Secondary home learning 2023-2024

Aylesbury Vale Academy (AVA) places strong emphasis upon the importance of home learning.  We know that high quality home learning plays an integral role in adopting a blended learning experience for students: learning that integrates educational technology and media with traditional class-based and teacher-led learning.  High quality home learning activities will lead to a variety of positive outcomes.  These include:

  • Encouraging students to develop independent learning and study skills
  • Enabling students to spend more time on tasks than would be possible in lessons and therefore to produce work in greater detail
  • Providing an opportunity for students to practise and consolidate what they have learned in lessons
  • Preparing students for future lessons, assessments, examinations and the world beyond school

AVA utilises Microsoft Teams to set all home learning tasks.  This is a platform that all students access throughout their time in school and they should all be familiar with it.

Principles Underlying Home Learning Policy

The AVA Taxonomy of Learning underpins all home learning activities

Home learning is issued to all year groups, in all subjects and to all students. It is also desirable that all tasks are differentiated and adjusted to suit the learning needs of these students.

Feedback on completed home learning will be frequent, praising success and constructive about next steps or improvements.  Use of peer and self-assessment and/or the use of automatically marked activities are encouraged, though there will be times when some work is difficult to mark, such as general revision for upcoming examinations.  The use of the Assesment Policy’s SIR feedback structure is not required for every home learning task but should appear at least once during each topic covered. 

The overarching principle is to provide a variety of home learning in order that it is always planned, meaningful, stimulating and purposeful.

There is no blanket policy on home learning which applies to all the year groups and subjects in the school. Instead, Curriculum Leaders have established systems in setting home learning which enable students to make the best possible progress in their subjects.

However, there are some patterns which you can expect to see. Firstly, home learning will be set frequently. In many subjects it is likely to be set on a weekly basis, although this will vary due to the fact that students have more lessons per week in some subjects than others. Secondly, the quantity of home learning will increase as students progress through the school. At KS3 it is likely to be around 45 minutes per night on average. For Year 9 students it will be around 60 minutes per night, with an increase to about 90 minutes per night in Years 10 and 11.  Home learning will also become increasingly challenging as students get older.

At KS5, the amount of work students will undertake independently outside class time will be considerable. Students need to take responsibility for this themselves. A rough rule of thumb would be to do at least one hour of revision, research or preparation independently for each hour of taught time.

We have a policy not to set home learning across holiday periods for Key Stage 3 students and only the minimum needed for coursework or exam preparation for Years 10-13 over the holidays. We recognise that family time is precious and we want our students to rest and enjoy creative, cultural and sporting activities during the holidays.

With all this in mind we have a shared responsibility when it comes to home learning:

Teachers will:

  • set home learning when it is appropriate and purposeful
  • be clear about the purpose of the home learning task and how it will support student learning
  • use the Assignments feature of MS Teams to log details of the task, using clear and accurately written instructions that include when the task is due, in what format it should be submitted and where any support matierals can be found
  • provide appropriate feedback according to this policy
  • where appropriate, set home learning activities that are differentiated, inclusive and varied
  • praise and reward students for excellent efforts when it comes to the completion of home learning activities
  • provide appropriate and incremental sanctions to students who fail to complete home learning adequately or who fail to hand it in on time.  Detentions set for failure to complete homework should incorporate a Restorative Justice process that facilitates the student being able to complete/catch-up on home learning.

Curriculum Leaders will:

  • oversee the home learning processes in their areas.
  • ensure that home learning is set as per the requirements of this policy and features on medium-term plans
  • support staff in their areas who are issuing sanctions for non-completion of home learning, including discussions with students, parents and other staff
  • ensure Year 10 have adequate and suitable provision for their Independent Study sessions
  • work with their SLT line manager to quality assure staff adherance to the policy and identify next steps for improving the quality of home learning provision

Parents are encouraged to:

  • Assist their child with planning and organising their home learning
  • Provide their child, where possible, with a suitable learning environment in which to complete their home learning, without distractions
  • Discuss home learning tasks and teacher feedback with their child to encourage conversations about learning
  • Contact the class teacher or Curriculum Leader if they wish to discuss any concerns or issues
  • Contact the Achievement Director if they have concerns about access to MS Teams at home

Students should:

  • use MS Teams to check the home learning which has been set each day and to ensure they understand what they are required to do
  • make use of a planner for logging homework if asked to do so
  • allow adequate time to complete their home learning to a standard that reflects their understanding and best efforts
  • stick to the timing guidance from their teacher and if they exceed this, to write down the amount of time it took
  • where possible, find a quiet environment to complete their home learning
  • take initiative for their own learning exploring and developing their understanding beyond the tasks set

Pastoral Teams will:

  • discuss with students what home learning has been set and encourage completion within form periods
  • use MS Teams reports to monitor the engagement of students in their year group with home learning
  • discuss with curriculum areas and/or parents any issues that may arise