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School bans homework for two years
Photo: DPA

School bans homework for two years

Published: 07 Oct 2012 09:38 GMT+02:00
Updated: 07 Oct 2012 09:38 GMT+02:00

German school kids are feeling the brunt of changes to their educational system with longer days - so one grammar school decided recently to bring in a homework ban to help pupils unwind.

Youngsters in grades five to nine at the Elsa-Brändström high school in North Rhine-Westphalia should have a lot more free time after the autumn holidays – as their school council have agreed to stop assigning homework.

Though pupils struggling in certain areas could still get the odd task to do, generally “no child would be having their free time dominated by doing school work” head teacher Brigitte Fontein told the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung on Friday.

Instead, teaching time would be used to do more work, as the school has mostly double periods, explained Fontein.

The decision was made after a longer school day was introduced at many high schools because a year was recently cut out of Germany's high school system.

Because pupils were now being kept in school until 6pm in many cases, they should have time after this to unwind, Fontein said.

The German school system has come under fire from the Education and Science Workers' Union (GEW) recently, which said that pupils are put under far too much pressure at school.

“Children have a right to free time, to play games in the afternoon,” said Cornelia Schiemanowski, head of the GEW in Oberhausen.

Michael von Tettau, also from the Elsa-Brändström school, said that for grammar school pupils, “there is barely enough time for sport or to learn a musical instrument.” Even a 44-hour working week was just too much, he added.

The new homework-free idea is to be test-run for the next two years, to see what kind of effect it has on pupils' learning. Fontein added that the majority of parents and teachers seemed to be in favour of it.

Older pupils preparing to take their high school exam would not be included in the initiative. “Without homework, taking the exams would not be possible,” Fontein explained.

The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:53 October 7, 2012 by pepsionice
I would say this....if a kid was definitely staying around till 4PM, he'd have more than enough time in the afternoon to do homework projects. He could leave all his books at the school and things would all work out.
22:49 October 7, 2012 by ovalle3.14
Great idea. There is more to life than climbing the ladder.
00:23 October 8, 2012 by lenny van
Sending a child to a Bavarian Gymnasium is to subject it to child abuse. Horribly mean, arrogant, prejudiced, dull, uninspired teachers. Much better to send your child is a Waldorf, international of private schools in that order.
19:45 October 9, 2012 by elder
I'm a older mother and decided to Homeschool our children. Benefits

hugh and many. Happy, creative, calm, caring children, not lonely

and angry. As a science major myself I have concentrated lessons

on math and all science subjects that are age appropriate. Music lessons

at a very good conservatory and choir for outside arts. The children

attend school for one day a week for concentrated mathematics and

language instruction and we are given 1000 US dollars equivalent for extras.

Our programs now have 25,000 families and growing wildly every year.

Unschooling is the greatest thing I ever decided for our family.

Total freedom, ergonomic, profound quality, one on one tutoring and

really dynamic.

Cost savings are also phenomenal - only 1400 dollars per year. Compare

that to the teachers union salaries of 90,000 dollars per year with 3 months

paid holidays.

I'm in Alberta Canada, and by the way the children in Alberta score within

the top 5 for all subjects on OECD PISA testing consistently.
13:39 October 12, 2012 by JesusistheWay
elder, I would love to homeschool, but don't you know it's banned in Germany. The compulsory schooling law was established in 1938 by the Nazis and it literally has not changed since then. It's so embarrassing that a leading country would go to such lengths to ban something that the rest of the world (except, um, North Korea.... and now, Sweden) doesn't care much about. I mean, the German officials are taking children and imprisoning parents. That's how crazy it is.
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