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Penshurst Primary School

WEEK 16 - Friday 14 January 2022

This week we have been talking in school about homework and how best to ensure that it meets the needs of our children. It is such a controversial topic at Primary School as parents really are split 50/50 in any survey we send out about the use/amount/type of homework that is given to children. I have yet to meet a sample of parents who all agree on this topic! We seem to fall in line with most of the local schools in focusing on Reading, times tables and spellings as these underpin everything else we need to cover in school.

We have come to the general consensus that little and often is the way forward concentrating on the basics. We currently ask that the children read for 10 minutes every day as part of the School Pledge and after talking to the children we have decided to send out Reading records again to record three of these sessions. Children have told us that they enjoyed being ‘Reader of the Week’ and getting penguins for reading. This will be in place after half term.

Children in EYFS, Year1 and some of Year 2 bring home books matched to their phonic ability and these match the scheme we use in school: Read Write Inc. These books are incredibly expensive though so please ensure your child is returning the book each week. In KS2, children bring home books that match their reading level and choose their own book from our library.

Alongside the reading homework, we set the online Times Table Rockstars to help the children master this area of maths. In Year 4, pupils are required to take a national multiplication test and this online homework will really help them to achieve good results in this test. All children from Years 2 - 6 now have a Times Tables Rockstars login. Research shows that five minutes of practice every day on the website or app increases their recall speed of times tables and having the ability to recall their times tables from memory improves Maths knowledge. By the end of Year 2, pupils are expected to know their 2s, 5s and 10 times tables. By the end of Year 3, pupils are expected to know their 3s, 4s and 8s, and by the end of Year 4, pupils are expected to know all times tables up to 12 x 12.Challenges have been set by your child's teacher so please log on and practise as and when you can!

Finally, there are spellings to do! We have slightly altered the spellings as we will now be sending out the ‘Penshurst 30’ spelling list. These must be achieved in order to move back onto the more difficult spelling sets on Purple Mash. The reasoning behind this is that these words are the most incorrectly spelt throughout every year group and it is so important that we fix this issue. Year 1 will continue to have spellings that match their phonic learning.

I know what many of you will be thinking… How on earth do people fit this all in?  As a busy working mum of two I completely understand the juggling act. Remember most children from Year 3 up can manage this on their own so it is mainly our youngest learners who need the support the most. I certainly don't have all the answers but I used to use car trips to their dance and sporting clubs to go through spellings or listen to them read while I cooked dinner. I suppose it is about finding that 5-10 minutes where you can and sometimes multi-tasking has to be the answer.

Our main priority is that whatever the pupils are set for homework makes a difference to their learning in school. If you are having any difficulties with completing or accessing the homework, please talk to your class teacher or any of our subject leaders in school. 

Have a lovely weekend.

Mrs J Spencer

Head of School

Dates to remember:
SEND Pop in day (optional)                                  Thursday 27 Friday 28 January 
Jorvik Y3 trip                                                          Monday 31 January
Parents Evening                                                     Monday 21 Wednesday 23 March