Maroubra Junction Public School Homework Policy

At Gymea Bay Public, parents are being surveyed about their attitudes towards homework, reasonable tasks for homework, how much homework is enough and what a school policy on homework should include.

A recent OECD report found that students in Australia's private schools do two hours' more homework each week than their public school peers but their results were are no better once socio-economic advantage was taken into consideration.

The NSW Department of Education allows schools to decide their own homework policies and unlike other states, does not have recommend times for homework, although it does suggest that homework not be given in kindergarten.

In Victoria, schools are told the early primary years (prep to year 4) should not be given more than 30 minutes a day and none on weekends, while older primary students should be given no more than 45 minutes homework a day.

In a research document attached to its homework policy, the NSW department points to evidence that says homework in primary school does not necessarily improve results.

"Most researchers conclude that for primary students, there is no evidence that homework lifts academic performance," the document says.

Education academic Mike Horsley, who co-wrote the book Reforming Homework, said there was a "fair degree of difference" in how parents and teachers valued homework.

"For some parents, homework presents specific challenges in the modern lifestyles, so with the changes in the workplace and living arrangements, more traditional types of homework presents challenges and in some cases these challenges have turned into a fair bit of family conflict," Professor Horsley said.

"There is a fair bit of research that says homework doesn't have a great contribution to learning as measured by standardised tests but that does not mean we should abandon homework.

"We argued in our book that homework should be reformed and be much more aligned to how learning should occur."

The French president Francois Hollande has said he wants to ban homework for children aged under 11 but Professor Horsley said he would not support this.

"We say in our book that we should not ban homework because it is important for kids to get themselves organised and manage their own learning, but if it is hours and hours of drill and practice, then we would not support that," he said.

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Alexandra Smith is the State Political Editor and a former Education Editor at the Sydney Morning Herald

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