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Homework should only be half-hour - principal




Stacey McAuley

Stacey McAuley



Nine and 10-year-old children should be spending no longer than half-an-hour doing homework, a school principal has said.

Stacey McAuley is head of one of the smallest new schools in the country, Scoil Aoife in Tallaght.

The school has only seven pupils in junior infants after opening its doors last month.

With the school year now in full swing, Ms McAuley believes teachers often give too much work to young children.

She said that simple repetition does not help them learn, and actually leads to more mistakes.

"In primary school I don't think children should be spending much more than 20 to 30 minutes doing homework," she said. "I think that's quite adequate.

"Outside of that, I would encourage children to read freely.

"I do believe that homework has to be purposeful. It can't be repetitious, just 'keeping the children occupied' kind of homework which bores them and doesn't really serve a purpose, because usually children will do the work carelessly, they won't do it to their best ability.

"It does cause stress at home, and I don't feel that that's going to achieve anything.

"It should be something that the children will benefit from in some way, and I do think that keeping it short at primary level certainly is a must."


The most important part of homework is that it keeps parents in touch with what is going on in the classroom, said Ms McAuley.

However, she added that there is merit in learning tables and spellings, saying that children will find they will stand to them at a later date.