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The Vote: Should homework for kids be scrapped?

Teachers at a national conference in Liverpool this week think so....

Published on April 9th 2009.


Teachers at a conference in Liverpool have called for homework for primary school children to be scrapped, saying it is a waste of time for everybody involved.Homework, frequent testing and the introduction of the Government's "nappy curriculum" for early years classes have provoked criticism that nursery and primary schooling in England has become too formal and produces stressed children.

This is leading to three and four-year-olds throwing tantrums in class because they are being forced to learn to read and write too early, say teachers at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers conference being held this week at the BT Convention Centre.

The Government says homework is not compulsory but it is encouraged. Guidelines for schools in England say five-year-olds should do one hour a week, rising to 90 to 150 minutes a day at 16.

But, said teachers yesterday: "Homework in the primary school is a waste of children's and teachers' time which could be spent much more profitably on effective learning both in and out of the classroom."

Critics, however, say the UK has bred a nation of underperformers for too long, and if we are able to meet the challenges set by highly educated nations such as Germany and Japan we must up the ante.

Down the line, they point to the record breaking GCSE and A-Level results in recent years, which are the pay-off for more intensive academic study in the early years.

However, research has cast doubt on its effectiveness, and has even suggested that too much is counter-productive with some children “stopping learning at the age of four”.

Parents with chaotic lives haven't got time for it, and pupils should be given the time to “play games with their friends and go out on trips with their families” instead of being forced to work, teachers said.

What do you think? Is all this homework and intensive study backfiring and leading to a nation of asbos, scary hoodies and Daily Star readers, or will it one day put the Great back into Great Britain? Are you a stressed teacher or parent and is this really the last straw.

Go ahead, vote on the homepage!

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20 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Angry victimApril 9th 2009.

The little ba****ds should be seen and not heard. Too many wooly liberals and their thinking afoot here!

Miss Clarke B.A.April 9th 2009.

A 'kid' is a baby goat.

PH DeeApril 9th 2009.

Does B.A. stand for big arse?

Miss Clarke B.A.April 9th 2009.

Dee! Stand in the corner for the remainder of the lesson! We shall have no bad language in this classroom!

Dr. GrimstoneApril 9th 2009.

I see we have Beelzebub in our midst! Miss Clarke, would like me to take this wretch outside and give him the flogging he so richly deserves?

AnonymousApril 9th 2009.

I take it you won't be "getting down with the kids" at the Quadrant Park reunion rave tonight. I thought I might...

Miss PApril 9th 2009.

Children should not have to do homework. I send the usual raft back at the start of every year, with a note attached saying "no homework please".

elkie r.April 9th 2009.

Homework is outdated idea of victorians who were thinking it was important. it is just an excuse for bad teaching who dont have the skills to teach properly and make kids retane information.good teacher would have skills to make us learn more and not have to take unnecessary exams all the time in schools.

Hard-Pressed Tax PayerApril 9th 2009.

I see that the teachers are demanding a 10% pay rise - at a time when others are taking pay cuts, losing their jobs and homes, and they want to do less work (i.e. homework). But then we remember that Mike 'horror' Storey is a teacher and it starts to make a perverse sense.

Mr. QuelchApril 9th 2009.

"Elkie R." needs to go back to primary school if that is her standard of written English: poor punctuation, bad spelling, dear oh dear!

Maggie BroonApril 9th 2009.

Miss P. I really think you ought to consider the wishes of your husband before you flatly refuse to co-operate with the school over your child's education. Your arrogance is astonishing. You ought to be fined like the criminal parents who condone their children's truancy.

DigApril 9th 2009.

Aaaah Wednesday afternoons in my last year at school. 'Sports afternoon' with options. My friends and I opted for snooker which took place at the local club. I'm still no good at snooker but an expert at sitting in the park drinking cheap cider. That's what I call homework. I passed every time.

Alistair GriggApril 9th 2009.

I blame the parents.

Charlotte StreetApril 9th 2009.

'Private study' indeed. It's the schools and teachers ducking out of their 'in loco parentis' role and letting the children go on the rampage in our parks, city centres and amusement arcades.They need a 10% CUT in salary for doing this.

The DoctorApril 9th 2009.

Elkie R. needs some history lessons about the Victorians. They didn't have homework, their children had a very rudimentary education before they went up chimneys or into some other dangerous, unpleasant and low-paid occupation. Well-off public schoolboy had 'prep' but they didn't take it home with them.

Rusty SpikeApril 9th 2009.

When I was at school homework was a 'given'. Oh, and a casual, offhand cheeky smirk would result in a clip around the ear from any passing teacher. Anything remotely further into impertinent territory, much less disruption and wholesale mayhem, ended up with a severe caning. Corporal punishment might well be off the agenda in schools and academic joint, but the example to young pupils and elder students of the police battering protesting marchers, or the government handing down murderous assaults in foreign lands, surely belies the morality that 'hitting is wrong' - and must be a tad confusing for the poor wee beggars in the classroom who think they can get away with anything; then when they leave school suddenly the harsh reality hits 'em (quite literally) that life can be a real bag o' feckin nails. Cane the ba****ds and be done with it... and ply them with homework 'till their eyes blur and their fingers bleed. Victorians indeed - they rampaged around the world battering three kinds of hell out of everyone else - and as The Doctor says, they didn't even have homework. So get to it....

oggyApril 9th 2009.

Why bother with homework?, it is pointles. Wikipedia will provide any answers and all the work is done for u.More subjects like socioligy and media studys are needed for these are importatn in this modern world we are liveing in.

YawnApril 9th 2009.

I see that attitude has got your understanding of literacy everywhere, Oggy.

AnonymousApril 9th 2009.

It's quite astonishing, isn't it?

zzzzz-carsApril 9th 2009.

What a tit!

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