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Do you/your department use SoW?

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by headinabook, Nov 22, 2018.

  1. headinabook

    headinabook New commenter

    In my department we don't have loads of SoW and not particularly detailed ones either. Teachers tend to teach whatever unit they are on however they want. Everyone produces two pieces of assessed work each half term.

    Had heard from colleagues that SoW are old fashioned now and not often used. I am not sure....my previous school where I had spent the best part of the last decade had a SoW for every unit and we all had one assigned to us each year to tweak and improve as part of our performance management target.

    What is your experience?
  2. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    Generally set out what units/topics are to be studied and in what order; guidance as to time allowed. Dept meetings are used to tweak these to match actual progress.
    Some topics come more or less from published materials; for others the outline SoW lists the resources, activities, practicals that teachers might choose to use, with reminders where materials need ordering or preparing in advance. Deliberately no prescription of what must be used or the exact order within a topic.
  3. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    I must say this sounds such a difference to primary where some schools are prescriptive and coached down to ten minutes of each lesson. If the retention crisis is to be solved then the approach you mention needs to become much more widespread. Judge teachers on their results
  4. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    We have fairly detailed schemes of work / lesson plans (to make planning easier for new staff / teachers teaching outside their specialism) but it is up to each teacher how much they use. We have a wide range of resources, some accumulated through the years, others tailored specifically for the current curriculum and staff can choose and use whatever they feel is the most appropriate.
  5. MarieLou85

    MarieLou85 New commenter

    In my school we have schemes of work on some topics but on many we do not. The ones we do have vary in quality depending on when they were last looked at. This is an issue that is left over from a previous head of department and the current head of is trying to address the balance so that every topic across KS3 and KS4 has an effective SOW. I don't think experienced teachers feel the need to always use a SOW but it useful to have a department wide plan in place and is invaluable for trainees, NQT's and teachers in a new school.
  6. jmagenis12

    jmagenis12 New commenter

    We have a shared department google drive, which the department contribute to as often/little as they wish. We have a grid like sheet for each unit detailing what skills we should be covering etc. It also has KQ ideas and activity ideas. Staff are encouraged to create own resources and share these as opposed to just using lessons that have been archived, however there is a focus on implementing anything useful that someone else in the department has tried and tested!
  7. elliotdt11

    elliotdt11 New commenter

    My department (English) for Years 7, 8 and 9 have very detailed SoW that give an overview of what should happen each week in lesson time. The teachers have free reign to plan and adapt their lessons as they please however the SoW identifies what texts and poems should be looked at in that week in order to encourage congruence across the department. The scheme of work is divided into pathways 1 and 2 for higher sets and G&T students, and 3 and 4 for lower sets. This enables differentiation whilst still encouraging each class to be at a similar stage across a year group. The idea is that any student in each of these year groups can talk to their peers about the texts they are studying that week and they should be the same. The way that these SoWs have been designed means that lessons are easy to differentiate whilst at the same time, as a teacher you can have confidence that you are teaching in a way that conforms with the department. It also means that if any cover teachers come in, they can pick up what needs to be done with the class very quickly!
    tb9605 likes this.
  8. tb9605

    tb9605 Established commenter

    We have incredibly detailed schemes of work, mostly with a lesson plan and resources in place for every lesson. This is largely because we have some non-specialists teaching the subject and (given the nature of the school) probably always will.

    However, there is no insistence that teachers teach an individual lesson as it is on the SoW - as long as they cover all the Assessment Objectives of the unit, it's up to them how they do it. They would also need to prepare their students for the same assessments as other teachers who teach that Year. Nonetheless, in practice, most teachers use the SoW and lesson plans provided...

    I hadn't heard that they were outdated, though I wonder (in the climate of constant change that Secondary has been going through recently) how many HoDs have been on the ball enough to replace every single SoW to reflect the new GCSEs. Certainly my last HoD never bothered to write any... they left it all to their Department Second...
    ATfan likes this.
  9. planky85

    planky85 New commenter

    In my department (Geography) we have a few KS3 classes taught by non-subject specialist teachers. Our SoW is a series of ready-made presentations stored on a shared drive, which the subject specialist teachers are free to adapt as they wish. This has the advantage of ensuring that non-specialists have ready made lesson plans they can work off of which is convenient on their planning time, however I think some of them are extremely generic and bland lessons that I usually junk them and make a new presentation on the same topic.
  10. Caity52

    Caity52 New commenter

    We have a large bank of resources on the shared area divided up by unit and textbook chapter (MFL so we follow the plan of the textbook but with a lot of supplementation to make it interesting, relevant and accessible to all). Staff can mix and match from the resources and add their own in so there is always something that can be used but it is constantly improved and developed. The actual SoW only says which units we are covering and by which dates so we keep groups at roughly the same place and are ready for assessment at the same times. It works for us!
  11. thequillguy

    thequillguy New commenter

    Planning for expected content allows the interlaced revision of content. Planning for tasks seem bunk, or at least supportive for non-specialists. No SoW at all risks issues when the grind of each term really kicks in. I find that planning and sharing expected knowledge to be encountered allows greater freedom. Lessons should ideally become prompts with pre-reading encouraged.

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