The Green Party has promised to ‘explore’ the scrapping of homework for primary school students in its manifesto.
Officially launched today, the manifesto makes a series of commitments to primary, secondary and tertiary education, including free transport for third-level students.
It also vows to “review” primary and secondary curricula to “to meet the needs of the 21st century”.
The party commits to “exploring the phasing out of homework in primary schools” as part of supporting “excellence in education”.
Speaking to Independent.ie, deputy leader of the party and education spokesperson Catherine Martin said that phasing out of homework is something that “definitely should be explored”.
“This isn’t new, this has been on our policy for the past several years and I think we really need to have a conversation on how best to develop the creative juices of our children, or really change how we do homework, that homework could be, ‘go home and draw a picture of something that means a lot to you’,” she said.
“They’re so young, especially up to the age of seven or eight, it’s a conversation that we need to have.”
“Do they really need to be coming home and learning 12 words in Irish and English and doing a spelling test? I don’t know, is it better value to say to the child, ‘read 12 pages of your favourite book tonight?'” Ms Martin added.
According to Ms Martin, phonetics are a key element of the curriculum for young children.
“I saw that with my own children, that’s essential and you have to practise that at home, sounding all those words out.”
She used the example of the Loreto Primary School in Rathfarnham, Dublin, which is currently trialing a “no-homework” programme for all classes except sixth.
Ms Martin said that they had found the pilot scheme “amazing” and children were spending a lot more time with their families as a result.
The deputy leader added that the party has proposed a Citizen’s Assembly into education in its manifesto, where the ‘no-homework’ initiative could be fleshed out further.
“There’s still a little bit of rota learning that happens at primary level and this is to look at the other side of the child and make sure that we develop that, they’re so young,” she added.