Monday, 22 September 2008

Old Skool

Tiffin School in the national press regarding its new homework policy. The story in The Telegraph, The Times, on the BBC, and finally in The Londonist blog - apparently written by an old Tiffinian.

I've not been home long so I need a bit of time not thinking about homework, school and education, but definitely watch this space to see my opinion.

Oh, and for those not already aware, three of the contibutors to this blog used to attend Tiffin School. I'd be interested to hear their views, along with those of anyone else of course.


Hanspan said...

I think it's a brilliant idea. I don't recall having much homework at primary school, beyond learning spellings (admittedly in French and English).

But I was one of those terribly swotty kids anyway. I did extra-curricular activities after school every day of the week pretty much, learned three musical instruments and easily stayed up til midnight doing homework a lot of the time anyway. Though that's because I never used to start it until about 8 and procrastinated LOADS.

But I think it's a good idea because it'll let people study as much as they want to. And enrich themselves as much as they want to. And those that can't be assed will have only themselves to blame rather than overworked and underpaid teachers.

In terms of the different reports, I like the Times one best, because they appear to have done some further research on it (comparing it with the Brighton school), though for all I know they could just have combined two different press releases.

Dragging this back to journalism, as I always do, compare, dear readers, the similarity between the reports. The quotes from the Headmaster are identical. Yes, they have done something unusual and it may broaden the debate on education in this country, but ultimately it's all very good publicity for them as well. Well done Tiffin PR department.

TheTelf said...

I remember having a fair amount of homework at both primary and secondary, but never really felt it impinged on my extra-curricular activities (possibly because I had few enough that it didn't matter).

I'm interested that they're reporting that the 40-minutes a night rule will extend up to year 11 - it seems like without the prompting of homework, a good number of kids will leave it till the last minute to understand the course and end up doing badly in their GCSEs.

I fear under these rules I'd've come out of school with worse grades (whether that would necessarily have been a bad thing or not is a debate for another time), but I'd be very interested to see how the scheme pans out for Tiffin. If it encourages more kids to find a passion for independent learning, then that's certainly a good thing.

As usual, I have no real idea where Hannah's coming from with the cynical PR angle. Quite how you could publicise a scheme this in a way that didn't give the school publicity, I'm not sure. Or is and article giving an institution publicity automatically suspicious, regardless of context?

Anonymous said...

I was originally going to edit my entry, but seeing as there's already been a couple of relatively lengthy comments on this entry, I thought I'd follow suit.

In terms of the grammar school tradition, and particularly the Tiffin ethos, I can see this working out for the school. Tiffin has incredibly high results, and its student body is made up of the type of pupils who will benefit from extra curricular activities and "watching nature documentaries" (it's been a long time since Mr. James has been in a comprehensive, isn't it?) alongside a comparatively lighter homework schedule. Many pupils I encounter every day would simply take the opportunity of less homework to do whatever they wanted to do which would certainly not include personal educational pursuits. And that is one of the most basic reasons why the education system is in place - because the vast majority of pupils would not become educated unless they had to. Not because they don't want to, but because they cannot see the benefits of education at that age. There are certainly aspects of my education that I didn't appreciate until well after I had experienced them.

So well done to Tiffin for being forward-thinking and demonstrating the direction many teachers would like the education system to head in. I don't see my school following their lead however, as the system would almost certainly fail.