Dear all secondary parents,
 
I am unfortunately sending this email regarding progress checks and homework, specifically “Sparx” maths homework.
 
If your child uses Sparx as a homework platform, I am sure you’ll be familiar with the platform; an AI tool sets an hour of targeted homework, based on teacher input from a long term plan and the opinion of an AI tool as to the content level and quantity. Content is tailored to your child’s AI profile through Sparx to ensure the content stretches and challenges your child. Increasingly, a number of tutees are bringing Sparx to the session, often unattempted independently.
 
However, the impact of this is beginning to appear in progress checks. As a tutor, my role is designed to be in supporting your childs learning; however, this is not possible if 50 minutes of an hour session are spent completing homework. As a direct result of Sparx, I am not able to reinforce or extend learning. This is having an impact on learning assessments in school and progression. 
 
In considering this, I have been in communication with a range of tutors, some local and some remote; the general consensus is that they will not look at homework with children to avoid putting their reputation as an educator at stake. This is increasingly a perspective I am finding myself to agree with.
 
As parents, I’m sure you will have a number of factors to consider, including siblings, familial stress, among others. However, I must make it clear that I cannot teach your child and make appropriate progress if I am constrained by “Sparx” and homework. The AI nature limits my planning abilities, and to complete all the content requires the entire lesson time, which leaves me with no time to teach your child.
 
I strongly encourage families to have open conversations surrounding homework – if your child is struggling with Sparx, I encourage you to have a conversation surrounding this. Sparx is designed to be an independent activity, with the AI tailoring homework to your childs level, so if your child is struggling with this there may be other factors like time management and effort involved.
 
This email is being sent to make all parents aware of this issue. I am also sending this as a precursor; I am not willing to put the results of my tutees and my professional reputation on the line for “Sparx” homework. I am currently reflecting and considering next steps, which may include phasing out homework including Sparx from tuition sessions. Any drastic changes will include a grace period of at least three weeks; however, I felt it fair and appropriate to warn parents that these reflections are taking place.
 
Thank you for your attention to this matter; I will share updates in due course when these are available.
 
Best,

George Hall
Private Tutor and student of Primary Education


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