Homework has been with us for as long as we have had schools and it seems always to have been the subject of debate.
Yet even in the relatively recent past, homework was not as universal as it is now. Only twenty years ago, just 60% primary schools made their pupils do homework but as pressure for results has increased, so has the ubiquity of homework.
Of course, there are always rebels, particularly amongst primary school heads. Every year there are headlines in the education pages of the newspapers reporting that a head teacher somewhere has abolished homework in favour of allowing children to relax and enjoy the freedom to play in their childhood. Opponents of homework often cite the American academic Alfie Kohn in support of their argument. Kohn wrote the influential study “The Homework Myth: Why Our Kids Get Too Much of a Bad Thing.’ Reflecting on his research Kohn observes, ‘What surprised me is not the downside of homework, but the fact there appears to be no upside. No study has ever shown an academic benefit to homework before high school.’
Secondary state school offers are already out there and with the Primary offers recently issued, this is an apprehensive time as it gets more difficult to secure one of those desired school places. It can be tough surviving National Offer Day when the realisation hits home that the best performing state schools are massively oversubscribed.
If you have not been offered a place for your child at your preferred school there are routes you can take. You can appeal and put your child on waiting lists for any other school you have applied for.
As parents receive their secondary school offers on National Offer Day, the realisation hits that the best performing state schools are massively oversubscribed. The national increase in secondary school applications year on year has risen by more than 15,000 and with only one in six children receiving their first choice of secondary school, some parents are left disappointed on National Offer Day.
So what are your options? If you have not been offered a place for your child at your preferred school there are routes you can take. You can appeal and put your child on waiting lists for any other school you have applied for.
The new year marks a fresh frenzy of parents desperately trying to secure a place at the best school for their children, waiting in anticipation for state Secondary offer letters out 1st March and Primary offers out 18th April.
In the UK we have become obsessed in securing a top state school place and the most popular schools have applicants of 10 or more for every available place. Parents are doing whatever it takes to get their children into their school of choice and at this time of year parents are riddled with anxiety, when did it become so competitive? I remember, like most parents, going to the nearby local school. Now it seems, the only foolproof method of guaranteeing a place is to move just a few feet away from the school! It is well-worth finding out your schools previous catchment area as certain factors can effect this distance every year, such as high birth rates and sibling intakes.