Homework contract at five

Children as young as five could be covered by formal homework contracts setting out their obligations, the Government said this week.

Launching its latest homework guidance, education junior minister Charles Clarke said schools will come under pressure to adopt contracts for the majority of parents and pupils.

There is no legal compulsion to use them, he said, but failure to do so may bring criticism from the Office for Standards in Education.

All schools must produce the contracts from September 1999.

The Government guidelines, published earlier this year, recommend at least 10 minutes of homework a day for five-year-olds, rising to two-and-a-half hours at GCSE level.

Education minister Estelle Morris said: "Parents have a right to have written down what is expected of them and what they can expect from their child's school."

Nigel de Gruchy, leader of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said he was concerned schools were being required to take over more responsibilities of the home.

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