Norwich's Jane Austen College could drop homework

Claire Heald, Jane Austen College principal Claire Heald will become the new Jane Austen College principal

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Homework could be replaced with extra school study time under plans being proposed at a new Norfolk free school.

Jane Austen College, specialising in English and humanities, will open to 11-18 year olds in Norwich in 2014.

Its new principal Claire Heald said she believed keeping the school open until 17:00 would benefit working families and provide pupils with extra support.

Its owners, The Inspiration Trust, has already lauded a 45-hour week plan that claims to help primary pupils succeed.

Ms Heald said the plans would be subject to a parental consultation before the school opens, but it is likely the school day will have five one-hour lessons as normal and then stay open until 17:00 for extra study and sport.

'Raise aspirations'

She said the scheme had been adopted successfully at some other independent schools and proved viable on the continent.

"We feel it is going to work with students and are confident that parents and families are going to be on board," said Ms Heald.

"We believe it will raise aspirations and we want to go the extra mile to make the school outstanding."

She said older students preparing for exams would be expected to undertake further work at home.

She said fatigue would be tackled by appropriate breaks and believed that truancy "would not be a concern".

"We've been very upfront about our plans and have had no negative comments so far," said Ms Heald.

Education Secretary Michael Gove has recently argued pupils in England should spend more hours at school each day and have shorter holidays to improve standards.

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