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Articles On Why Homework Should Not Be Banned Commercials

"The issue of homework can damage parents and children's relationships when trying to get it all done, and ends in tears all round."

The Government says homework is not compulsory but it is encouraged.

Guidelines for schools in England say five-year-olds should do one hour a week, rising to 90 to 150 minutes a day at 16.

They say 10 and 11-year-olds should be doing half an hour of homework every day.

However, research has cast doubt on its effectiveness, and has even suggested that too much is counter-productive.

The ATL heard how many schools failed to provide "proper feedback" after children completed homework because staff were over-worked.

In some cases, teaching assistants are asked to mark work, it was claimed.

At one school, pupils aged 10 and 11 were given six hours of homework over the Easter break in preparation for Sats in English, maths and science.

Pupils should be given the time to “play games with their friends and go out on trips with their families” instead of being forced to work, teachers said.

The ATL, which represents more than 160,000 teachers and support staff, also criticised the Government’s new “nappy curriculum” which they said would fuel bad behaviour among young children.

Under plans, all children under five are required to meet 69 targets covering areas such as numeracy and problem-solving.

But academics have already condemned the requirements which they said would push children into academic education before they are ready - harming their long-term development.

Teachers said the so-called Early Years Foundation Stage was leading to an increase in children throwing “tantrums”.

Angela Forkin, a school advisor and former nursery teacher from Wigan, said: “They are kicking out, they are fighting, they are refusing, sometimes having tantrums, hiding on the table.

“It’s simply because they can’t cope, they haven’t got the maturity to cope and they haven’t got the ability to express it. This carries on through the education system. They are switched off at four and they never become switched on again.”

Homework has always been a source of conflict: between parents and children ("Have you done your homework yet?"), children and teachers ("The dog ate my essay...") and teachers and parents ("Why has little Johnny not got an A for his project?").

The government maintains the arguments are worth it, recommending 45-90 minutes of homework every day for those in their first year at secondary school, rising to two and a half hours a day for older pupils.

But the UK's biggest school, Nottingham East academy, which is due to open in 2009 with 3,570 pupils from nursery age to 19, does not agree. The school has announced it will scrap homework and replace it with an extra lesson and more after-school activities instead. The only situations in which children will have homework will be for exam revision and coursework.

Meanwhile, Tiffin school in Kingston Upon Thames has slashed pupils' workload to 40 minutes a day.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers wants an all-out ban on homework in primary schools on the grounds it is counterproductive. But the Institute of Education and the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference of independent schools argue independent learning is vital to a child's development.

What do you think? Is homework a good thing or should it be scrapped?

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