Wednesday, 8 Feb 2023

Primary school children ‘need play time’ not homework – YOUR VERDICT

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TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp has claimed that primary school homework should be made “reading only” to help relieve the pressure teachers face. She said the removal of written homework could help to reduce the workload for teachers. Now, an Express.co.uk poll has found 58 per cent of readers support the scrapping of homework for primary school children.

The Location, Location, Location presenter shared her thoughts about homework for young children on Twitter. She said forcing her children to do their homework is one of her “greatest regrets”, and added: “The tears, the time together lost, for many families homework causes real, daily unhappiness to no good end.”

She also wrote: “Question, real question – not a reason for abuse please. How much difference would it make to a teacher’s working day if the Gov said ‘from now on homework is reading only, no more written homework that needs marking etc?’”

Irish President Michael D Higgins also thinks that there is no need for homework, arguing that schoolwork should be completed at school. He told a group of young journalists for RTE’s news2day show last week that pupils should not have to work after school hours, instead, they can learn through other creative activities.

He said: “I think myself, really that the time at home, and the time in school is an educational experience and it should get finished at school and people should be able to use their time for other creative things.”

In a poll that ran from 1pm on Friday, January 20, to 1:30pm on Wednesday, January 25, Express.co.uk asked readers: “Should homework for primary school children be scrapped?”

Overall, 1,044 people responded with 58 per cent (609 people) answering “yes” in support of no homework for primary school children.

Whereas 41 per cent (428 people) said “no” primary school homework should continue, and a further one per cent (seven people) said they did not know either way.

Dozens of comments were left below the accompanying article as readers debated the benefits and drawbacks of homework.

Many readers agreed with Ms Allsopp’s views towards homework, with username borderreiver writing: “Primary school children should not be given homework at all.”

Username coldste said: “It should be banned the kids do enough work during the day, then they have to spend what free time they have, doing even more.”

Other readers commented that reading and spelling are all that should be expected at home, like username Bunblebee, who wrote: “Other than regular reading and spelling primary children have no need for homework. Not to reduce pressure on teachers but to allow children to be children and enjoy their free time with imaginative play.”

Similarly, username Di.Rad said: “Yes, they need play time, they need to learn about their surroundings, have a bit of fun out of the school mode, happy children will learn more, look forward to seeing friends and be more relaxed at the end of school time, rather than stress about homework. Learning a few spellings over the weekend would be acceptable.”

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Meanwhile, some readers recalled their experience of primary school, arguing that the lack of homework did not impact their learning. Username tip said: “Didn’t have it in the Sixties and Seventies and had a far better education than children get today.”

Another, username TheMadTrapper wrote: “I grew up in the Fifties and we never had homework at junior school. Sometimes we were asked to produce a little story on what we did at home or play or even a story on a random topic but never did we have homework.”

Username Weskiwi recalled: Throughout my school times in the Thirties and Forties I never had a single minute of homework.”

And username tt84 commented on education today, writing: “My daughter is in primary school, we (the parents) are amazed at how much homework they get.”

However, other readers thought that homework was an important part of education and helped connect parents with their child’s learning. Username Bystanderfogey said: “Everything a child does at school in their earlier years prepares them for what is to come in later school years. 

“Parents should definitely be involved with their child’s education and I hardly think that doing a bit of reading, spelling and writing practice is hard on parents. Surely it’s a bit of quality time and a bonding time for parents and children.”

Likewise, username Dando said: “Definitely not. It is a time to learn the discipline of homework for later on and to have a shared experience with parents. It helps parents become involved and to better understand their child’s learning processes.”

Another, username PaulRack wrote: “15 minutes of homework in primary schools, up to half an hour, before starting secondary school. This will help the child solidify the day’s teaching, better information for the parents, bonding for the child and parent.”

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