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Homework Policy




Homework can be of great benefit to pupils at all stages and levels of learning. It is the policy of St. Columba’s School to issue homework to pupils from Monday to Thursday. The policy is based on the following principles:

  • Preparation takes place in class.
  • Homework should be signed by a parent/guardian each night. This provides an informal link between the home and school on a daily basis.
  • Having a homework routine at home is very important. A quiet table and chair to work at, away from distractions such as television or telephone, is vital.
  • Time spent on homework should not be excessive. Where a parent/guardian considers that the child has made his/her best effort and is unwilling or unable to continue, the parent/guardian should sign-off the child’s work and indicate the time spent.
  • Tests should be signed by a parent/guardian when sent home to confirm that the parent/guardian has noted the results.
  • Some homework may require the parent to take the lead at home, especially in junior classes.

Types of Homework

As well as writing and memorising, homework can involve practical tasks. Some examples are given below.

Written homework

Written homework can include completing comprehension questions in English or Irish, or other areas of the curriculum, e.g., history, geography or science. Homework in mathematics usually involves completing computational or problem-solving exercises.

Practical homework

This type of homework is equally important. The time devoted to it and the eventual outcome can vary considerably, depending on what is needed. Children are often very motivated to complete these types of tasks.

Examples of practical homework include

        • interviews, researching – library, internet or other resources;
        • collecting items for science or art, making something (e.g., a cardboard construction;
        • music practice: singing or playing;
        • viewing a television programme for specific information or point of view.

Memorisation homework

Memorisation or learning-by-heart homework can often be completed in a very short space of time, but requires the support of an adult to check that the child has correctly learned the facts or to act as ‘audience’. This can entail the learning of tables in mathematics, the words of songs, hymns, poetry or lines in a play, or lists in context, for example counties of Ireland. Short items for memorisation can benefit from being ‘topped-up’ outside of normal homework times, for instance, while travelling to or from school.


Study homework

In senior classes, study skills such as locating information in a passage, finding the main points, or distinguishing between fact and opinion can form part of homework. Although children may not have ‘something to show’ at the end, these skills are very important for learning as children progress through school or college, and for lifelong learning.

Homework in all classes

  • Reading for pleasure or for information should always feature as part of homework, whether or not it has been allocated by the teacher. Reading to your child and listening to your child read can be of great benefit to the child’s progress in reading and overall learning.
  • Talking about school, home matters, incidental events in the neighbourhood or at a national level, explaining appropriate details in simple terms and inviting the child to express his or her opinion can aid language development and strengthen the bond between home and school.
  • Supporting the Catholic ethos of the school through talk and discussion on the Religious Education programme, saying prayers together or participating in the Family Mass helps the child to grow in faith in a meaningful way.

Completing homework

Rewards and Sanctions (This applies mainly in senior level classes)

Teachers may operate a reward system for pupils who are consistent in their efforts and application to homework. In general, and as a precautionary measure, where a pupil cannot offer a written explanation for incomplete homework on three or more occasions in succession, parents will be contacted.



The following outline of suggested homework should be taken as a guide, allowing room for flexibility where necessary.

Homework in Junior and Senior Infants Suggested Time: 5-10 minutes

  • Reading the "little books" sent home in the Book Bag
  • Revising sight words (word boxes)
  • Completing written exercises (senior infants)

Homework in First and Second Classes Suggested Time: 15-20 minutes

  • Spellings: English; Tables
  • Reading: English
  • Written work: Simple sums
  • Written work in English
  • Memorisation homework

Homework in Third and Fourth Classes Suggested Time: 30-40 minutes

  • Spellings: English and Irish; Tables
  • Reading: English and Irish
  • Written work: Mathematics
  • Written work in 1or 2 subject areas: English, Irish, or other subject area
  • Recorder practice
  • Memorisation homework

Homework in Fifth and Sixth Classes Suggested Time: 45-60 minutes

  • Spellings: English and Irish; Tables
  • Reading: English and Irish
  • Written work: Mathematics
  • Written work in some other subject areas: English, Irish, History, Geography, Science Recorder practice
  • Memorisation homework

Reviewed by Staff September 2018




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