Homework Policy


The school has a commitment to a homework programme.

The nature and extent of homework varies with subjects and age groups and while it is difficult to exactly quantify the amount of homework to be expected by a child in a particular year group and the time required to complete that, it is accepted that some outline guidelines must be offered to pupils and parents.

It is anticipated that the homework should increase as pupils progress through the school, but it is recognised that the good habits of homework require to be established at an early stage.

It is accepted that there will be peaks and troughs in homework issue.  These relate to a variety of factors including topics overtaken in class, time of session, recognition of other demands on pupils etc.

Homework is not normally set for school holidays although home project work may reasonably be carried on into holidays at any age level and senior pupils will be expected to utilise at least part of Christmas and Easter holidays for self-study programmes in preparation for examinations.


1.1 The school supports in principle the issuing of homework to pupils for a number of reasons and purposes.  These may be summarised as follows:

  1. to help pupils make more rapid progress in learning.
  2. as an extension or re-inforcement of classwork or a preparation for future classwork.
  3. to allow access to resources not available in schools.
  4. to encourage skills and confidence in working independently.
  5. to encourage the discipline and responsibility of private study and working to deadlines – the training of pupils in planning and organising their own time.
  6. to allow assessment of pupil progress and mastery of work.
  7. to foster interest and enquiry in pupils.
  8. to allow parents the opportunity for direct involvement in their children`s work for mutual benefit.


In most classes, where subject matter is appropriate, it is anticipated that regular homework will be set.  It is not unreasonable to expect weekly homework in certificate classes, and indeed at `Higher` level weekly homework or self-study is considered essential to success.

Homework will vary to a degree according to subject but may involve any of the following:

  • set exercises from sheets or textbooks
  • project work
  • observation and recording
  • research for later class work
  • writing up, or completion of, classwork
  • learning vocabulary, formulae, spelling
  • study in preparation for class work or assessment
  • watching and noting from a T.V. programme
  • reading to enhance knowledge, understanding and experience

Opportunity should be taken by staff and parents with due regard to the time guidelines offered below to promote informal pupil homework.  This might be done through encouraging private study and research on topics developed in class even where specific homework is not set, or through more open-ended project-type work where greater responsibility is assumed by the pupil.


There are a number of reasons why it is difficult to be definitive on the time demands of homework

  1. Although departments will be expected to set homework which suits the ability level of the individual child it is still an impossible task to say how long it will take any individual to complete it.
  2. Staff  must have some flexibility in responding to learners needs in the classroom and this will inevitably effect the planned pattern of homework.
  3. Frequent use of `finishing off` classwork is not seen as good practice in the issuing of homework as this tends always to `punish` the least able and the very conscientious, but there will be an element of this in some areas and this is difficult to quantify.
  4. Different pupils demonstrate differing degrees of conscientiousness to the detail of homework and this affects time spent on it.
  5. Different subjects have clearly differing needs and opportunities for the setting of homework, often resulting in a pattern which is uneven across the term.

Despite the difficulties of the above it is appreciated that parents often wish some guidance on the recommended time which might be expected.  The figures below are therefore offered as sensible averages but are not to been seen as prescriptive.  Aside from the peaks and troughs of allocation, parents will be alert to other pressures on their children`s time – family/social etc. – and will wish to take this into account in supporting the homework pattern.

The figures below are expressed as per week and represent a suggested minimum time in an average week in order to develop good study habits.

 S1/S2  minimum of approx 3¾ hours per week on average

 S3/S4  minimum of approx 5 hours per week on average

 S5/S6  The demands of the Higher Course require a minimum of around 1½ hours per week on each subject area – i.e. 7½ hours per week on a full 5 Higher course for an S5 pupil.

These study times do not relate to examination preparation when it would be anticipated that additional time would be necessary.


Parents must play a significant part in developing good homework and study habits and in encouraging pupils’ interest and awareness in their wider environment.  Parents are encouraged in this role through the school prospectus.

Parents must also –

  • check that the Homework Diary is being regularly and properly used by their child;
  • encourage good time management in their children such that an established position is given to any homework in the child`s out-of-school routine;
  • try to assist their child`s homework through the provision of suitable working conditions at home – a quiet area with appropriate space;
  • take a positive and active interest in what is being done rather than simply insist that it is done;
  • encourage productive use of homework time even when homework has not been formally set by the school e.g. Reading programmes, project work, research, appropriate T.V. programmes;
  • communicate with the school on any problems which relate to homework, through your child`s Guidance or subject teacher.



All subject departments are expected to have a written homework policy, developed from this all-school statement and having taken into account points raised herein.  This should be consistent with statements made in Sections 1, 2 and 3 of all-school policy as well as the following aspects of Departmental policy (5.1 to 5.5).  In addition it should

  • promote a positive ethos towards homework and develop high expectations in pupils and staff.
  • give guidance to staff on minimum department expectations on homework in terms of the setting, nature, and marking of homework.
  • provide a clear statement to pupils and/or parents including expectations, types of homework and likely time demands at each stage.
  • indicate an integrated programme of work from S1 to S6 including pre-planned elements in common across the department.
  • include a clear sanctions policy for homework defaulters.
  • actively foster the use of Homework Diaries.

Departments will incorporate appropriate type and variety of homework at the planning stage of new units or when reviewing courses.


Where major home-based projects or assignments are part of a homework programme, departments must take steps to try to ensure that the timing of this is sympathetic to other pressures on pupils.


Homework must be attainable and differentiated according to pupil ability.  Differentiation may involve

  • the setting of different tasks or the same tasks at different levels
  • awareness by teachers of the time taken by individual pupils to complete work
  • varying levels of support provided by the teacher
  • differing expectations

Teachers should, where possible, and where made aware of pressures, take account of homework set by other teachers and consider other commitment which pupils might have in negotiating deadlines.  Deadlines should be realistic, and major homework tasks should not normally be set for next day.  It is accepted that certain subjects will give next-day work as part of a planned programme but the time demands of this must be realistic and adequate time must be given for longer tasks, many of which will be structured to give interim deadlines.


Departments are expected to build appropriate formal homework into course materials. 

Departments are expected to integrate at least some of this into the Department’s Reporting Policy and to offer separate feedback on this to pupils and parents.

Homework need not form an integral element of a department’s assessment programme although it is recognised that homework can offer opportunity to assess mastery of skills or knowledge in certain areas and departments may wish to take advantage of this opportunity.


From the pupil point of view it is extremely important that time spent on homework is acknowledged through appropriate staff response – comment, marking etc.  It is not always possible or desirable to mark all work in depth, particularly where staff have a high pupil-contact factor, but as part of long-term strategy departments should design a programme with this problem in mind.

Marked work should be returned to pupils as soon as possible and feedback offered.


It is important that homework is handed in on time.  It is an important part courses;  gives valuable experience in working to deadlines and makes the processing of homework by staff so much easier.

In order to develop a positive ethos towards homework and develop high expectations in pupils and staff, it is important that a clear, fair policy is strictly applied; and that pupils recognise this.

If homework is not handed in appropriate action will be taken:

  1. an explanation will be sought from the pupil.  The class teacher will retain a record of pupils failing to hand in homework.
  2. persistent or unacceptable excuses for non-return of homework will lead to sanctions at department level – these will be outlined in the Department policy statement.
  3. parents will be informed of persistent problems with homework through a pro-forma letter available to all departments. 
  4. certificate pupils who fail persistently to complete homework assignments will receive formal warning in relation to their continuation on that course and/or at that level.  Guidance must be involved at that point and parents will be informed.  (Ref. Appendix ‘B’).  This can ultimately lead to non-presentation of that pupil for the examination system, which in the case of a senior pupil could lead to removal from school.
  5. an additional interim sanction available at senior school level is loss of privileges – free time/study time/signing out/access to Common Room/ Self-certification of absence.  This would be addressed through Guidance staff involvement.


P.T’s will be expected to monitor implementation of the Homework Policy at department level and to evaluate the contribution of homework to the department`s courses.

Senior Management will periodically monitor the homework demands upon sample pupils in different year groups and evaluate the effectiveness of the all-school Homework Policy.


At the start of each session Form teachers will issue all pupils in S1, 2 and 3 with a Homework Diary in which they will be encouraged to record their homework tasks and to develop disciplined homework habits.  Diaries will be available for sale to S4/5 and 6 for those who wish to continue to use them as their method of recording homework.

Initial issue to S1, 2 and 3 is free.  Replacements for lost or heavily damaged diaries will cost 80p.

Subject teachers in S1, 2 and 3 will develop a ‘drill’ to ensure that each home task set is noted in diaries by every pupil.  They should also ensure that S4, 5 and 6 have an appropriate system for the recording of homework in their subject.

Form teachers will develop similar routines for the noting of e.g. forthcoming school events, holidays, changes of timetables.

Form Teachers of S1, 2 and 3 will also make regular inspections of diaries, discuss homework with pupils and liaise with Subject Teachers on homework matters where necessary.  About once per month (perhaps more frequently during the 1st term) Form Teachers should sign the diaries as evidence of such scrutiny.  Form teachers of S4, 5 and 6 should ensure that pupils have some system of recording homework.

Subject or Form teachers should refer to Guidance staff any pupils in S1, 2 or 3 who habitually fail to use diaries correctly or fail to produce their diary on request.

Parents should also check diaries regularly and not less than weekly.


In order to encourage good homework and study habits in S1/2, a lunchtime study facility is made available to all S1/2 pupils, staffed by volunteer staff, where pupils can do homework or simply find a quiet, pleasant working environment for private study.  This will be announced to both pupils and parents.