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School Principal
Mr. Garrett Buckley
Deputy Principal

Ms. Stacey Guinan

Homework Policy 2018/2019



Gallen Community School is a caring and Christian Community, committed to quality and excellence in education and central to this is our motto “Creideamh agus Cultur”.  In this environment of faith and nurturing we aim to share with parents the spiritual, moral and intellectual formation of their children.  We pursue an educational programme, which is broad, balanced and challenging.  We pursue a pastoral care system, which encourages self- esteem and promotes a sense of personal and social responsibility.  Our goal is the informed student who prizes truth, appreciates the value of learning and is mature and honourable.


This policy applies to all our students and is underpinned by the school’s Code of Behaviour and Strand Three of our SSE with Homework being the focus of our SIP for 2018-19.


Homework Policy Statement

Gallen Community School aspires to “pursue an educational programme, which is broad, balanced and challenging.” (Mission Statement).  Homework is an essential part of the school curriculum requiring a co-operative effort on the part of the student, teachers and parents. Gallen Community School regards homework as an essential part of a student’s education.

The rationale for developing a Homework Policy is to inform the school community of the school’s position regarding homework and to promote uniformity and consistency in the approach to homework. Gallen Community School believes that homework plays a pivotal role in the provision of a meaningful educational experience.

The self-discipline required to complete a homework task should be fostered from the beginning of first year ( if not already in Primary school) and continue throughout all stages of secondary education. Student Journals should contain a record of all work to be carried out at home and its correct use leads to vastly improved time management and organisational skills. These journals provide a link between parents/guardians and teachers and this correspondence via the journal is essential.

The four types of homework outlined in this policy encourages students to work independently and engage in self-assessment and reflection. Homework also benefits the teacher as he/she can readily access the progress of each individual student and recognise potential problems at an early stage. Homework set by subject teachers will be challenging and purposeful and enhance student motivation. It should be coordinated, regular, marked promptly and followed with relevant feedback.

Aims of Homework

  • To enhance the educational experience through the provision of a broad range of purposeful homework tasks.
  • To foster self-discipline and self-motivation in the student, which will be beneficial throughout their school career and develops the key skill ‘Managing Myself’.
  • To engage in self-assessment and reflection as part of homework.
  • To consolidate or extend work carried out in the classroom.
  • To create a meaningful link between teachers, parents and students, through journal correspondence.
  • To develop an understanding of school journal entry, deadlines, and time management, therefore increasing organisational skills.

Definition and Types of Homework

Definition of Homework:

Homework may take several formats, it is not restricted to written work. Homework is subject based work assigned by a teacher, for completion by a student, alone or with others, outside of class. It may include among others; oral, aural, written, reading, practical research, reflections, portfolio, performance, project work or revision.

The importance of regular homework and an effective study routine from day one of secondary school cannot be over-emphasised. The term ’Homework’ can often be interpreted as written exercises only but it is much more than that. It involves learning, regular revision and preparation for examinations.

A wide variety of homework assignments are set by teachers and include:

  • Learning, Projects,
  • Research
  • Writing reports
  • Essay writing
  • Vocabulary
  • Reading
  • Drawing/painting
  • Designing and making models, home furnishings etc.
  • Using the internet for research
  • Music practice
  • Oral practice
COMPLETION Any work assigned during the school day not completed in class Helps students keep up to date with the classroom program and complete homework as explained by teachers as per SIP. The classroom program should be differentiated if a student has completed homework on a regular basis. (Assessment for Learning) Viewed by teacher, understanding checked as a priority.  Self-management tracked, time required for completion.  
PRACTICE Any work that reviews and reinforces skills and concepts taught in class. Helps students practice newly acquired skills. To be effective, practice homework requires student to already be able to independently perform the skills required. (Assessment for Learning) Viewed by teacher, to check for understanding, self-management tracked. Individual feedback is given (can be verbal).  
PREPARATION Any work that prepares students for upcoming lessons or classes. Encourages students to acquire background information or to bring their prior knowledge and experiences to upcoming units of study. Short preliminary readings or topic specific vocabulary practice in preparation for new material, review of ideas from previous lessons needed for upcoming work.   (Assessment for Learning) Self-assessment and initiative by student. Feedback is provided if required.
EXTENSION Any work that explores and refines learning in new contexts or integrates and expands on classroom learning. Encourages students to problem solve, think creatively and think critically. To be effective, extension homework does not require a student to learn curriculum content independently.  Instead, students deepen understanding and relate learning to the real world.   (Assessment for Learning) Work reviewed and corrected by teacher.  It is tracked, and feedback is provided as per SIP.

Aims and Objectives

  1. To teach students the skills needed to learn and study effectively, in class, at home and for their life-long learning.
  2. To ascertain the students’ strengths and weaknesses.
  3. To promote positive interaction between the students, teachers and parents.
  4. To teach students how to study individual subjects.
  5. To teach students how their homework should be presented.
  6. To instil in them a sense of pride in the homework that they produce.
  7. To reinforce the material that has been covered in class.

How Homework Develops the Key Skills of JCPA

All types of homework set by subject teachers foster the development of the key skill ‘Managing Myself’ and depending on the nature of the assigned task develop a selection of the key skills of the JCPA. Key skills are activated in the classroom and further consolidated through homework.

Managing Myself: Homework tasks encourage students to work independently. This key skill helps students to understand themselves both as individuals and as learners so that they can develop personal goals and plans. It also helps them develop strategies to make considered decisions, to take action and to reflect on their progress.

Communicating: Homework helps students develop good communication skills using a variety of media. As well as developing literacy skills it also develops learners’ confidence in communicating, expressing opinions, writing, making oral presentations and presenting. 

Being Creative: Homework tasks enable students to develop their imagination and creativity as they explore different ways of doing things and of thinking. Students’ learn to stay with challenges or tasks to completion and to learn from their assigned homework.

Working with Others: Homework may be completed alone or as part of a group e.g. pair or group project work, drama performance, using ICT for a group presentation.

Managing Information and Thinking: Homework tasks may involve gathering, recording, organising and evaluating information and data. Homework also promotes student self-reflection and fosters critical thinking.

Staying Well: Homework tasks in some subject areas may develop some of the 6 Indicators of Wellbeing and our Wellbeing programme aims to foster happy, confident, responsible and resilient students who feel connected to Gallen Community School.

Being Literate: Homework develops literacy by encouraging students to write/read/speak for a variety of purposes, to express ideas clearly and accurately, and to explore and create a variety of texts, including multi-modal texts. Homework assigned which promotes literacy helps students to develop their understanding and enjoyment of words and language.

Being Numerate: Homework tasks may involve students expressing ideas mathematically 

Estimating, predicting and calculating. Students’ develop a positive disposition towards investigating, reasoning and problem solving. Homework linked to numeracy may require students to see patterns, trends or to gather, interpret and represent data. 

Role of the Student
All students are required to complete their homework to an acceptably high standard and on time. In the case of written homework, homework must be neatly presented and completed according to each teacher’s guidelines .

  • Each student must have his/her homework journal with them every day and all homework must be recorded.
  • Students are expected to put in a very good effort with their homework every night and can use some of the idea’s teachers demonstrate for study i.e., mind maps, note taking, flashcards etc.
  • Students are expected to bring home school bags each evening.
  • Regular times should be set each evening for homework, study and revision.
  • Homework should be carried out in a quiet room away from distractions.
  • Students with SEN in mainstream and students in the Cluny Centre will be assigned differentiated homework in line with the knowledge their teacher has of their SEN and their Individual Learning Plans.
  • Forgetting to bring homework in to school is considered as non-presentation of homework .
  • It is the responsibility of the student who miss class for a school activity or a school event to attain the homework assigned for the class and complete it that night.
  • We prefer if homework is not completed during class time. If a teacher is aware of an absence due to a school trip /sports, work in the subject area is left by the teacher for students to complete in class time.

Teachers’ expectations and role

  • Teachers will set purposeful, well planned homework which is designed to assist each student in reaching his/her full potential.
  • As per SIP for 2018-19 Students will be given specific instructions about their homework and will be given a specific time for presenting it. The time allocation will depend on the task being set.
  • Adequate time will be given to take down homework at the end of the class or at the start depending on the Learning Intention.
  • When assigning homework teachers will consider the student’s age, ability, time available to the student and the number of subjects being studied.
  • Teachers will monitor and correct homework.
  • Teachers will communicate any concerns in relation to homework to parents, initially through the journal and, where necessary  by letter or a phone call home.
  • Teachers will explain the sanctions involved if homework is not fully completed and handed in when it is due. If the problem persists the teacher will initiate a written or verbal action plan with the student ( and may include a parent) which will be targeted for an agreed time period  and then reviewed.

Role of the Parent/Guardian

  • Parents/Guardians should familiarise themselves with the school’s SIP on homework and monitor the homework journal every night and take an active part in ensuring that all homework is completed to the highest possible standard.
  • Parents/Guardians should provide suitable study facilities for the student – ideally a quiet place where the student can study away from distractions.
  • Parents/Guardians should encourage regular time for study in advance of school and state exams.
  • Parents should familiarise and support this school policy on homework
  • If parents/guardians have any concerns they should, at the earliest possible time, communicate with the school through the journal or by making an appointment with a teacher by telephoning the office.

Non-Completion of Homework:

  • A student that has a valid reason for non-completion of homework must have an explanatory note from a parent/guardian dated and signed in her journal. The student must show the note to all relevant teachers.
  • Students who do not have their homework fully completed and on time may be required to complete extra homework for the next subject class.
  • A note will be written in the journal by the subject teacher.
  • Persistently not completing homework will result in parents being contacted by subject teacher and a meeting may be arranged.
  • Sanctions e.g. detention after school when three instances of non-compliance are recorded in journal including homework.

Homework Guidelines for Parents:

Based on our experience of work rate for various groups, the following is a guideline for study/homework for each of the year groups:

  • First years = 1.5-2 hours
  • Second years = 2-2.5 hours
  • Third years = 3-3.5 hours
  • Transition years = Ongoing completion of reflections in journal and a guideline of one hour per night to keep up with assignments and homework.
  • Fifth years = 3-3.5 hours
  • Sixth years = 3.5 -4 hours. An additional 3-4 hours should be done at weekends.

Note: Extra time may be needed before exam times, or when projects are being completed.


Support can be made available to any student who is having problems with his/her homework. It is therefore essential that the school is made aware of any matters arising at the earliest possible stage so that problems can be dealt with as soon as possible and any difficulties can be addressed. The first help is given by the class teacher but the Guidance Counsellor can also meet with students who wish to make an appointment to discuss issues relating to homework and /or study. Students may also be referred to the Guidance counsellor by the teachers, the pastoral care team, parental request or senior management. 

Supervised Study

Supervised Study is available to all students and takes place Monday and Tuesday from 4pm to 6pm and Thursday and Friday from 4pm to 6pm. It constitutes of a quiet supervised room where students can do homework and/or study. There is a small fee payable for this facility. Supervised Study programme begins in September and continues for the duration of the school year. Students register for supervised study in September for the first term, in January for the 2nd term, and in April for the third term. All relevant information about supervised study is communicated to interested students in September of each academic year. In 2018/19, a homework club currently runs one evening a week.

Monitoring of homework and Evaluating the Homework Policy:
The key criterion will be the extent to which the policy is contributing to the progress students make at school in relation to homework and their attitudes to learning. Success criteria will be measured by:

  1. Are students using their Journals to record homework or work done in class?
  2. Are students managing to complete their homework?
  3. Is the written homework showing improvement?
  4. Is the quality of written homework being presented improved?
  5. Do students have a better knowledge of course material?
  6. Is the incidence of incomplete homework, or a failure to produce any homework, reduced?
  7. Are parents/guardians, students and teachers satisfied with the effectiveness of the policy?

Consultation & Communication of this policy:

Teachers, students and parents’ opinions have been considered in drafting this policy. A copy of the updated policy or main points from it, will be placed in Students Journals in Sep. 2019 for students and parents to refer to. A recommendation from the Parents Association members who reviewed this policy is that a copy is given to all parents of first years at the annual meeting at the end of September.

It is listed on our website and a copy is available from the school on request.

Review procedures

  • This policy will be reviewed every two years; next review date will be Spring 2021
  • Teachers, Parents Council and Student Council will be consulted during each review process
Reviewed Nov 2018- Feb 2019
Ratified at BOM meeting 26th Feb 2019
Next Review Date 2020/2021