A Dundee teaching union boss has called for schools to scrap their “one size fits all” approach to homework.
David Baxter, who is the local representative for teaching union EIS, believes there is merit in letting head teachers of primary schools decide on whether or not their youngsters should have to take work home.
It comes after Dundee councillor Laurie Bidwell — Labour’s spokesman for education — called for a review of the way homework is dealt with in the city.
And it follows on from a school in the Highlands banning homework after a vote by parents and pupils.
Mr Baxter told the Tele: “The Attainment Challenge adviser for Education Scotland has done some research that has suggested homework is a great tool in secondary schools but not so much perhaps in primary schools — so there is a question over its effectiveness there.
“But, crucially, EIS thinks let classrooms decide the method of teaching and not politicians.
“We are best placed to decide if homework is suitable or not, depending on the individual children and situation. It shouldn’t be a mandatory policy across the board. It should not be a ‘one size fits all’ approach.”
Inverlochy School in Fort William scrapped homework earlier this month after 80% of pupils and more than 60% of their parents voted in favour of the move.
Mr Bidwell encouraged the council to “take notice” of the decision, adding: “I’m not suggesting that we abandon homework as a council policy, but that each of our schools review its value and place especially in the early primary years.
“Many parents and carers may be surprised to know that the research evidence that regular homework is effective and beneficial is at best mixed.
“If there are no clear benefits, then the potential damage it can do in adding to pressure on our young people already makes homework not worth doing at that point.”
A Dundee City Council spokesman said: “There are no current plans to follow Inverlochy Primary.”
An Education Scotland spokeswoman said: “We would encourage schools to work with their parents and parent forum to review and develop their home learning policy to ensure that it is effective, positive and supports learning at home.”