A Uniting Church coeducational independent day and boarding school in Adelaide,
South Australia

Early Learning to Year 12

Director of Learning - Edition 2 - 2020

Welcome to what I hope will be a fantastic year, riding high on the fantastic results of the Class of 2019 and the successes of all Westminster students in their journeys to be more than they thought possible.

May I take this opportunity to introduce myself to new families to Westminster School, as the Director of Learning. I look forward to catching up with all new families alongside existing members of the School community. I am ready to discuss all aspects of teaching and learning, academic programs of your sons and daughters and to help assist in any way that I can to ensure that they are able to reach their personal best. One of the great strengths of Westminster is the accessibility of teachers to parents and the willingness of teachers to help students and parents to achieve their best. Please do make contact with your child’s teachers if you want to talk things through; teachers will find this very useful – our watchword for 2020.

SEQTA

We look forward to a year when the school has once again placed exceptional teaching and learning at the very heart of our activities and has a true desire to work at building the well-being of our students. Another of our improvement themes for the year is consistency; we are working hard in our second year of SEQTA to build our expertise and deliver both the program and feedback more consistently and usefully. Any feedback to me on the use of this powerful system is very welcome.

We are a diverse community at Westminster and our students are provided with many learning opportunities. Relationships are key to everything. Our teachers are nurturing and encouraging, demonstrating genuine care and compassion for our students. Whether local, Indigenous or international, we strive to cater for all students to assist in reaching their learning potential. We genuinely look forward to working on areas which will have the most impact on exceptional learning outcomes for students in 2020 and beyond.

Learning at home

At Westminster School, we continue to use homework or ‘learning at home’ as part of the learning process. The learning assigned to our students increases as they move through the School and different cohorts of children are provided with a variety of tasks to complete.

Homework is a strategy that provides students with opportunities to deepen their understanding of content and gain proficiency with their skills. It also gives students a chance to practise and review what they have learned.”

Well-chosen tasks to be completed at home may serve to:

  • engage students with their studies beyond the classroom;
  • consolidate learning and prepare students for the next day;
  • assist children to develop greater independence in their time management and study skills such as reflective thinking;
  • enable parents to feel involved with learning;
  • assist teachers to keep track of progress;
  • reinforce the interaction between teacher and student and between home and school; and
  • pave the way to students being independent autonomous learners.

Homework in the Preparatory School

The following is an extract from the School’s Homework Policy:

For all students from Reception to Year 6 there is an expectation that time management and study habits are developed through homework being completed each week. The aim of homework is not to be a burden on family time but to help the students as they prepare for more independent study and to also assist them to keep abreast of the type of work being covered at School. We expect all students to spend time reading or being read to, on a daily basis.

The tasks to be completed during this time will be outlined to students and parents by the diary at the start of the week and are expected to be completed by Friday morning. If tasks are not completed, students can expect to be asked to complete the tasks over the weekend.

Homework and Independent Study in the Senior School

Homework and Independent Study are viewed as an essential part of the weekly programme of work for all students.

At home, time should be set aside for review, and consolidation practice of ideas and skills learnt in the classroom or for research into other areas for projects or assignments. In every subject five minutes should be spent going back over the notes of each lesson. This is a simple aid to memory and learning. Something seen or heard and not brought to mind for twenty-four hours is very likely to be forgotten.

Students in Years 7 to 10 have been provided with a Homework Timetable. The total time spent on homework and independent study will vary according to the level and capacity of the student. A guide to this is as follows:

Years 7, 8 and 9

Between twenty to forty-five minutes per subject, five nights per week. Up to four subjects are set each night and time should be allowed for writing up details in the diary. Religious Education/Personal Development and Information Technology homework will be set on the day those lessons occur. Where possible, these should be completed the same evening, but they must be ready for the following lesson.

Year 10

Up to four subjects per night with up to sixty minutes for each subject and perhaps five minutes for writing up details in the diary. At least two hours per night, five nights per week.

Year 11

The number of subjects set down on the homework timetable will vary between four and five each night. Students should aim for an even distribution of time. Upwards of sixty minutes per subject will normally be set. At home a total of 12 to 15 hours per week should be spent on private study, completion of assignments and other set work.

Year 12

Year 12 students may expect some homework and learning as necessary from any lesson during a week. Year 12 students are expected to be proactive in their home learning and not limit themselves to homework tasks set by their teachers. Students who are able to develop increasingly independent and reflective learning strategies to enable them to build upon learning completed at school, will be motivated by the success they achieve.

Assignment work needs to be planned over the whole week and fitted into normal subject review and preparation of revision notes from class notes and textbooks. Closer to exam times this can be increased according to the needs or difficulty of each subject. As a guide, a Year 12 student should be completing approximately 18 hours of study per week at home.

In the Senior School the Homework Timetables are now available for review on the student and parent portal pages of SEQTA.

Andrea Sherwood
Director of Learning