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This paper presents an exploratory study of English and Swedish teachers’ perspectives on the role of homework in year-one children’s learning of number. In order to ensure cultural integrity, data were analysed independently by two colleagues in each context. Analyses yielded three broad but cross-culturally common themes reflecting culturally situated notions of common sense. These concerned the existence of homework, the purpose of homework and the role of parents in homework’s completion. While homework was unproblematic for all English teachers, half the Swedish cohort spoke against it, arguing that variation in home background would compromise principles of equity. All teachers who set homework, whether English or Swedish, spoke of homework as a means of supporting children at risk of falling behind their peers, a process by which children practice routine skills. English teachers’ homework-related justifications were located in a discourse of target setting that was invisible in the Swedish.