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At Shiplake College, we believe that prep is a fundamental part of a pupil’s education. We agree with John Hattie’s findings that suggest ‘homework’ in secondary schools has a proven benefit to pupils’ learning. More importantly, the staff body and pupils at Shiplake College overwhelmingly agree.

Regular independent study is necessary for pupils to consolidate their learning and ultimately, to succeed in exams. Prep also helps pupils to develop their independence and organisational skills, both vital for success in both higher education and the workplace. However, all prep set should be helpful and meaningful.

Meaningful Prep 

Meaningful prep should:

  • provide an opportunity for pupils to demonstrate their independent understanding
  • relate to a well-planned scheme of work
  • be appropriate to the ability of the pupils
  • be varied in nature, both in terms of outcome (e.g. projects, essays, multimedia, research) and in terms of skills developed (e.g. knowledge consolidation, applying ideas, evaluating viewpoints)
  • provide opportunities for dialogue between teachers and pupils

Framework for Assessment

The College Framework for Assessment, which covers pupil and teacher expectations, is available here.

Expectations of Pupils

  • pupils should spend as much time as possible ensuring that prep is produced to a high standard
  • pupils should hand in their prep on or before the teacher’s deadline
  • pupils should check Google Classroom to see what prep has been set for them
  • pupils, especially boarders, should plan to complete their prep during the allotted ‘prep time’. If it is not completed in this time then it should be caught up at other times before the deadline
  • pupils should proactively seek help from their teachers if they do not understand a prep task
  • pupils must avoid plagiarism

Recommended Prep Times

The recommended prep times for each year group are displayed below, these vary from year to year. Please note these are approximate and can often vary slightly on a weekly basis:

Years 7-9 

No more than an hour per subject per week. If there is no prep set, pupils should continue to read or practise with MyiMaths. 

Years 10-11

An hour a week should be expected in each subject; there may be times when more is set.

Years 12-13

Including timetabled independent study periods of pupils should expect prep time to equal their contact time in the subject (between 4 and 5 hours per week per subject). Prep can be completed at home, in House or in timetabled study periods distributed throughout the week. 

The setting and due dates for prep tasks are mutually agreed by the subject teacher and the set of pupils. Independent learning, consolidation of knowledge and revision will increase this time requirement as the academic year progresses.

Prep Timetables 2023-2024

Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

Year 10

Year 11