Dear Department for Education,

A. Background information:
According to an article in the ''Key for School Governors'' (the national information service that provides governors with guidance, insight and instant answers to their questions on all aspects of school governance, see: ''Homework in Primary Schools'', source: https://schoolgovernors.thekeysupport.co... )

''Homework is NOT a statutory requirement A representative from the Department for Education (DfE) told us that it is not a legal requirement for schools to set homework, and parents are NOT required by law to make their children complete it....''

B. Questions:

1. Is homework a statutory requirement in primary school, yes or no? If yes, please include the link to the legislation in your response (just legislation, NOT guidance, policy, or any other conduct).

2. Are parents required by law to make their children complete homework in primary school, yes or no? If yes, please include a link to the legislation in your response (just legislation, NOT guidance, policy, or any other conduct).

3. If parents are NOT required by law to make their children complete homework in primary school, can they refuse this without fear of repercussions / disciplinary action for their children and themselves, yes or no?

4. If the reply to question 3 is 'yes' and the school policy includes sanctions / disciplinary action for failing to do homework, is this voluntary? Meaning: can parents effectively formally opt out of this part of the school policy, for example by informing the school in writing that they refuse to let their children be punished / disciplined for not doing homework in primary school?

5. Is it legal for schools to impose detention or isolation on children for failing to do homework in primary school, yes or no? If yes, please include the link to the legislation in your response (just legislation, NOT guidance, policy, or any other conduct) and clarify whether or not the DfE considers it REASONABLE to use detention or isolation as a sanction / punishment for failing to do homework in primary school, yes or no?

Yours faithfully,
Karin
(Karin Siemund)

MINISTERS, Department for Education

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ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

Dear Karin Siemund

 

Thank you for your recent enquiry. A reply will be sent to you as soon as
possible.

 

For information; the departmental standard for correspondence received is
that responses should be sent within 20 working days as you are requesting
information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. 

 

Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2018-0038268

 

Thank you

 

Department for Education

Ministerial and Public Communications Division

Tel: 0370 000 2288

 

A. Background information:

According to an article in the ''Key for School Governors'' (the national
information service that provides governors with guidance, insight and
instant answers to their questions on all aspects of school governance,
see: ''Homework in Primary Schools'', source: 
[1]https://schoolgovernors.thekeysupport.co...
)

 

''Homework is NOT a statutory requirement  A representative from the
Department for Education (DfE) told us that it is not a legal requirement
for schools to set homework, and parents are NOT required by law to make
their children complete it....''

 

B. Questions:

 

1. Is homework a statutory requirement in primary school, yes or no? If
yes, please include the link to the legislation in your response (just
legislation, NOT guidance, policy, or any other conduct).

 

2. Are parents required by law to make their children complete homework in
primary school, yes or no? If yes, please include a link to the
legislation in your response (just legislation, NOT guidance, policy, or
any other conduct).

 

3. If parents are NOT required by law to make their children complete
homework in primary school, can they refuse this without fear of
repercussions / disciplinary action for their children and themselves, yes
or no?

 

4. If the reply to question 3 is 'yes' and the school policy includes
sanctions / disciplinary action for failing to do homework, is this
voluntary? Meaning: can parents effectively formally opt out of this part
of the school policy, for example by informing the school in writing that
they refuse to let their children be punished / disciplined for not doing
homework in primary school?

 

5. Is it legal for schools to impose detention or isolation on children
for failing to do homework in primary school, yes or no? If yes, please
include the link to the legislation in your response (just legislation,
NOT guidance, policy, or any other conduct) and clarify whether or not the
DfE considers it REASONABLE to use detention or isolation as a sanction /
punishment for failing to do homework in primary school, yes or no?

 

 

 

References

Visible links
1. https://schoolgovernors.thekeysupport.co...

ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

Dear  Ms Siemund,

Thank you for your email of 25 September about school homework.

 

Parents are not required by law to make their children complete homework
in primary school. However it is good practice for schools to have a
homework policy that sets expectations, etc. and to have consulted on this
with staff, pupils and parents.

 

Where schools have sanctions where homework is not completed or completed
on time, this should be set out in their behaviour policy. All schools
have the right to impose disciplinary sanctions on pupils who fail to
follow instructions from members of staff. This means that teachers are
empowered by law to set homework that is reasonable in terms of volume and
difficulty and to impose disciplinary penalties on pupils who fail to do
it.

 

All schools are required by law to have a behaviour policy which outlines
measures to encourage good behaviour. 

The policy should set out the behaviour expected of pupils; the sanctions
that will be imposed for misbehaviour; and rewards for good behaviour.
This should be communicated to all pupils, school staff and parents. 
Maintained schools are required to place the policy on a website and make
the address and details of the website known to parents. While academies
do not have to place their policy on a website, it is good practice to do
so and they must make it available to parents on request. Teachers’
currently have a number of legal powers to manage pupils’ behaviour and
impose discipline including the power to impose detentions. However, It is
up to teachers to use these powers as they judge necessary, and for school
leaders and parents to support them in doing so. 

Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2018-0038268. If
you need to respond to us, please visit:
[1]https://www.education.gov.uk/contactus and quote your reference number.

As part of our commitment to providing a world class customer service we
recently joined the Institute of Customer Service (ICS), who are helping
us work towards becoming an industry leader in this area.

We need your help to identify what we are good at, and more importantly,
what we can improve on. Please follow the link below to complete the short
10 minute survey.

[2]https://www.tlfadmin.com/view-survey/dep...

 

Yours sincerely,

Olubukola Ogunleye 

Web: [3]https://www.education.gov.uk
Twitter: [4]https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
Facebook: [5]https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

References

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3. https://www.education.gov.uk/
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Dear Olubukola Ogunleye,

What you are saying contradicts itself and hence needs urgent clarification:

First of all, thank you for confirming that homework in primary school is NOT a legal requirement and that parents are NOT legally required to make their children complete it.

I am extremely concerned about the statement you made afterwards, quote: 'Where schools have sanctions where homework is not completed or completed on time, this should be set out in their behaviour policy. All schools have the right to impose disciplinary sanctions on pupils who fail to follow instructions from members of staff. This means that teachers are empowered by law to set homework that is reasonable in terms of volume and difficulty and to impose disciplinary penalties on pupils who fail to do it.'

You confirmed that parents are NOT required by law to make their children complete homework in primary school but continued to say that if schools put rules regarding homework in their behaviour policy it becomes a legal requirement / legally enforceable? The simple act of putting a rule into the school's behaviour policy, in line with statutory guidance (NOT law) changes the legal rights of the child / parent?

It follows that as long as they put it in their behaviour policy schools can corrupt / alter law?

It is my understanding that legislation is always above / trumps guidance and school policy, which means that schools can NOT legally enforce homework NOR impose disciplinary sanctions on children for failing to do homework (against the wishes of parents), even if it is in their behaviour policy.

Question: Can you confirm this please?

Yours sincerely,

Karin Siemund

MINISTERS, Department for Education

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Thank you for contacting the Department for Education, you will usually
receive a reply within 15 working days.

You can find out how the department processes your personal information by
reading our [1]Privacy Notice.

 

 

References

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ACCOUNT, Unmonitored, Department for Education

Dear  Ms Siemund, 

I apologise if you found my original reply confusing. I set out below
further clarification on what is in legislation alongside the Department’s
policy on this matter.

To clarify, there is no legislation which directly refers to homework,
which also means that schools are under no legal duty to set homework.
However, this does not mean that schools cannot set homework in the same
way as they set other work for pupils. Nor does it mean that teachers
cannot impose sanctions if pupils don’t complete homework or any other
work assigned to them.

In particular, Sections 90 to 92 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006
allow schools to impose what is termed a “disciplinary penalty” for
failure to follow their rules or reasonable instructions. As I wrote in my
original reply, this is what empowers teachers to set homework that is
reasonable in terms of volume and difficulty and to impose sanctions on
pupils who do not complete it. We would expect any sanctions to be fair,
proportionate, and to take account of the pupil’s age and any other
relevant circumstances.

The Department’s policy is that homework is an important part of a good
education and has a positive educational benefit. Homework that is planned
as an integral part of the curriculum gives children the opportunity to
practice and reinforce what they have been taught in class. It can also
promote parental involvement, for example through parents reading with
younger children and through this fostering a love of reading, and of
learning more widely. There are no official guidelines on setting
homework, but research evidence highlights the importance of the most
effective homework having a clear purpose; and good homework policies
focus on quality rather than quantity of time to be spent on it.

Finally, the Department’s view is that teachers are best placed to
determine what homework best supports children in their education, and
parental support is important if children are to gain maximum benefit.

Your correspondence has been allocated reference number 2018-0040729. If
you need to respond to us, please visit:
[1]https://www.education.gov.uk/contactus and quote your reference number.

As part of our commitment to providing a world class customer service we
recently joined the Institute of Customer Service (ICS), who are helping
us work towards becoming an industry leader in this area.

We need your help to identify what we are good at, and more importantly,
what we can improve on. Please follow the link below to complete the
short survey.

[2]https://www.tlfadmin.com/view-survey/dep...

Yours sincerely

Olubukola Ogunleye

Web: [3]https://www.education.gov.uk
Twitter: [4]https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
Facebook: [5]https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk

References

Visible links
1. https://www.education.gov.uk/contactus
2. https://www.tlfadmin.com/view-survey/dep...
3. https://www.education.gov.uk/
4. https://www.twitter.com/educationgovuk
5. https://www.facebook.com/educationgovuk