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Effective homework in secondary schools helps students to develop and broaden their understanding and skills across familiar and new subject / content / skill areas. Homework reinforces work done in class and bridges the gap between learning at school and learning at home. It also assists the development of research and time management skills.

Homework is defined as any task assigned by school teachers intended for students to carry out during non-school hours designed to meet specific learning goals. Homework should be appropriate, purposeful, manageable and communicated clearly to the student. NSW Department of Education: Homework Policy Guide.

Parents are encouraged to support their child's homework. This can take many forms, ranging from: providing a quiet and practical work environment; to establishing a family routine allowing for regular 40/45 minute periods of homework time; to ensuring your child takes a break every 45 minutes or so.

What if my child can't do his/her homework?

Parents of students experiencing difficulties completing homework should be confident that their concerns can be discussed with their child's teacher and that guidance and assistance will be provided. If your child is unable to complete homework, a simple note in their diary is most helpful for the teacher.

The NSW Department of Education provides for parents a collection of homework tips and resources to help you support your child in establishing and maintaining good homework habits.

Homework planner

Does your child have a?homework and study planner or diary?? Are they using it? Check it weekly. If they aren't using it find out why. Some kids will prefer scheduling homework and setting reminders on their phone, but you still need to check on their homework and study weekly. Print out our monthly?homework planners, write in all exams and assignment dates and ?post it on the fridge as a reminder.

Exam Preparation

Examinations at Ryde Secondary College fall into two main categories: internal exams designed and marked in school; and external examinations such as the HSC examinations.

Internal examinations are designed to assess your child's abilities and knowledge in a specific subject. For each exam in years 7 - 12 the student is provided with an official notification which will outlay when the exam is, what it will contain and what will be assessed. Using these notifications will help your child effectively prepare for each examination.

Other strategies include:

  • Preparation is better long term. Encourage your teen to regularly review class notes and activities
  • Go through the examination notification carefully. Exams are designed to text what you know and can do
  • Encourage your teen to understand that exam questions vary and so should the answers
  • Practise, practise, practise
  • Sleep is very important and should be overlooked as part of your child's examination preparation.

For more practical advice, see the Department of Education's School A-Z guide on Helping your teen study for an exam and School exam stress busters.

Starting High School

The move to high school?is challenging for many kids. It is vital you attend the Year 7 orientation and meet the teacher event offered at Ryde Secondary College. See the calendar for when these events will occur. Staying in touch with your child's progress is much harder now they have a different teacher for each subject. Ensure you book early for the parent teacher interviews in Term One.

Encourage your child to go to camp. Year 7 camp occurs early in Term One and is a great way for kids to meet their new classmates and teachers, in a relaxed and fun environment. The biggest fears Year 7 kids have before starting the year is that they won't have / find friends. Camp is a great way to do this.

Your child will do?NAPLAN?this year.

Review your child's exercise books at least fortnightly. Are they keeping up in class, completing set work?? The demands of Year 7 can overwhelm some kids – without parents even suspecting it. These reviews keep you informed and help nip issues in the bud.

Really monitor your child's technology use. Are they on?Facebook while trying to do their homework? Are?they receiving or making texts or calls late at night? Sleep requirements start to change this year and sleep deprivation is a big problem for many kids. Midnight texts from friends will only make this worse.

Here are some videos and articles provided by the Department of Education designed to help parents and families in supporting their child starting high school.


Assessment is the broad name for the collection and evaluation of evidence of a student's learning. It is integral to teaching and learning and has multiple purposes.


  • pprovides opportunities for teachers to gather evidence about student achievement in relation to outcomes
  • enables students to demonstrate what they know and can do
  • clarifies student understanding of concepts and promotes deeper understanding
  • provides evidence that current understanding is a suitable basis for future learning.

Assessment activities should:

  • be valid and be based on syllabus outcomes
  • include criteria to clarify for students what aspects of learning are being assessed
  • enable students to demonstrate their learning in a range of different contexts
  • be reliable, be free from bias and provide evidence that accurately represents a student’s knowledge, understanding and skills
  • enable students and teachers to use feedback effectively and reflect on the learning process
  • be inclusive of and accessible to all students
  • be part of an ongoing process where progress is monitored over time.

For more information on assessment please see the NESA's Advice on Assessment document.

Literacy tips for Parents

Stay involved!

You can continue to support your child’s learning at school by being interested and finding out what they are studying or what assignments they have. Some schools also have an assessment calendar that can be sent to parents/carers so you can know what is coming up for your teenager.

Read at home. Watch the news services together. Discuss the events of the day. Literate people have a good level of general knowledge.

Talk about the things you read and watch together, e.g.: 'This article claims that … what do you think?'. 'That movie was interesting – what do you think it was about?'

Let your child see you reading, researching, writing and viewing different materials: newspapers, emails, cookbooks, labels, instructions, signs, films, documentaries, websites, etc.

Even if you don’t know a lot about what you child is learning in high school, try to continue helping them with homework. Look through the reading materials together, ask your child to show you their plan for getting an assignment done, their ideas and the timing involved, and ask what references the teacher expects. Just being there, expressing an interest and saying you want to help can make your child feel supported – even if you can’t help with the subject matter itself.

Try to continue to read to, and with your child, and introduce more challenging books, articles or journals – you can try looking through the newspaper together or researching information on a topic of interest online. Every child deserves a book for the holidays!

Help your child to see a real-life purpose for what they are learning at school. Children often think reading and writing applies only applies to school work – help them to understand that reading and writing is important to everything going on around them – from text messages and emails to finding out where to go for a concert, booking tickets, preparing a resume, writing a shopping list, helping to organise a holiday etc.

Want more information?

Helping teens with reading | Helping Year 7 with literacy and numeracy | National Literacy and Numeracy Week | Literacy and numeracy in the middle school.

Numeracy tips for parents

Talk positively about mathematics with your child – even if you struggled with it at school yourself. Staying positive about maths will help your child.

Saying 'I was bad at maths' can lower a child's own expectations of themselves at maths and can give your child an excuse not to try. Talk to your child about how you use maths in everyday life – and help them to see the real-life purpose for the maths they learn at school. Try talking about:

  • the cost and value of various mobile phone plans to find the most economical option based on call costs, calling patterns, your teenager's phone usage and analysing previous bills
  • household bills, such as electricity and water – analyse graphs and discuss costs and ways to reduce energy or water consumption or just how to make a simple budget. There are great templates for these online.
  • numerical information, statistics and data in newspapers and online (this could be sporting statistics, or weather information such as the Bureau of Meteorology).

Encourage them to practise, practise, practise! Maths is a learned skill that improves with practise. Encourage your child to get their hands on as much practise material as possible – and do it as part of a regular routine.

Encourage your child to study for maths tests – they can ask their teacher for practice questions, or previous tests. Doing practice tests can identify where your child’s weaknesses are, and if they work on them, they can do better in the real test.

If your child is having problems with maths, send a note/email or talk to your child's teacher or the school principal. Let the school know you are committed to helping your child improve their maths skills – they are there to help.

Want more information?

National Literacy and Numeracy Week | Helping your Child with High School Maths | Literacy and Numeracy Fact sheet - Supporting your teenager in Years 11 – 12.

Parent teacher interviews

Parent / teacher interviews can be very different from the experience parents have with their children in primary school. Check with the College Calendar when your child's interviews take place. Bookings are made through the Sentral Parent Portal in the week leading up to the interviews.

Class teachers at Ryde Secondary College teach up to 200 students each across multiple years and a number of subjects. Parent / teacher interviews are meant for an introduction and a very quick snap-shot of your child's progress. Should you require more time to discuss your child's educational progress, you can request an additional interview or phone conversation at another time and date during this meeting.

Your child is welcome to attend these interviews. Resilience and responsibility are core values at RSC and what better way for your teen to develop their personal responsibility and resilience in learning than to accompany you at their parent / teacher interviews?

Ask questions at info evenings. Is there a parent or student portal with details of timetables, assignments, syllabus etc.? How do you access it?? Who is the Year Adviser for Year 7 and how do you contact them? How do you contact individual teachers with any concerns?

It is often difficult to arrange interviews with particular staff members during lesson time, as they involve teachers being relieved from duty.

Should you wish to arrange an interview outside of the parent / teacher evenings you should ring (02) 9809-4894 and ask to speak to the Year Adviser/Head Teacher. An appointment will then be arranged.

It should be noted that it could take up to four days to gather information that gives a complete report on your child's progress. If you desire such a report, adequate notice is essential.

HSC Survival Guide

Year 12 is a challenging time for kids, as studying for the HSC often coincides with other stressful factors.

Support your child by encouraging good sleep, nutrition and physical activity. Have realistic expectations about your child's performance and goals. Most importantly, stay calm and positive and help your child do the same!

There are many, many resources available on the web to help you and your child through this time. Some suggestions include:

Tips for Surviving the HSC | Preparing for the HSC (with video) | Facts about Tutors.

Healthy Lunches - Healthy Students

In today’s busy world we sometimes forget the importance of healthy eating. In the PDHPE faculty one of our main goals is to teach students about the importance of healthy eating habits with the right type of foods. In all years, we demonstrate the importance of positive nutrition and developing a balanced active lifestyle to help young bodies grow into healthy and happy young adults.

As parents, you play an important and supportive role for your child by encouraging them to eat well and to provide them with fresh foods from all of the 5 food groups and giving them the opportunity to participate in active play. As parents, we sometimes forget the basics for healthy nutrition and the importance of an active lifestyle for life long learning and well being both physically, mentally, emotionally and socially.

One thing we are noticing is students are arriving at school hungry, when questioned some leave home without having breakfast or not having an adequate breakfast. Research in Australia and overseas has indicted this is one of the most important meals of the day. It gives students a good start to the day with energy to focus on learning, improve concentration, and feel alert and ready for active participation in physical activities.

For further information on nutrition, diet and physical activity we have included a number of websites for you, your family and your child to look over for helpful hints.

The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating

Healthy Eating - Heart Foundation

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