The SecEd Podcast: Making homework effective

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:
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This podcast asks what secondary teachers should consider when planning homework, including the most effective tasks, what we must avoid doing, what we should do with the results of homework (marking, checking, feedback?), how much homework we should set, and much more!

The days of homework for homework’s sake have gone – we hope. All homework should have a clear purpose – but what? This podcast seeks to find the answer and asks what teachers should consider when planning homework.

We discuss the purposes of homework, the kind of homework tasks that are available to us, and which are the most effective. We set out some golden rules for setting homework, and ask what teachers should avoid doing.

We ask that most crucial of questions: How much homework should we be setting at key stage 3, key stage 4, across different subjects? At what age and stage is homework most impactful?

We ask, too, what we should do with the results of homework. Should there always be feedback? What form should feedback take? What about checking or whole-class feedback? Should homework always be “marked” or a grade given? How should we tackle misunderstandings and misconceptions? How can we use peer-marking and other approaches to keep teacher workload manageable? And what should we avoid doing?

This episode is hosted by SecEd editor Pete Henshaw and our guests were:

  • Peter Worth is school improvement leader and leader of music at Southend High School for Boys in Essex.
  • Andrew Jones is assistant headteacher at The Reach Free School in Hertfordshire. He is the author of Homework With Impact: Why what you set and how you set it matters (Routledge, 2021)
The podcast discussion drew upon sources including the Southend High School for Boys homework policy appendix which is a working document that aims to support teachers in identifying potential purposes and activities for homework. You can download this appendix in pdf format by clicking the button above. The podcast also drew upon Andrew’s recent article for SecEd – the seven principles of effective secondary homework. Find this via

To hear other SecEd podcasts, or to subscribe for free to new editions, search for 'The SecEd Podcast' in your podcast streaming application of choice. Or visit For details about The SecEd Podcast, or to suggest future topics, email editor Pete Henshaw at


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