Homework is known within Oakfield School as Independent Learning. Oakfield School defines Independent Learning as educational work or activities that occur outside of the normal school timetable, and that homework is valuable in motivating and extending the pupils’ ability to work independently.
To give pupils the opportunity to develop their basic skills where appropriate; most importantly in extending and enriching the curriculum. Many of our pupils have not enjoyed a positive educational experience prior to admission, resulting in low self-esteem and a feeling that no matter how hard they work they will not make progress. Some of them have experienced long breaks in attendance at any formal educational establishment or very erratic attendance patterns. Their ability to commit themselves to a structured curriculum is often impaired because of their many and varied negative experiences both in and out of school.
However, rather than seeing these issues as reasons for ignoring the potential for setting independent learning tasks, or not recognising the benefits, it is acknowledged that independent learning is an integral part of the whole process of providing a meaningful educational experience for all. It is accepted that incorporating homework into the whole learning experience is a desirable aim and subject leaders will foster the development of a culture where independent learning being issued is acceptable to both students and their parents/carers.
Independent Learning is an additional assessment opportunity and is recognised as such. However, it is important that Independent Learning does not become an added burden to pupils. Sanctions will not be imposed for non-completion of tasks, but rather they are rewarded for completing it. Independent learning is set on a weekly basis (handed to pupils on a Monday and due in before 9 am on the Friday) for core subjects (English and Mathematics) and one additional subject (on a 6-week rolling program).
Additional independent learning tasks maybe set:
- When it extends or enhances the learning experience
- When it offers opportunities for students to acquire or practice basic skills which enable students to fully access the curriculum
- At the request of students and/or parents.