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It's all their own work

Budding novelists, TV presenters and thespians have been discovered after a Welsh school decided to ditch homework.

Stricter parents raised more than a few eyebrows after Michael Griffiths, head of leafy Cardiff high school, told them of the school's plans for "ownwork". But they have been won over after seeing their teenagers motivated by a fresh approach to home learning.

Under the ownwork scheme, the pupils are allowed to choose their own research projects. It gives pupils more freedom to explore subjects they are interested in and come up with original work within a deadline.

They are allowed to present their ownwork as they choose - whether it be by PowerPoint presentation or by drawing a poster. Jude Brigley, English teacher and head of teaching and learning, said it also meant pupils had more time to pursue extra-curricular activities, such as sport and music.

Some of her pupils have also started writing their own novels. "I asked pupils to write their own story under the heading 'Labour of love'," she said. "One pupil presented her work in a spoof historical-style book complete with pictures. Another used a CD-Rom.

"Pupils often used to say they were doing other things also important to their development, such as sport. Now they can manage their own time, they are coming up with some masterpieces."

Mr Griffiths said textbook homework, where pupils were given a tedious task at the end of lessons, had done nothing to encourage independent learning.

"Ownwork is a way of making work completed at home interesting and fun, and something the pupils could be really proud of."

Parents were invited to meetings at the school last summer after the plans to scrap traditional homework were announced.

Mr Griffiths said many parents resisted the change because homework was seen as a necessary chore. But they were now overjoyed with their teenagers' enthusiasm, instead of having to listen to their moans.

Cardiff high recently hosted the fifth Learning to Learn Together Conference, attended by education, lifelong learning and skills minister Jane Davidson.

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