I trust you have had an enjoyable few weeks with your new classes. I had every intention of walking around the school this week but I have been so busy in my office. It would be great to see first hand what you and the children are doing this term. Perhaps I might pop into your class after school to ask how you are and how your lessons are going? I will have to see how the week pans out.
I must remind you of the importance of typing up your weekly plans. I expect your literacy and maths planning on my desk first thing on a Monday morning and a copy to be saved on the server. I understand this is another job to do on a Monday morning but the plans will look good in my green folder. I probably won’t look at them but at least I can access them anytime I need to. Ofsted won’t want to see them either but I would still like a copy on my desk in any case.
Isn’t it amazing that we can now save our planning on one computer at school and then access it on another computer somewhere else in the building. The school server is very smart so please save your weekly plans onto it. I suppose you could use the same planning sheet next year but in truth, you will probably just start again? Still, I think it’s a valuable use of your time to upload it to the server. I doubt I will check it’s there as I am not sure how to use it, but I must insist that you do it; although I don’t really know why?
Also, it is good practice to write down what you will say to the children for your lesson inputs and explain at length how you will deliver each lesson. It is a good idea to write down what you want your teaching assistant to do as well just in case you get a sore throat that morning and are unable to explain personally. And most importantly, it is also useful to write down what resources you will need: e.g. A4 paper, felt tips and worksheets. Your day is busy enough without having to worry about the resources you will need that morning. At least if you have it all written down you can remind yourself.
Please make sure you make it very clear on your plan who your special needs and pupil premium children are to ensure they get the support they deserve. If you like, you may wish to write their names in a different coloured font so the children can be easily recognised by Ofsted. This will provide good evidence that you are addressing their needs. At least if you have their names written on your plan, you will remember to teach them.
As professionals, I know you are fully aware of how to adjust your lessons on a daily basis for every member of your class but if you could annotate your planning to prove it, I would be very grateful.
In addition, if Ofsted do pay us a visit this term I will give you a completely new planning format just for that day. I realise that this will cause you more anxiety on the eve of their visit because your planning will already be done. The Ofsted planning sheet will help you write up your lessons in more detail than your existing planning. I appreciate you will want to concentrate on other things when we get the dreaded call, but the Ofsted planning sheet does look nice (it’s got lots of blank text boxes on it!). They probably won’t look at it but I think it will help you with your preparation.
I recognise you would like more time preparing good quality resources and researching innovative ideas to teach maths and literacy but for the reasons specified above, please make sure your weekly plans are as detailed as possible. You never know, a supply teacher might have to teach your class one day and without your detailed planning, they won’t know how to teach that day. If you are ill one day, please make sure you email your planning and any resources you may have by seven o’clock in the morning. I appreciate you might not feel like it but supply teachers will need to have a minute-by-minute account of what you want the children to do. It would be unreasonable to ask the supply teacher to use their initiative and imagination for the one day you are out. It is much better for them to use planning they don’t really understand and for the behaviour of the children to be negatively affected rather than allowing the supply teacher to do their own thing; where they would feel more confident and have a much better day with the children.
Please make sure you spend many hours each week writing up your detailed plan. I realise that you are all professionals and given the choice, you wouldn’t write such detail on your planning. I assume you would use a format that worked for you as we all work in different ways? However, we must make sure we are all working in an identical manner. I am just wondering how much time you actually look at your planning during the week? I assume you read it all the time because you spend so long writing it?
If you have any questions about your planning please email me.
Have a super weekend.