It would be impractical to fine parents for bad homework

Sir Michael’s suggestion that parents should be punished if their offspring fail to do their homework properly falls at the first hurdle

Share

Childhood is a subject on which everyone can have an informed view, based on personal experience, including the Chief Inspector of Schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw.

The infant Sir Michael may have been a model child, and his parents diligent in their pursuit of his education. He may never have “left his homework on the bus” or pleaded that “the dog ate it”.  Or perhaps not. At any event, many of us will recall homework with a degree of distaste, and remember the stubborn resistance we displayed to knuckling down to work. 

So Sir Michael’s suggestion that parents should be punished if their offspring fail to do their homework properly falls at the first hurdle; sheer practicality. How could the authorities determine what happens in the privacy of a family home on any given evening? How could they reasonably judge whether recalcitrant child or neglectful parent, or both, was at fault? What possible punishment would deliver the necessary improvement in behaviour? 

By contrast, the Education Secretary Michael Gove’s promise of “stronger sanctions” if parents fail to ensure their children attend school and behave properly is practical, if harsh, as it may mean in extreme cases deductions from benefits. These are areas where parents can and should exert control, in a way that they cannot ensure high-quality homework.

It is true that teachers have to spend more time nowadays than they should compensating for failures at home. After a decade of New Labour’s “education, education, education” reforms, and a further four years of Mr Gove’s not-so-quiet revolution, much has been achieved in classrooms. It is right that the Chief Inspector of Schools should seek to turn our attention to what happens at home; but he should have done a little more homework.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Trust Accountant - Kent

NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

Geography Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: randstad education are curre...

Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: You must:- Speak English as a first lang...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Randstad Education Group: If you are a committed Te...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: There's a crackle in the Brum air

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Obama has admitted that his administration underestimated the threat posed by Isis  

Syrian air-strikes: Does the US have the foggiest idea who their enemy is?

Kim Sengupta
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style