Page last updated at 01:00 GMT, Saturday, 1 November 2008

Pupils ditch traditional homework

Sidlaw View pupils and guardians
Parents and guardians will be urged to help with the homework tasks

Traditional weekly homework is being scrapped at a Dundee primary school.

Instead, pupils at Sidlaw View will be given challenges to complete across the whole of the term.

They are also getting homework packs containing pencils, rubbers and rulers, so there is no excuse for not completing the tasks.

It is hoped the new system will allow youngsters to become more responsible for their own learning and encourage parents to get involved as well.

Before the end of this term, pupils will be expected to complete six challenges.

For example, primary six, who are studying the Victorians, will be asked to press flowers and make a Victorian-style bookmark for their art project.

Their health task will involve writing down six ways in which Victorian homes were more unhygienic than their own.

Primary one pupils will still have to practice their reading sounds at home each week, but their challenges include visiting the local library to look at picture story books and studying the night sky once a week for a month to draw pictures of the shape of the moon.

Pupils with homework packs
Pupils will be given homework packs containing pencils and rubbers
Other pupils may be asked to go for a walk and pick up five types of leaves then identify which trees they are from.

Sidlaw View depute head Audrey Cox said: "There are six challenges from now 'til Christmas, so it's putting an emphasis on independent learning for the children.

"So if somebody wants to go and do six challenges this week that's fine, but if it takes them longer to do it then they've got the time.

"It's important that the children are working with their parents and the parents see the importance of homework and so do the children.

"Also socially as well, it's nice at the end of the day to sit down with your child and maybe do an activity like this."

Gold award

If the pupil completes all six challenges they will get a gold award certificate, it is a silver for four tasks and a bronze for two.

Parents have been down to the school to hear about the new way of working and try out some of the tasks themselves.

They have been listening to music and then drawing a picture of what the tunes made them feel, they have visited the library where their child has read to them, and they have walked round the playground to hear what their youngster's favourite area is.

Dundee City Council education convener Laurie Bidwell said: "I am very pleased to see Sidlaw View taking a very imaginative and innovative approach to encourage pupils.

"Good practice that is ongoing in our schools should always be highlighted and this is a great example of a school looking to new ways of doing things to improve achievement."

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