More than a third of parents do not think homework is helpful for primary school children, report finds

Vast majority of parents say Ofsted should inspect levels of private tutoring in schools to get accurate picture

Eleanor Busby
Education Correspondent
Monday 19 March 2018 19:08 GMT
Third of parents do not think homework is helpful in primary school
Third of parents do not think homework is helpful in primary school (PA)

More than a third of parents do not think homework in primary school is helpful to their children, a report suggests.

Homework is a “huge cause of stress” for many families – and for children with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND) it can be detrimental to their health, feedback to Ofsted says.

The majority (72 per cent) of parents said they believe prep at school – allowing pupils’ time to plan and get ready for lessons through research – would be a better alternative to homework.

Ofsted’s annual report on parents’ views has been published just days after a study revealed that parents in the UK give their children less help with their education than those in most other countries.

“It [homework] causes more unhappiness and arguing in my house than anything else,” one parent said.

The survey, of more than 300 parents, also revealed that children with SEND can find the stress homework causes “overwhelming” and damaging to their health and self-esteem.

In total, more than a third of parents (36 per cent) said homework was not helpful at all to their children in primary school, while 12 per cent said it was not helpful in secondary school.

In September 2016, Philip Morant School and College, a secondary school in Essex, announced it was going to ban all homework in a bid to allow teachers more time to plan lessons.

The annual report, published today, also reveals that the majority of parents (52 per cent) believe that Ofsted should inspect the level of private tutoring in schools to give a more accurate picture.

“Parents […] felt that high levels of private tutoring could reveal weaknesses in the education provided by schools.

“Typically, their view was that private tutoring could inflate exam results and, by monitoring it, inspectors would get a more accurate reflection of the school,” the report says.

However, parents who said that the level of private tutoring should not be considered during an Ofsted inspection considered the choice to be a private family matter which can occur for a number of reasons – including coaching for the 11-plus entrance exam for grammar school.

Many parents also expressed concerns about practicalities around collecting the information.

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