Mon 12 Apr, 2021

The Scottish Greens are set to propose an end to homework in primary schools, pointing to evidence that rather than helping to improve attainment, it can often have a harmful effect on younger children’s attitude towards learning.

The proposal, to be unveiled at the party’s manifesto launch on Wednesday, is part of a wider package of measures aimed at giving children more time and opportunities to play and socialise with friends after the pandemic. The Greens’ aim is to help children and young people catch up on the social development they have lost through a year of on-and-off remote learning and repeated lockdowns.

Research commissioned by the Scottish Green MSPs has outlined that homework in primary school can actually have a harmful effect on learning due to younger children’s lack of motivation for additional schoolwork. Further, research has also suggested homework can worsen inequality as it disadvantages children whose home environment makes completing it difficult.

Scottish Greens education spokesperson Ross Greer, said:

“Too often we see homework issued because that’s the way it's always been, so that's the way we expect it to be today. In reality, research has found that this often isn’t helping children’s learning and can in fact be deeply unhelpful. After a year full of remote working from home, the last thing children and families need once schools reopen is to bring even more work home. We know from research that this creates a negative association with school and learning from a young age.

“Moving on from a year of restrictions on meeting friends and playing together, we need to ensure that children are free to go outdoors and socialise, rather than stuck inside completing homework which isn’t actually helping them. This is no criticism of overworked teachers, who are regularly pressured to issue homework which only creates an additional workload burden for them. Ending homework in primary schools benefits everyone, pupil, family and teacher."

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