Shonogh Pilgrim, WE Director of Secondary, writes about the discussions on homework that took place at the virtual WE Inspire event on 21st October 2021.
I’ve often heard it said that school leadership is a lonely place to be and while that can be true, I’m certain that being part of a thriving network of schools reduces that feeling considerably. Despite the ongoing challenges of managing the effects of the pandemic, we have seen an admirable commitment from network members to put student learning and wellbeing firmly at the heart of all they do.
This was demonstrated beautifully in our most recent secondary WE Inspire session where Helen Parfect from The Netherhall School explained the schools’ desire to rethink their approach to the thorny issue of homework. Helen spoke candidly about her thinking and laid the perfect foundation for a rich discussion of the topic. She shared her own surprise, and discomfort, at hearing from the school student council that they felt homework should only be set in English, Maths and Science. What struck me most about the discussion was the absolute commitment of every individual on the call to use homework in the best interests of the students in their schools.
Such a fantastic conversation on our @WholeEducation #WEInspire call this afternoon thanks to @helenparfect from @netherhall talking about her thinking around the purpose and practice of homework. Teachers still putting kids at the heart despite all things covid 🥰
— Shonogh Pilgrim FRSA (@AfterAnsford) October 21, 2021
As you would imagine, opinions of how to do this varied greatly with some feeling that time after school should be used for students to participate in learning beyond the curriculum and others seeing formal homework as vital to recovery from a pandemics-worth of lost learning and for retrieval practice at GCSE. All of those who took part talked about having had their thinking challenged and shaped by the input of others on the call and were pleased to have had the chance to step outside of the day-to-day functions of the school to really think about how best to design systems to work for students.
“It was such a helpful meeting and so much of what was shared chimes with some of my current thinking, especially the ideas shared around enrichment and the approach with a literacy focus and the emphasis on active learning.” – Helen Parfect, The Netherhall School
WE Inspire Secondary happens every month on a Thursday afternoon (2pm-3pm) and is open invitation to anyone in school. We’d love to have you join us and to add your voice to the debate. If you have an issue you are currently working on that you’d like to bring to the group for discussion or an aspect of your school that you would love to share with others because you think it might help them too, drop me an email at email@example.com and we’ll book a slot!