

Subject teachers and Learning support teachers are asked to collaborate where practicable in the process of homework assignment and delivery. The L.S. teacher should clarify the tasks for the student as required. This teacher may also determine the students capacity to complete homework tasks and advise the subject teacher of the differentiation required.

Supporting Homework

Students are assisted in their homework by a number of supports: The Class Teacher A student struggling to complete an assigned task should return to the teacher who outlined the task for further clarification. The Class Tutor In the Junior school the student should avail of the support of the class tutor who can offer practical advice and mentoring. The Guidance Counsellor Any student having difficulty with task completion and/or organising homework and study should meet with the Guidance Counsellor who will assist with organising Study Plans and will ensure that any challenges   are communicated to the Year head or relevant teachers The GC may also choose to link with the Resource Team. The Year Head The Year heads at St Brendan’s offer support and mentoring to students for whom homework completion proves difficult. The Year head can involve the Resource or Pastoral Team, can link with the teacher in charge of the study programmes in the college and, in communication with the parents/guardians may refer the student to external review and assessment of needs.Where resources allow, a year head may assign a mentor to a student who is experiencing difficulty with homework completion. 

Responding to uncompleted Homework

  1. Should a student be unable to complete a homework assignment, a Parent/Guardian should write a brief note to the teacher. Where no explanation is recorded-teachers will record the non-completion of homework in the student Homework Journal. Parent(s)/guardian(s) should discuss this serious matter with the student and sign the Journal.
  2. Should a student again fail to complete homework (again recorded in the Journal) on two further occasions then the student’s name is placed on the STAFFROOM DETENTION LIST and the student attends the study hall as a sanction.This detention is a time where students will be asked to do catch up work given by teachers in order to complete missed assignments. Parents will be informed by letter of the requirement to attend catch-up detention. Copy of letter to Year Head who will monitor patterns.
  3. Should a student non-completion (without valid written explanation) continue the BLUE CARD System should be used to report the behaviour to the Year Head. Further sanctions will be discussed and implemented by the school authorities. 

This Homework Policy is subject to periodic review.