Independent learning, or guided study, is intended to give students the tools to learn independently. It should offer learning opportunities and generate a culture of high expectations whether it is a task completed at home or in another context such as an after school club or other extracurricular activity.

This policy is designed to create a strong culture of studying outside of class and is key to developing independent learning skills, particularly in a situation where families are not in a position to provide the necessary platform without a school-led structure. Importantly, homework does not have to mean, literally, ‘work done at home’; it can mean work between lessons – at home, in the library, in the after-school club – whenever, wherever!

Guided study is set for all students and the co-operation of parents is sought to ensure that this is done properly and regularly. The value of guided study activities is far more important than the precise amount of time devoted to them. However, good practice would suggest that, on average students should spend the following amounts of time on homework or GCSE coursework:

Key stage 3: between 2½ – 5 hours per week
Key stage 4: between 5 – 10 hours per week
Key stage 5: between 10 – 15 hours per week

It is an expectation that students will take responsibility for their own learning out of class. Students should use additional time to consolidate learning or spend time reading to ensure an appropriate time is spent studying.

Super-curricular learning

One element of independent, guided study is ‘super-curricular learning’. Such learning takes the subjects students study further, going beyond the syllabus or curriculum. They stretch and challenge students and promote curiosity for subjects.