Kirstie Allsopp sparks controversy by branding homework a ‘waste of time’

Kirstie Allsopp has sparked a heated Twitter debate by calling homework a ‘waste of time’ and her 'greatest regret as a parent'.

The TV presenter was responding to new figures from the Literacy Trust showing that only 52.5 per cent of children aged 8-18 now read for pleasure, down from 58.8 per cent in 2016.

‘Hardly surprising figures, the joint assault of absurd homework, which takes time from reading, and the smartphone & tablet, it’s amazing any kids are reading for pleasure,’ she wrote.

Kirstie was met with support from fellow Twitter users, with one writing, ‘I think there is fairly substantial evidence that there is no benefit to homework in primary school. None. Reading, however, is the gateway to all learning. Fill the house with books. Foster a love of reading. Ditch the homework.’

‘Indeed, there is huge evidence which @DamianHinds and many before him ignore, despite being told by teachers,’ Kirstie responded, referring to the UK’s Education Secretary. ‘Reading is everything, homework other than reading is a waste of time and causes conflict & unhappiness in many families, mine included.

‘My greatest regret as a parent is not taking a firm stance on homework from the very beginning and ensuring that our focus as a family was on reading, reading, reading,’ she went on.

But other parents disagreed, arguing that there is still a place for homework. One wrote, ‘I agree that reading is vital but so is basic numeracy. Practising number work at home is just as important to develop confidence with numbers!’

Another user agreed, adding, ‘I agree with you that reading is everything. However, for my daughter who’s dyslexic doing mathematics homework at home going over the work they have done in school in a calm quiet environment gives her confidence in her own abilities.’

Read more: Should schools ban homework? Mums have their say…

The TV star is no stranger to courting controversy. Back in September, she admitted to smashing her children’s iPads when they broke her screen time rules.

And it’s not the first time she’s spoken out about homework.

In 2017, she took to Twitter to proclaim, ‘It’s the law that our children be educated. It’s not the law that they do homework. Stand up for your kids. If it makes them stressed say so.’

‘Are you kidding? How can homework be a bad thing???’ one user responded at the time. But again, other others took to their keyboards to offer their support, with one declaring, ‘Homework doesn’t improve outcomes and in some cases just adds stress, turning kids off education. Avoid!’

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