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Planning expectations!

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by lpalmer3, Jan 8, 2019.

  1. lpalmer3

    lpalmer3 New commenter

    Good Evening! I’m looking for some insight from anyone willing to share experiences...

    We are currently reviewing the planning expectations in our school and it would be extremely useful to see what the expection is elsewhere.

    What does planning look like in your school? Do teachers write plans for each individual lessons? In all subjects?

    What is the expectation with regard to the level of detail required? Is this left to teacher discretion or is there a minimum expectation as to what must be written on the plan? (Eg. Adding key questions, links to SDP, success criteria, web links, key vocabulary...)

    Do you have to submit plans to SLT? If so, is this in advance of teaching? All planning? Some planning? Is there an expectation that you save it all centrally? What about resources?

    Do you have a fixed planning proforma? Or are you able to amend this to suit your own needs? Is this the same for all subjects?

    Thank you so much for your input!

    ***To give some context I am in an Independent Prep School that was rated by ISI as Excellent less than a year ago. We do not have OFSTED or have to follow government guidelines but teachers are still union members***
  2. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    If you were rated excellent in all areas, then leave planning expectations as they are. They clearly work.
  3. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I found working in an Independent School weekly / daily planning was left up to the teacher as to format, details etc. We submitted fairly detailed long and med. term planning and these had to be submitted to HoS and copies kept in a folder in School for reference in the event of long-term absence.
    Most of us had daily diaries and Mark books which would occasionally be scrutinised.

    I agree if things are working well, stick with the system.
    agathamorse and lpalmer3 like this.
  4. lottie04lots

    lottie04lots New commenter

    I'm in Primary so I don't know if this is helpful or not. At our school the only requirement for planning is to complete a yearly plan for your year group and a medium term plan for each subject each half term. There is no requirement to plan individual lessons but some choose to.
    Personally my planning for maths and literacy goes no further than writing a learning objective for each day on a piece of paper at the beginning of the week then changing it if necessary as the week goes on.
    At one point SLT asked for planning to be saved centrally so they could look at it if they wanted but no one did this and it was quietly dropped. We are an outstanding school but not a massive one (two form entry) and this informal way suits us all. I'm sure if standards of teaching and learning dropped then planning would become more formal.
  5. lpalmer3

    lpalmer3 New commenter

    Thank you for your reply. The planning expectations in school at the moment are unmanageable and are a cause of much angst for many of the teachers.

    Planning formats are rigid and include a lot of detail for all lessons in all subjects. There are numerous boxes to fill including 'key questions, key vocabulary, links to points on SDP, steps to success, success criteria, cross curricular links' to name but a few. (For every single lesson.) Where a scheme is used there is an expectation to 'copy and paste' from this to our planning grids. All planning has to be submitted in advance and saved centrally by 9am Monday for the week ahead.

    When inspected last academic year by ISI, SLT put forward these highly detailed planning folders and asked for lessons plans to be ready for observing inspectors. No planning was looked at, none whatsoever, yet the system for submitting detailed individual lesson plans still exists, in fact if anything it has become more complex and taxing since the inspection!

    So the reason for the review is not to change planning expectations for the sake of it... more to restore some work life balance and bring our expectations in line with what is 'normal' in other schools.
    agathamorse likes this.
  6. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Planning expectations should be very simple - if the teacher's plans lead to decent lessons then that is enough. Nobody should be expected to conform to some kind of model dreamed up by SMT. For what it is worth, my plans varied enormously depending on the topic concerned. Some were quite detailed, some just a few words.

    If you succeed in removing the expectations that are overloading staff, you will have achieved something! I suggest you do it by allowing teachers to do whatever works for them.
  7. lpalmer3

    lpalmer3 New commenter

    Thank you. I'm one of the overloaded staff! We have an opportunity to discuss our concerns in an upcoming staff meeting and I thought asking for some input on here in advance would be useful.
    Piranha and agathamorse like this.
  8. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    I think you have to look at the use that is made of the current planning workload, and see what is actually needed and what is overkill.

    Delivery of lessons - if a teacher can deliver a good lesson on the basis of brief notes, then all well and good. A teacher who knows their class and has taught the topic many times may only need a note of the objective, the tasks that will be undertaken and their own head-knowledge of who needs support/extension. A newer teacher may need rather more written planning, of course.
    Monitoring of standards - if they're not actually looking at all these submitted plans, they're clearly not needed for that. Perhaps more detailed planning might be asked for occasionally, or they could just observe the quality of the delivered lesson or the work produced.
    Backup for complaints - maybe all this documentation would come in useful if a parent complained a topic had not been taught, or taught wrongly, or that their child had not been given sufficient support/extension. But how often does that happen, and could that not be adequately covered with briefer plans? Where a scheme is being used, there's clearly no need to copy everything across.
    Cover work - one advantage of "submit detailed planning in advance" is that there's something to give a supply teacher. However plenty of schools/departments manage with other arrangements - HoD pulling out a suitable task, or a folder of one-off lessons.

    I was once interested to observe a semi-retired teacher's plan for a lesson. It consisted of the topic (one word) and a note of where the relevant exercises were in the textbook. However he also added an evaluation of the lesson afterwards - something that they hadn't all got the hang of that would need to be tackled next lesson, and a note of one or two who had struggled. The last thing we need is for management to demand evaluations of every lesson as well as planning in advance, but it seemed to me that for an experienced teacher, those evaluation notes were far more useful than a week's detailed plans in advance.
  9. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    Something I posted recently in another thread which echos things @Piranha and @frustum have said...

    agathamorse, Kartoshka and Piranha like this.
  10. Oldfashioned

    Oldfashioned Senior commenter

    Only planning I do is when in a department given time to plan long and medium term plans. Otherwise it's a brief note or two, at most.
    agathamorse likes this.
  11. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    I built a successful teaching career on my method of 'entry planning' - planning my lesson as I entered the classroom!

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