Why we set independent study:
Independent study is an important part of school life, contributing to student progress and attainment. It plays a key role in extending the knowledge, understanding and skills that are developed in school and provide opportunities for students to consolidate, enrich and extend their learning.
Independent study also enable students to further develop a range of core skills such as personal organisation, time management and working to deadlines.
By extending the learning process beyond the classroom we also believe that independent study provides opportunities for parents and carers, students and school to work in partnership, actively involving parents or carers in their child’s learning wherever possible.
What we consider when setting independent study:
Independent study tasks are designed to be purposeful so that students can see the relevance to their learning and the benefit of completion. They are efficient so that students are not asked to complete repetitive activities and are pitched at an appropriate level of challenge so that all students are able to access and successfully complete each task. Our most vulnerable learners will feel supported whilst attempting their independent study and appropriate resources (time, space, materials and expertise) are provided where necessary.
We expect our students to take ownership of their independent study and we ensure that the work is valued by all stakeholders, for example by recognising and celebrating exceptional pieces of work, involving parents/carers where appropriate.
Consideration is given to accessibility, including the ability of students to read any text provided and the physical needs of our students where appropriate. Where students do not have English as their first language, cognitive challenge is provided in a manner that is accessible by the student alongside helping the student to develop their English language skills.
One size does not fit all!
The intention is for our students to receive between one and two hours of independent study per school day with an expectation that regular opportunities for extended learning will be set for all students by all faculties. As such, a prescriptive timetable is not required.
However, as children work at different speeds, the quantity of work set for individual students may vary, even within one class and this is monitored by the class teacher (when setting tasks) and considered by mentors and raising standards leads when working with students who are experiencing difficulties in organising their workload and maintaining a healthy work/life balance.
Some activities involve work over a longer period of time and are, wherever possible, broken down into weekly tasks and monitored to ensure that students are supported in working towards the final deadline.
Research suggests that a variety of tasks with different levels of challenge is likely to be beneficial and independent study is not used as a punishment or penalty for poor performance.
The balance between set tasks and other types of independent study changes to meet the demands of different times of the year, for example when students are preparing for exams.
Students are provided with a variety of types of feedback following the completion of independent study as appropriate to the task. This may include verbal feedback, tasks which are auto-marked via computer, self or peer assessment and written feedback. The type of feedback used is determined by the teacher who uses their professional judgement to decide what is most appropriate for each task for each student.
What independent study work is being set?
All independent study is set via the online programme ‘Satchel:One’. Students are required to check their ‘Satchel:One’ account regularly to find out what needs to be completed and to ensure they meet the deadline for each task.
Parents/carers are encouraged to check ‘Satchel:One’ regularly to monitor the work that has been set for their child and provide additional support at home where appropriate.