Ask Sam letter


To Sam

What are the legalities surrounding the amount of homework and schoolwork?

Dear Sam,

As an A level student taking four A levels it is a real struggle to balance these four subjects, my personal hobbies, and family-friend related activities. I am expected to do one hour and a half per subject, aside from the three lessons a week, each one hour and a half, per subject, amounting to 18 hours of school work, and six hours of external studies or homework. Meaning I am expected to do 24 hours of college related work a week.

Obviously I value my studies highly, hence why I have chosen to do four A levels, and I also feel very prideful in my hard work. However I feel like my college, and the teachers don't seem to realize that there is a limit to the amount of work I am able to do in a set period of time within the week. Which is even more grave, taking into account I am studying two art based subjects, meaning I have to spend a large quantity of time, working on these subjects individually.

It's not about my mental state when it comes to the amount of homework but rather, convincing my teachers, or the education centre, that it is very complex to have to do 24 hours of school work a week, and also focus on other societal expectations, such as a healthy relationship with my family and friends, and perhaps finding myself a job.

So. I was wondering if there are any legal limits or restrictions which I can positively introduce to my educators, to help them realize that I might need certain exceptions when it comes to the dead lines I am expected to meet, or the amount of support which the college might be able to provide me with taking into account their expectations, legally.

Thank you

Sincerely, a busy bee

Ask Sam


Hi there

Homework can sometimes take up a lot of time and it might be difficult to juggle different priorities, especially during exams or when you've got coursework or project deadlines. Finding a healthy balance of studying and other activities is important and it’s always okay to ask for help if you’re struggling.

There are no legal restrictions about how much homework you have to do when you're studying for A-levels. The government give guidance to schools about how long students should spend on homework each day but this isn’t law. This guidance says that for GCSE students it should be 2.5 hours a day at most, so you can expect A-level to be at least this or more.  Full-time college courses often aim to help you become used to the kind of hours of a full-time job. Normally this is between 35 and 40 hours a week.

The most important thing is that your school or college should clarify what’s expected and give you advice about how to cope if you’re finding it hard to manage your time. Remember, it’s always best to talk to your teacher about what you’re finding difficult so that you can look for a solution together.

To help you to see what time you have available you could make a timetable and include socialising and family time. Try to be realistic about what’s possible and remember to add exercise, relaxation and fun time between activities. You might notice that you can combine two things together and organise a study and pizza date with friends or a family walk at the weekend.

It often helps to keep a good routine when you find what works for you so you can plan ahead and let your friends and family know that you’re not available at certain times during the week because you’ll be studying or having some quiet time. Making time for exercise and seeing friends can also help your mental health when you’re under pressure.

When you’re under extra pressure with coursework you can ask for an extension. If you think you’re not going to be able to meet a deadline you can explain the reasons to your tutor and they might be able to give you extra time to complete you work especially due to things like illness or an emergency.

Your school leaving age depends on where you live and you can get more advice about  careers, skills, education and training in England from the National Careers Service or contact the Careers service Northern Ireland, Careers Wales or Skills development Scotland.

Thank you for your letter and remember our Childline counsellors are always here for you if you need someone to talk to.

Take care,


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