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Last Updated: Friday, 21 January, 2005, 12:15 GMT
Head scraps homework 'dinosaur'
Pupil writing
Homework is history
A secondary school head teacher has abolished homework for all 12-year-olds, saying it is an outdated "dinosaur".

Pupils at St John's in Marlborough, Wiltshire, are being encouraged to "manage their own learning" instead.

Head teacher Patrick Hazlewood believes homework is a repetitious chore which generates more work for teachers.

In a related project, he has also scrapped subject teaching in Year Seven (11 to 12-year olds).

Homework is an essential part of a good education
Department for Education and Skills
Dr Hazlewood says he wants to make schooling more "relevant to life in the 21st century".

He wants to "get away from the imposition of homework, a product of 20th century education" and allow children to embrace their 21st century "learning journey".

He told reporters: "The National Curriculum is very much like a dinosaur. It served a purpose at the time; it filled the notion of the `job for life'."

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph Dr Hazlewood said: "The time has come to let sunshine flood through the classroom window and place the learner at the centre of all endeavour."

Essential

Dr Hazlewood's radical approach is based on a scheme devised by the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), which rejects the notion that a teacher's job is to transmit a body of knowledge to pupils.

The RSA is working with dozens of schools in England on similar projects, designed to give pupils a love of learning.

St John's School and Community College is a technology college with 1,450 pupils, aged 11-18, 250 of them 12-year-olds.

Under what the school calls its alternative curriculum for 11 and 12-year-olds, subject teaching has been replaced with "cross-curricular projects", where various subjects are incorporated into a project on a particular topic.

The school believes its approach will boost standards, because children will be more keen to learn.

Its website says that in its pilot phase, children who followed the alternative curriculum in Year Seven performed "significantly better" in national maths and English tests than those who followed a traditional curriculum and that their behaviour was also better.

The Department for Education and Skills (DfES) says homework is an "essential part" of a good education.

A spokesperson said: "A good, well organised homework programme helps children and young people to develop the skills and attitudes they will need for successful, independent life long learning."



SEE ALSO:
Pupils 'stressed' by homework
07 Oct 03 |  Education
Major reform of teen schooling
17 Oct 04 |  Education


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