Dear Parents and Carers of Year 10 and Year 11 pupils,
We would like to take this opportunity to clarify expectations and opportunities regarding homework.
Homework is an important part of learning because it helps to consolidate and extend pupils’ knowledge and deepen their understanding. Pupils in Year 10 and Year 11 at Cottenham Village College are expected to do at least 1.5 hours of homework per evening Monday to Friday, and usually no more than 2.5 hours on any one evening. In addition to tasks set by subject teachers, particularly if pupils say they ‘have no homework’, this time should also be spent revising topics they have already studied in class, checking over work from lessons, proof-reading for accuracy, checking spelling, punctuation and grammar and making sure that the work makes sense and is completed to a good standard.
We encourage and expect all pupils to spend at least half an hour reading each evening and we know many of them do much more. Regular reading of fiction and nonfiction at the appropriate level has a significant impact on pupils’ progress in school; staff are happy to suggest appropriate texts for your child and lists of recommended texts are available on the school website and from the school library.
We do not operate a rigidly fixed homework timetable; homework is set when it most effectively supports learning, ensuring it is purposeful. Nevertheless, each subject area will set the equivalent of approximately one hour of homework per week, often more for core subjects; most subjects set a weekly task, including revision tasks, whereas some set tasks over a fortnight or longer. The specific approach taken by different subject areas is outlined at the end of this letter.
If your child does not have sufficient homework on a particular day, and has already checked over their work, then please encourage them to spend time revising areas of study. Pupils testing their own knowledge, such as with simple quiz-style tests, is a very effective way of revising. Teachers will recommend resources (such as revision guides and online resources they have created) and activities to support them in doing this, if they have not done so already. Activities from educational websites such as mymaths.co.uk, for which pupils already have a login, or BBC GCSE Bitesize, which has resources and quizzes for most curriculum areas, can also be helpful. There are also resources for some subjects available via the school website, created by the staff for specific courses, which pupils can get access to if they log in to the ‘Moodle’ (www.learn.cvcweb.net).
Failure to do homework will result in sanctions, which might include lunchtime or after-school detention. Should your child require help with homework, they should contact the relevant subject teacher as soon as possible. A supervised homework club is available twice a week at lunch times (Tuesdays and Fridays in ICT 2) and the library is also available during break times, lunchtimes and after school (apart from Thursday). On Mondays the school runs a free after-school minibus to take pupils home at 4.30pm. Please note that spaces are limited and are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. The minibus takes pupils to the following villages only: Landbeach, Waterbeach, Rampton and Willingham. In order to use this service, pupils who already have parental consent to use the minibus need to fill in a slip to reserve a seat, in Student Services, either before school starts or at morning break on each day they wish to use it.
It is hugely beneficial to pupils’ learning when families support their children with their homework. Here are some suggestions of how you might help your child to be successful with homework:
1. Agree a routine for homework with your child. You might agree to start homework after a short break on return from school so that the evening is left free or you might agree the activities that will need to be planned around slots for homework;
2. Be available to help and offer guidance (but not ‘do it for them’); this might include discussing some areas of learning to help check their understanding or helping them to revise by testing them, especially when they are preparing for assessments and exams;
3. Ensure that homework is done regularly and in a timely way to avoid build-up. We know that many pupils take part in a number of different activities after school and in the evening, and we understand that this sometimes means managing the timing of homework carefully, including doing homework at the weekend. Please help them to maintain a sensible balance between social life, studying and other commitments;
4. Look at the planner regularly to check homework is complete, read messages and sign it once-a-week;
5. Provide a calm, quiet space to complete homework, free from distractions such as TV, mobile phones or the internet.
If your child does not have access to the Internet or to a computer outside school, please let us know so that we can ensure that the homework set is appropriate.
If you have any issues or concerns about your child’s homework, please contact their form tutor.
Ryan Nash, Assistant Headteacher