Tens of thousands of parents sign petition calling for an end to excessive homework

Madrid mother, who started the petition, gets support from secondary school teacher who wants to ban homework altogether

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The Independent Online

Tens of thousands of people have signed an online petition calling for the regulation of "excessive amounts of homework" given to schoolchildren in Spain.

The campaign was started by Madrid mother, Eva Bailen, who began to see the effect up to three hours of homework a day was having on her 10-year-old son.

Ms Bailen – who has two other daughters at the same school – said her son, Diego, began showing signs of stress after spending so much time trying to keep on top of his homework.

She said: “The problem in Spain is that the burden of homework is up to each teacher.

“If he [Diego] doesn’t finish it – the following day at school – he is not allowed out to play.”

Her campaign even attracted the support of a vocal secondary school teacher, Alfonso Gonzalez, who wrote to Ms Bailen, telling her: “I've done loads of homework for my daughter and I don't regret it.

“I did it because I wanted her to have a happy childhood and 10 hours of sleep at night. I would argue that, thanks to that, my daughter is now a healthy teenager and a great athlete who loves to read.”

“I believe homework is nonsense,” he added.

Where Ms Bailen’s petition is calling for the regulation of homework in Spanish schools, Mr Gonzalez wants the campaign to go a step further – and ban it altogether: “What a child needs to learn during primary education can be learned during the hours that he is at school,” he explained. “Homework is for secondary school.”

Jose Miguel Campo, who is a member of the Professional College of Education of Madrid, accepts that there is, indeed, a lack of consistency across classrooms, but still believes homework is essential for a child’s learning.

He said: “Personally, I believe it is important to develop the capacity of doing work at home and I don't think that six hours a week is excessive.”

Ms Bailen’s petition is currently 36,000 signatures away from reaching its goal of 150,000 supporters.

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