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Parents voice fears over Philip Morant School’s no-homework stance warning it is allowing pupils to fail

PUBLISHED: 06:00 06 February 2018 | UPDATED: 11:15 06 February 2018

The Philip Morant School and College in Colchester. Picture: ARCHANT

The Philip Morant School and College in Colchester. Picture: ARCHANT

A Colchester high school which controversially axed mandatory homework in September 2016 has faced backlash from parents who have claimed it is encouraging their children to fail.

Philip Morant School and College announced at the beginning of the new school year in 2016 that no obligatory homework was to be set, but that enough work would be done in class.

It aimed to help teachers spend more time on preparing lessons than marking homework while making sure no pupils lagged.

The school moved to a system called Prove It+ – an online system where youngsters can carry out optional homework, with pupils able to choose how much or little they do.

But more than a year after it was launched, parents have said it has created a culture allowing themselves to fail.

Tony Cheeld, 69, a company director whose youngest is at the school following on from their siblings, said: “[One of my boys] did not hit his predicted grades because he got to choose between doing homework or not doing homework, and he got into that state of mind where he didn’t revise. He now freely admits it was a mistake, and it’s been incredibly divisive.

“I don’t think it was done maliciously but it wasn’t thought through at all.”

Another parent, Bill Hayton, told the Telegraph: “[The school] have this idea that they will create a generation of self motivated people, but they might also create a generation of children who flunk their GCSEs.”

Mr Cheeld said pupils that did do Prove It+ tasks were being made fun of by their peers, meaning those who did want to felt unable to do so.

He said that despite 17 months of discussions with the school no solution had been found, but said his family continued to hold the teachers in the highest regard.

He added: “It was an opportunity to re-brand homework in a really positive way, and they missed that”.

A spokesman from the school said: “The school has a clear and fair concerns and complaints policy and we encourage this to be used as needed. It would be wrong for us to comment on individual cases. The school has a robust home learning policy and an academic education paper on our approach which will be published shortly so that other schools and colleges can learn from our innovative approaches.”

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