Reading school teacher Jenny Thom praised online for setting pupils ‘best homework ever’

Teacher orders pupils to 'smile, eat Haribo or ice-cream, spend time with people you love, and laugh until your tummy hurts'

Aftab Ali
Student Editor
Wednesday 11 May 2016 08:17
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The weekend homework, pictured, Jenny Thom gave to her students
The weekend homework, pictured, Jenny Thom gave to her students

A teacher at a school in Reading has been receiving praise from social media users across the world after a weekend homework assignment she set her pupils went viral.

The letter given to students was reportedly sent by teacher Jenny Thom to her Year Six pupils at Bucklebury Primary School before the beginning of the Sats tests on Monday.

In it, Mrs Thom instructs her class to “please complete as many of these activities as possible” over the weekend.

The letter then details a list of activities which pupils must “tick to say they have been done,” including smiling, eating Haribo or ice-cream, spending time “with people you love,” and laughing “until your tummy hurts.”

A footnote at the end reads: “REMEMBER - Mrs Thom is in charge of worrying - you don’t need to. You are all amazing and I couldn’t be more proud of you.”

Posted by the Eyfs Matters (Early Years Foundation Stage) Facebook page, in just three days, the image of the letter to the ten and 11-year-olds has received over 75,000 likes, almost 70,000 shares, as well as attracting thousands of comments.

In a statement from the school, headteacher Andy Higgs said the prep set for the Year Six pupils recognised the “enormous amount” of hard work and dedication invested by children passionate about learning.

He added: “It also reflects our beliefs about education and the recognition that outcomes from tests at 11-years-old do not dictate who you are or who you might become.

“We absolutely recognise the value of assessment. It is at the centre of excellent practice in schools. What children value is understanding where they are, what the goal is, and guidance on how to close the gap.”

Around 600,000 ten and 11-year-olds sat their Key Stage Two English reading paper on Monday.

Advice on how to deal with exam pressue

The letter has come at the same time Sats tests have been receiving widespread criticism for being too difficult.

Parents and teachers reacted with anger on Tuesday over a “ridiculous” test so tough that children were said to have been reduced to tears.

A spokesperson for the Department for Education said: “The 2016 reading test was developed in the same way as the sample test. Trialling of the 2016 test showed that the difficulty of the paper was broadly similar.”

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