Littletown Primary Academy replaces homework with reading

Child reading. Picture: Getty Images

Child reading. Picture: Getty Images - Credit: Getty Images

Regular reading is “the foundation that underpins all other learning” and benefits children’s development more than written tasks

A Honiton primary school has stopped giving pupils written homework, and is encouraging them to read for at least 20 minutes a day instead.

Littletown Primary Academy is trying out the change with all pupils except for Year Six between now and the end of the academic year.

Headteacher David Perkins said the decision was based on educational research and consultation with parents, children and staff.

His message to parents explaining the change said the research showed that weekly written maths and English homework have little impact, can cause stress to families, and are not always valued by staff.

On the other hand, spending 20 minutes reading at home every evening is the single thing that has the most positive impact on pupil outcomes and life chances.

Literacy subject leader Cathy Binmore said: “Reading is the foundation that underpins all other learning. Promoting a love of this will set our children up for a life of adventure and intrigue, and will enable them to continue learning throughout their lives.”

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The research also found that the best maths homework children can do is practising their times tables, and they will be encouraged to do that at home too.

Littletown Primary Academy places mental wellbeing high on its agenda, and the change from homework to reading and times tables is part of its whole mental health strategy. The change is aimed at reducing teachers’ workloads as well as taking the pressure off children and their families.

The school has launched a fundraising campaign to buy new books for its library.

Mr Perkins said: “Reading for 20 minutes a day can make a massive difference to a child’s education, but only if we can give the children the best possible books to inspire their love of reading”.

“We want to reinvigorate our library with fresh and exciting books to read.”

The school children will be taking part in a sponsored read in conjunction with the children’s publisher Usborne between Monday, Dec 3 and Monday, December 10. All the money raised will be used to buy library books and Usborne will donate a further £360 worth of books for every £600 raised.