Homework, Independent Learning and Home-School Agreement


As part of our ongoing commitment to providing our students with the very best learning experiences, we set high-quality and meaningful homework tasks each week for them to complete. All of our approach to teaching at the Academy is shaped by the best possible evidence about how students learn best. 

Research shows that students benefit academically when they engage in completing homework in a sustained and successful manner: 

  • Recapping learning from their lessons;
  • Increasing the likelihood of embedding knowledge in their long-term memory; 
  • Applying their learning to extended practice; 
  • And affording the opportunity to research and explore topics which complement and build upon their classroom-based learning. 

In addition, the completion of homework helps students develop their skills as inquisitive, organised and disciplined thinkers- all key aspects of the International Baccalaureate Learner Profile that we seek to develop in all students during their time with us at the Academy. 

All students’ homework is set digitally on Google Classroom, which includes details of how this piece of work should be completed, and by when. Students’ dashboards on their Chromebooks remind them of which pieces of homework are due, and whether or not they have completed the tasks. 

The frequency and length of homework tasks vary according to the Key Stage a student is in:

  • At Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9), each homework task should take approximately 30-45 minutes to complete. The majority of subjects will set one piece of homework for each week. In the following subjects, homework is set every fortnight: Information Technology, Design and Technology, Global Citizenship, and Creative and Performing Arts. 
  • At Key Stage 4 (Years 10-11) each homework task should take approximately 45-60 minutes to complete. All subjects will set at least one piece of homework for each week. 
  • At Key Stage 5 (Years 12-13), homework for each subject should cumulatively take 3-5 hours to complete each week. 

In addition to this, all students are expected to complete a minimum of 60 minutes of independent reading per week, which is assessed and monitored by your child’s English teacher.  Research shows that reading, along with attendance, has the greatest impact on determining a students’ success at GCSE. It is for this reason that all students gain free access to both our well-stocked physical Library, as well as Sparx Reader, a digital library of fiction and nonfiction books. 

To assist with students’ organisation and completion of homework, each class at Key Stage 3 has an individual homework schedule, which has been emailed to families. On this you can see when during the week students should receive homework in each of their subjects. 

Parents/carers can receive personalised daily or weekly updates on students completion of homework through the Google Guardians programme. Many parents and carers have welcomed this as a really useful tool in supporting their child with their time management and academic progress. 

Please contact your child’s Small School for more information on how to enrol in Google Guardians, if you have not done so already. Should you have any further questions about your child’s engagement with their homework, please do contact us at admin@thehalleyacademy.org.uk.

Independent Learning

Whole Academy Approach

Independent learning provides students with the opportunity to continue their academic progress away from the classroom.  It allows students to demonstrate a commitment to their own learning, as well as extending their subject knowledge and skill development in a personalised way.

The Halley Academy recognises that all students deserve the right to continue their education in their own time, therefore, any opportunities to do so should be inclusive and hold no barriers to a student’s aspirations.  The independent learning platform should also harness the current developments in educational technology, enhancing the interaction between all stakeholders in a student’s education.

Independent Learning Timetable

The academy’s independent learning timetable is in place as a guide of what can be expected each week, to help develop student time management skills. There may be times when project work is set over a longer period of time and therefore may not be set every week. Students are expected to record independent learning at all times as this will aid organisation and strengthens the communication between home and academy. Students will be given an appropriate deadline to complete the work, enabling students to self-manage their workload each week and start to learn the important life skills that are needed in the world of work.

Parents / carers can help students by looking through their independent learning with them. Students should write down all the subjects for which they could receive independent learning on the appropriate day according to the timetable. We believe that this helps provide parents / carers with a good understanding of the work taking place at The Halley Academy and leads to better outcomes for students. If students regularly complete their independent learning to a high standard their academic results improve. Parents / carers can make a huge contribution to a child’s future wellbeing by having high expectations with regard to the completion of independent learning to a high standard. Please help by providing a suitable study environment with the necessary resources; by taking an interest and by encouraging and praising the effort your child is making.

Key Stage 3 students should be set independent learning tasks of between 20 – 30 minutes per subject for completion.

Key Stage 4 students should be set independent learning tasks of between 45 – 60 minutes per subject for completion.

Independent Learning Platform

Independent learning tasks can be set using different methods:

EEDI (Maths) – An online application accessible via the internet, smartphones and tablets.  EEDI will be the primary method of setting independent learning opportunities for maths due to its ability to set diagnostic questioning across all age ranges.

Paper Based – If a student has limited access to technology, or the independent learning being set is not suitable for an online based application, students’ independent learning can be distributed using traditional paper based methods.

Home-School Agreement

Here at The Halley Academy we call the “Home-School Agreement” the “Family and Academy Partnership Agreement”. It is a three-way commitment between the student, the family and the academy, signed formally by all three parties as an undertaking, as follows:

The Family and Academy Partnership Agreement

The Halley Academy is a place of opportunity where we are committed to ensuring that the students in our care develop into proud, articulate, confident, independent learners who are equipped to take their place in wider society.  We are a caring community and place great value on our students feeling safe, valued and empowered to explore, experience and achieve.  We believe that these aims are underpinned by our academy values and characteristics:

  • Respect
  • Achievement
  • Collaboration
  • Integrity
  • Resilience

The Family and Academy Partnership Agreement sets out a clear and transparent framework for our academy and its families to work together to support the young people in our care, so that we can ensure that all students succeed.

I will:

  • Follow the Halley Respect Code
  • Respect the learning environment
  • Be friendly, supportive and tolerant of others
  • Support the academy’s values and characteristics and develop my Halley character
  • Attend the academy every day on time
  • Attend all lessons on time
  • Bring necessary equipment and books to the academy
  • Move quietly and calmly about the academy
  • Meet the high standards expected for academy uniform and appearance daily
  • Speak politely to everyone
  • Behave well in lessons, corridors, outdoor spaces and all areas of the academy
  • Behave well and represent the academy with pride to and from the academy, on public transport, in the local community and when on visits outside of the academy
  • Keep the academy free from litter, graffiti and chewing gum
  • Focus on making progress
  • Be involved fully in activities
  • Always demonstrate the highest commitment to learning and produce high quality work
  • Always complete and hand in homework on time
  • Always record all relevant information

We/I will:

  • Maintain the spirit of this partnership
  • Read, support and abide by The Halley Respect Code
  • Support the academy in upholding its high standards and policies on attendance, punctuality, uniform, appearance, behaviour and homework
  • Support the academy’s aims and values
  • Ensure that my child attends the academy daily with all necessary equipment
  • Ensure that my child meets the high standards expected for uniform and appearance daily
  • Ensure that my child abides by academy behaviour rules and expectations
  • Ensure that my child completes all homework and extended learning tasks set to the best of his or her ability
  • Ensure my child takes part in enrichment activities and allow him or her to go on educational visits supervised by a teacher and other responsible adults
  • Attend all meetings as requested
  • Attend Parents’ Evenings and Celebration of Achievement events
  • Contact the Small School when there are concerns or problems that might affect my child
  • Support learning as a life-time commitment

We will provide:

  • A supportive, nurturing and academically challenging culture and ethos
  • A broad and balanced curriculum
  • An education based on high expectations
  • Work appropriate to the age and ability of each child
  • A high standard of teaching, academic support and individual guidance
  • Advice and guidance that builds skills, resilience and progress
  • Opportunities for each child to develop independence, leadership and team-working skills
  • Regular meetings, reports and opportunities to review and celebrate progress
  • Regular feedback
  • A wide range of enrichment activities
  • A secure and ordered environment
  • A high standard for uniform, appearance, attendance, punctuality and behaviour
  • Opportunities for you to become involved in the life of the academy