PARENTS

Many UK Parents 'Would Welcome A Homework Strike' Like Spain, According To ChannelMum

How much time do you spend helping them?

03/11/2016 10:25 | Updated 03 November 2016

Parents in Spain are reportedly undergoing a “homework strike” because they feel their kids get too much work sent home. 

The Spanish Alliance of Parents’ Associations (CEAPA), a network that covers 12,000 state schools, said the strike will apply to weekend homework for primary and secondary students throughout November. 

According to Siobhan Freegard, founder of ChannelMum.com, many parents in the UK also feel their children are being set too much homework.

“A homework strike would be welcomed by plenty of parents in the UK,” she told The Huffington Post UK.

“While there’s no denying homework can be helpful and ensure children understand and absorb what they’re learning in school, we’re not getting the balance right.”

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A 2012 report by the OECD found children in Spain spent 6.4 hours a week on homework, amounting to a third longer than the average of children in other countries. 

Jose Luis Pazos, president of the CEAPA, said parents felt the amount of homework was “detrimental” to children and their extra-curricular development, according to The Local Spain

If weekend homework is set during November, parents will send in a note excusing their child for completing it, The Guardian reported

Freegard believes children in the UK are also set too much.

“On ChannelMum.com we’ve heard from infant parents who are given three pieces a night for five-year-olds - maths, literacy and reading,” she explained.

“This is too much at an age when children get tired easily and should be playing and enjoying their all too brief childhood.

“Junior children are frequently saddled with two or more hours each weekend while at secondary we’re hearing of kids getting two hours a night, stopping them doing out of hours clubs or socialising with friends.

“Education is important but we need to foster a love of learning and genuine curiosity about the world - not browbeat children into rote learning from textbooks. We need to homework smarter, not longer.” 

Mumsnet CEO, Justine Roberts, believes parents’ opinions are split on the topic of homework.

“Some parents on Mumsnet want more homework; some want less; some want none at all,” she said.

“Independent learning is a hugely significant skill, and many agree that homework can help older pupils to learn it; it’s less clear that six-year-olds should be falling asleep in their dinner while their parents stress about an unfinished spelling sheet.

“And homework that isn’t marked or returned can be hugely demotivating for children (and indeed - if you’re a bit over-involved - for the parents).”

The news comes just months after a school in Essex announced in September 2016 that it was stopping “traditional” homework and would be giving children the option of whether to complete work outside of school hours. 

Teachers at Philip Morant School and College, in Colchester, now ask students to choose if they want to take part in homework schemes called ‘Prove It+’ for Key Stage 3 and 4 and ‘Independent Study Tasks’ for those in Key Stage 5. 

In a letter sent to all parents and carers, the school explained the new schemes will encourage pupils to take “greater responsibility for their own learning”.

“We know that traditional homework is not working for the majority of our students,” Principal Catherine Hutley told The Huffington Post UK at the time.

“This new approach allows us to more carefully track and monitor students both academically but also against skills critical for their lives ahead.” 

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