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Last Updated: Tuesday September 23 2008 10:10 GMT

Kids let off hours of homework

Girl doing homework

A head teacher at a top school in London has cut the amount of homework kids have to do, saying too much could put them off learning.

Pupils at Tiffin boys' school in Kingston used to do up to FOUR hours a night - but now they only have to do 40 minutes.

Schools in England don't have to set homework.

But government guidelines say children should be given it from the day they start primary school.

The guidelines say 10 and 11-year-olds should be doing half an hour of homework every day, and older children should do up to two-and-a-half hours.

As well as doing 40 minutes a night of homework, pupils at the school in London have to do 20 minutes of things like music or sport.

Kids walking
Years five-six: 30 minutes
Years 7-8: 45 to 90 minutes
Year nine: 1 to 2 hours
Years 10-11: 1.5 to 2.5 hours

Head teacher Sean Heslop said staff at the school had spent two years looking at the way kids were being taught before they took the decision to cut the amount of homework being set.

He said: "The self-discipline of going away and sitting by yourself and doing work is obviously a good thing, but we didn't need to do four hours of it.

"The boys absolutely love it. But there has been a mixed response from parents," he added.