"The issue of homework can damage parents and children's relationships when trying to get it all done, and ends in tears all round."
The Government says homework is not compulsory but it is encouraged.
Guidelines for schools in England say five-year-olds should do one hour a week, rising to 90 to 150 minutes a day at 16.
They say 10 and 11-year-olds should be doing half an hour of homework every day.
However, research has cast doubt on its effectiveness, and has even suggested that too much is counter-productive.
The ATL heard how many schools failed to provide "proper feedback" after children completed homework because staff were over-worked.
In some cases, teaching assistants are asked to mark work, it was claimed.
At one school, pupils aged 10 and 11 were given six hours of homework over the Easter break in preparation for Sats in English, maths and science.
Pupils should be given the time to “play games with their friends and go out on trips with their families” instead of being forced to work, teachers said.
The ATL, which represents more than 160,000 teachers and support staff, also criticised the Government’s new “nappy curriculum” which they said would fuel bad behaviour among young children.
Under plans, all children under five are required to meet 69 targets covering areas such as numeracy and problem-solving.
But academics have already condemned the requirements which they said would push children into academic education before they are ready - harming their long-term development.
Teachers said the so-called Early Years Foundation Stage was leading to an increase in children throwing “tantrums”.
Angela Forkin, a school advisor and former nursery teacher from Wigan, said: “They are kicking out, they are fighting, they are refusing, sometimes having tantrums, hiding on the table.
“It’s simply because they can’t cope, they haven’t got the maturity to cope and they haven’t got the ability to express it. This carries on through the education system. They are switched off at four and they never become switched on again.”
Transcript for Homework ban sparks debate among educators, parents
Back now with our big board. First up, the debate over homework bans. Some schools starting to do away with homework. Rosalind Wiseman here to talk about it. I want to start by reading a mom's Facebook post that's gone viral. She says her daughter is done with homework. I've noticed her getting more and more stressed when it comes to school. By stressed I mean chest pains. Should she become some kind of junior workaholic at ten years old. How much is too much? Starting in first great we think that ten minutes a night per grade and then adding it ten minutes after that is really what we want to do, but this is a really important debate because on one side we have parents who hate homework. It's busy work, it's a waste of time, it's irrelevant. On the other side are parents who have equally good reasons for doing homework. They think it's important, shows organizational skills, holds kids accountable and it's okay for kids to have to do something that they don't like all the time. Most important, it shows economic disparities between kids. Because when you have a special project and creative projects, it really benefits the kids who have the resources to be able to do it. And that's really unfair and it's totally reasonable for less affluent parents to feel that's inequitable and unfair for kids. Rosalind, you're a mother of two kids. How do you feel, homework or no homework? I'm always looking fo hold them accountable but I want them to like homework and see that it's relevant to their learning. You make an important point not only about the resources, not only the money for the projects but a lot of kids can afford tutors when others can't. Absolutely. So this really is a hidden issue that we don't see. So it's really important that our education is fair and equitable for all of our children, even with the best of intentions. Sometimes we can go awry. Rosalind, thank you. Are you into homework, George? There's a lot of homework right now but the point that Rosalind is making is important. We're lucky that we can get our kids a lot of help and not everybody can get that. I like that, George. Chime in there, my friend. That was good. Rosalind, thank you. Next up, if you live in certain parts of the country, you may find some unwelcome visitors in your back yard. You can see right there, alligators. The fish and wildlife commissions of North Carolina and Florida are warning the public that sightings are on the rise. Wildlife expert Ron Magill is joining us live. Ron, what's going on, why is there such an uptick in gator sightings? A couple of reasons. What's happening is basically we're going through a little bit of a drought so prime alligator real estate is kind of a high demand right now so alligators are going to find these areas. Also it's breeding season. So what's happening is the big males are chasing the little males out. You know what happens, females tend to make males a little desperate, sometimes borderline stupid because they're looking for those females and they're traveling every where, okay. These smaller guys especially are trying to find a pond where they can find a female that doesn't have a big guy in it. These alligators will try to go through your screen, your pool. If they see a reflection in the sliding door in your back porch, they'll come at the reflection and think it's another alligator. They're not the brightest bulbs. They're driven by that need to find a female and find some water. That alligator in your arms does not look all that happy right now. I'd be a little careful with it. He's okay. I've got him. He's a youngster. It's not a problem. This guy is only about three years old. It's the big ones. And listen, the best thing to do is leave them alone, let them find their girlfriends and let them be happy. Ron, if you're out there, say you're coming in from out of town or even someone going to work or walking, what can you do to protect yourself from these decembsperate males who are now scattered? Just keep your distance. Just keep your distance, Michael. If you keep 15 feet or more away from an alligator you're not going to be in any danger. That's it. Tell you what, listening to that, I don't know if he was talking about alligators or real men. Here we go.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.