The Sixth-Form Census
- an investigation into homework and leisure time.

The problem of leisure and how to spend it is becoming increasingly important. When man is in sight, Utopians tell us, of having more time away from his work than at it, a study of leisure can help us to see what trends are developing in hobbies, entertainment and other activities. In the school society (the first social group outside the family) interests are born; the 'habit of study' is moulded; and the activities which are begun in school are usually continued after the pupil leaves.

The sixth-form therefore endeavoured to discover what schoolboys did in relation to school-work and 'free' time. Questionnaires were circulated to members of the school through form prefects.

The following questions were asked:

1. How long do you spend on homework, on average, a night?
2. What do you do after your homework?
3. What do you do if you have no homework?

The questions, we hope were answered truthfully. We did not accept the claim of the boy who wrote that he did seven hours' homework a night, feeling it was a slight exaggeration, while we did believe that another 'didn't do a stroke' but finished it either over breakfast or on the bus.

A senior member of the staff gave very rough standards as to what he felt could be expected from the members of the school - twenty minutes a subject in the first forms and a total of an hour and a half a night for third formers. The pressure of approaching examinations should set a level of two to three hours for members of the fifth and sixth forms.

The official view is that forty minutes should be spent per evening on every subject three subjects being done a night. If no homework is given the equivalent time must be spent on preparation and revision.

The results we have assimilated into a table from which graphs have been plotted in order to clarify the position.







Homework Hours   1.125 1.325 1.000 1.625 2.225 2.225 3.01
Television Watching   82% 89.2% 76.7% 58% 70.5% 73% 50%
Reading   41.5% 39.5% 35.5% 43% 37% 50% 50%
Games   22.75% 24.5% 18% 14% 6% 0 0
Other Activities

The above is a comprehensive table of the average time spent upon homework and other activities throughout the school per evening.

The homework results obtained from the Third form were a surprisingly abnormal deviation from the average. This factor seems to point to a certain apathy on the part or these members of the school. This is, perhaps, the result of a reaction, after two years of conscientious work, against the monotony of set homework. However, if this is so, it is high time that these young 'rebels' realised their mistake and got down to some hard work. The average time for homework per evening in the fifth form was - as we expected-fairly high, although the percentage of readers was somewhat lower than anticipated.

In fact, the level of spare time reading does not rise above 50% even in the sixth forms. This seems to indicate that a great deal more stress should be placed on useful free-time reading.

The statistics for T.V. watching were much as expected, being somewhat higher in the first two years than in the rest of the school; the average for these two forms being 85.9%.

2A had by far the highest T.V. audience, 100% of the form being regular participators in this 'vice'. The U.6 figures compare very favourably with this, only 50% being regular viewers.

It is also notable that the reading figures for the U. and L.6 were by far the highest of any form in the school, but this does not necessarily point to the fact that these two forms work harder than any other, because we do not know whether the books are read for education or enjoyment.

Games stood alone. This was the only activity in which there was a rapid decline, to a participation of NIL in the U and L.6.

In asking the members of each form to supply information concerning other activities we were interested to learn that, among a list which contained - constructing radios, wine-making and historical research - a surprisingly high figure of 4% was recorded for knitting and dressmaking!

Compiled by:-   Stephen Wilson
Louis Robinson
Michael Robinson
Stephanie Balfour

| 1966 Magazine Index | HOME |