Spain's Socialist government gave schoolchildren a pleasant surprise at the start of the new school year by virtually banning homework.
GV Children playing in school playground.
CU School sign.
CU INTERIOR Teacher Anna Isabel Gutierrez giving English lesson PAN DOWN TO Children seated at desks.
CU Girl with textbook.
SV Boy reciting in English PAN TO other children listening to teacher, and teacher at front of class. (3 SHOTS)
CU Teacher commenting on ban on homework. (English SOT)
GV Children leaving school.
SV Boys playing basketball, girls spinning tops. (2 SHOTS)
SV Children running from school entrance.
GUTIERREZ: (SEQ 6) "Well, I think it's a good idea there is no homework because we have to take into account that our students are from six to twelve years old, sorry six to fourteen old, and they spend five hours a day at school. So they need free time to practice sports, play games, play with their friends and so on. In any case it doesn't represent more work for me, because that is just a question of a different organisation."
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Background: Spain's Socialist government gave schoolchildren a pleasant surprise at the start of the new school year by virtually banning homework. The measure, announced on September 13 by Education Minister Jose Maria Maravall, will cover six million pupils aged between six and 14 in both state and private schools. According to Maravall the decision should lead to higher standards of education. Pupils will be assessed by teachers' observations and other criteria. The government circular prohibiting the "generalized, regular and periodic" setting of work for children to do outside school is intended to release children from school tasks so that they can employ their time pursuing other interests. Several parents' associations have welcomed the move, since they have opposed the weight of work which has kept many children busy after school almost until bedtime. A teacher in a state school at Alcorcon, Anna Isabel Gutierrez, said children needed free time to practice sports and play games. She added that the measures did not represent more work for the teachers and that it was just a question of different organisation. Homework may still be set though when a teacher feels pupils need to do extra work on particular topics.