Parents back extra homework

A spot survey of Hillhead High parents has revealed that Labour's plans to set more homework may strike a popular chord. Almost four out of ten parents of fourth-year pupils at the Glasgow secondary were in favour.

The survey, carried out by Surinder Bhopal, a home-link and biology teacher, showed 34 per cent think there should be more homework and a further 6 per cent believe there is not nearly enough. Only 3 per cent think there is too much. But 57 per cent say current levels are adequate.

In contrast, only 20 per cent of parents of fifth and sixth-year pupils thought there should be more homework. Pupils following Scotvec modular courses in S5 tended to do less. No subject stood out because of excessive homework or the lack of it.

Mr Bhopal comments: "Parents seemed much more satisfied with levels of homework in Higher courses than in Standard grade course and increases in levels of homework in S4 could help to raise motivation and achievement in this year group and consequently in S5 and S6."

The survey set out to poll views of parents' evenings but concluded that 66 per cent thought their child was doing very well or quite well, while the remainder thought their child should be doing better.

Parents were generally satisfied with how test marks were reported and the brief accompanying comments. The vast majority of parents were content with the number of parent evenings per year, with 88 per cent satisfied or quite satisfied. The larger turnout at the S4 meeting - there is only one a year - made it more difficult to organise and 39 per cent of fourth-year parents and 23 per cent of fifth and sixth-year parents wanted more time with subject teachers.

Mr Bhopal says: "A solution to this may be to ask parents to be punctual for appointments and for staff to restrict time with parents. It is understandable that parents may want further information at what is a very important stage in their child's schooling and those parents who wish to make further contact could perhaps be encouraged to do so by making appointments during the school day."

Ken Cunningham, Hillhead's headteacher, said the survey had become a standard part of parents' evenings for the whole school.

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