Hinchingbrooke is an 11-18 mixed comprehensive and a member of the ACES Academy Trust.


To raise attainment at GCSE by developing a set of resources and procedures to support greater independent learning at home by pupils in Key Stage 4.


Across the school there was a focus on the monitoring of, and intervention with, individual pupils through a process of diagnosis, therapy and testing. The History results had stalled at the 70% A*-C mark at GCSE and the aim was to help more pupils across all cohorts make 3-4 levels of progress. Year 9 were starting out on a new GCSE syllabus to be taught over three years.


Year 1: 

A Personalised Learning Checklist (PLC) was introduced for pupils. A single Year 10 class was selected as a test case allowing pupils complete freedom to choose their own revision or review activities based on their PLC for the topic. A range of revision and review materials were published via the school website to provide pupils with a range of options to help support their personalised homework learning. Pupils were allowed to choose the medium for their homework e.g. a revision card, mind-map, quiz or exam question. However pupils independently setting their own homework based on their PLC proved less effective. With the teacher setting a personalised homework task roughly every week, the quality, consistency and completion rates improved markedly.

Year 2: 

Teacher-set personalised homework was extended across the whole of Year 11. However Year 11 Mock Results were not significantly better than Year 10, indicating the process was not working. This led to a review at a department level whereby it was clear that inconsistency in the onerous process of tracking pupils was a key factor in the lack of success measured. Overall Year 2 suggested that pupils did generally value this new approach to homework setting so it was worth pursuing into a 3rd Year from the perspective of developing both engagement and independent learning opportunities. However from the perspective of improving attainment it was hard to measure impact due to the large number of variables involved.

Year 3: 

In addition to PLC some different methods of boosting engagement were trialled such as the option to use an online app for review tasks.


Homework records, test results, pupil feedback


Overall the project showed that personalising homework can create better engagement and support greater independent learning by pupils. There was also some improvement in attainment and knowledge recall and a clear improvement in pupil confidence. A vast number of resources have been produced and shared.


I have come to realise the challenges of creating consistency of approach and a good monitoring culture among staff towards a project in the midst of many other pressures on their time. The fact that a Personalised Approach to Homework is now effectively established across the department is a pleasing leadership achievement in this context. I can honestly say our pupils have never been better supported outside of the classroom.


James Leigh jdl@hinchbk.cambs.sch.uk