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Some may have seen the recent social media-fuelled conversations about homework where Gary Lineker, Piers Morgan and many others waded in to discuss its merits for primary school aged pupils.

One of the more helpful recent developments in education has been to move a little away from responding to such debate with just personal opinions. We now have empirical evidence that backs up or contradicts such opinions.

Our trust has a nationally-designated Research School to assist teachers consider evidence from researchers before making the best decisions about helping children learn.

Among secondary school aged pupils, the evidence is clear. Unsurprisingly, homework leads to young people getting better grades. And I am certainly worried when I meet 14 year olds who are not doing at least an hour’s independent work each evening. The really determined youngsters are, of course, doing a lot more.

The evidence in primary schools is less clear. There is, however, a very strong link between school success and the regular habit of reading for a sustained period each evening, a habit that starts with the help of parents.

The other major area where younger children make progress from independent time at home is committing material to memory – particularly the learning of multiplication tables.

When this is achieved, a young person’s ability to make more rapid progress in maths is greatly enhanced.


There a few jobs as wonderful as being a teacher.

One of the tasks for those of us in schools is to attract and support the next generations of teachers.

Up until now, any potential teacher would have had to go to the likes of Cambridge, Norwich and Colchester to academically train alongside their local placement.

I am delighted to report that this will soon be a thing of the past. We have now joined up with other schools and trusts, and with colleagues in Cambridgeshire, to set up the opportunity to train in Bury St Edmunds, the heart of West Suffolk.

Training to become a teacher is a journey that involves learning the skills and craft of the classroom through training placements in schools. In addition, the new teacher training hub will bring together other trainees for invaluable professional studies, led by inspiring teachers from our schools and the organisations involved in this exciting partnership.

This new localised training in Bury St Edmunds is to be hosted by Abbots Green Primary Academy and King Edward VI School.

Combining and blending this provision of high quality, evidence-informed training will ensure new trainees are given every opportunity to realise their ambition to qualify as a teacher and gain employment in our locality.

Applications to join our training programmes for September 2019 are open now with generous bursaries available from the Department for Education in many cases. Find out more by emailing hmain@sbtalliance.co.uk.