Thursday, February 6, 2014

Dear Parents, Caregivers and Friends of St Mary’s School,
Welcome back to the 2014 school year. I hope that everyone has enjoyed a restful holiday and
has come back rejuvenated for another busy school year.
Over the next few weeks a number of programmes will begin and outings and celebrations are
scheduled. Please remember to check the calendar of events to ensure that you are aware of all
these happenings.
Last year we consulted on the topic of homework—this is a subject that always delivers a wide
range of opinions. For every academic study that insists that regular homework leads to contin-ued academic success, you can find one that insists that homework doesn’t achieve the antici-pated academic results.
At St Mary’s we believe that some amount of homework is necessary to: reinforce the learning
done at school, to prepare for future learning and to act as a link between home and reinforcing
the concept of being life long learners. But we also believe that homework is counter productive
if it causes unnecessary stress. There of course comes a time when the pupils needs to accept
100% responsibility for their learning (usually in senior secondary school). Mainly due to the fact
that the topic material becomes to specialized. My son (Year 13) was doing quadratic equations
last night and he was able to complete a number of them before I could have done one!
But we feel the most important aspect of homework is not the content but the attitude developed
in continuing school learning at home.
One important study from the United States shows that the work done at non-school times, eve-nings, weekends and holidays is what leads to academic success. It is not about volume of work
it’s about being positive and continuous and modelling that learning (reading, writing, maths etc)
is valuable.
We recognise of course, that there will be times when homework can’t be done, a note or email
is helpful as it removes any chance of confusion.
As part of our ongoing parent information programme we will be holding an information night
later in the term to outline more fully our expectations with regards homework at the various
levels in our school and also to offer some ideas on how to make homework fun.
As well as welcoming all of our returning pupils back we would like to offer a special welcome to
the following pupils: Olivia Clydesdale to Room 1, Kate Jordan to Room 5, and Emma Jordan to
Room 6.
Have a great year
Mike Brosnahan

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