TRADITIONAL homework has been abolished at a leading secondary school.

Teachers at Philip Morant School and College in Colchester will use the time previously spent on setting and marking homework on planning lessons more precisely to ensure the individual needs of each pupil are met.

Extra learning will still be encouraged through an online portal with prizes offered to the most dedicated students.

Principal Catherine Hutley said the school was the first in Colchester to adopt the approach and she accepted it would be controversial.

But she said she was “genuinely excited” about the innovative approach and was convinced students would benefit.

She said: “It is a move away from a more traditional approach but we would not do anything which would hinder the progress of our children.

“The job of a teacher is impossible. There are not enough hours in the day for a teacher to teach, set homework, mark homework, and plan their lessons.

“We have the most dedicated and committed staff you could possibly ask for.

“They are working every hour God sends but planning lessons can fall by the wayside.

“We want it to be the number one priority so teachers can plan for students’ individual needs and keep on top of their progress on a daily basis.”

Ms Hutley said too often homework was made up of finishing curriculum work which had not been completed in class.

That work will now be completed in lessons ensuring children who were not encouraged to complete their homework would not miss out.

Ms Hutley said the new Prove It+ extension work will encourage independent learning which would also benefit students in their post-16 education.

She said it was not compulsory but any students who did not take part and was considered to be in danger of falling behind would be asked to attend an intervention session with motivational speakers.

Ms Hutley said the move away from traditional homework had been discussed for a year.

She added: “We are aware opinions on this issue are polarised with many parents and carers delighted by the change but others concerned by what the move will mean for their child.

“We have carefully analysed the performance and progress of our students and the impact homework has had on this.

“We know homework is not working for the majority of our students.

“This new approach allows us to more carefully track and monitor students both academically but also against skills critical for their lives ahead.”

The school, which has 1,650 students, has already got rid of academic banding and the use of mobile phones at school.

Ms Hutley added: “If, for any reason, we start to see this new approach to homework is having a negative impact on students’ progress, we will do something about it.

“But I do not believe that will happen.”