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Michael Gove scraps government homework guidelines

Head teachers in England are to be given greater discretion over how much homework their pupils are set.

Homework guidelines are to be scrapped

Head teachers in England are to be given greater discretion over how much homework their pupils are set.

Education Secretary Michael Gove has scrapped the guidelines for home study introduced by Labour in 1998. It follows parents' complaints that too much homework is limiting family time and opportunities for play and sport.

There is controversy about the value of homework, with critics saying it is either ineffective or potentially harmful if the extra work is so dull that children switch off. A greater emphasis on homework can also unfairly benefit pupils from more affluent homes, as they are more likely to have a quiet place to study.

Education officials said head teachers should be able to make decisions free from "unnecessary bureaucratic guidance". Labour's guidelines recommend an hour a week for five to seven-year-olds, gradually rising to 2.5 hours per night for pupils aged between 14 and 16.

Now, the decision on whether to set homework at all - and if so how much - will fall to head teachers. A Department for Education spokesman said homework was "part and parcel of a good education".
"We trust head teachers to set the homework policy for their school. They know their pupils best and should be free to make these decisions without having to adhere to unnecessary bureaucratic guidance."

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