When writing as essay about planning, schemes of work it is important for you to be aware of what the children in the class are going to learn.
This will be informed by the requirements of the statutory national curriculum, the Curriculum Guidance for Foundation stage, the National Literacy Strategy and National Numeracy Strategy (Primary Strategy).
You will need to be aware of the developmental expectations for the year group you are planning for, and to give some sense of what they might be expected to have already covered. This will give a clear sense that you are planning for progression.
You will also need to be aware that there are different approaches to planning, some of which you will no doubt have experienced during your school experience.
Early Years settings generally take a cross-curricular approach to planning across the six areas, and recently more primary schools are returning to planning for a much richer and broader curriculum with clear cross-curricular links, rather than the more formal approach to planning for individual subject areas. In your essay you should be clear about the approach you are taking, and give a clear rationale for this choice.
Any planning that takes place will need to take into consideration the long-term planning for the year group.
Any planning that takes place will need to take into consideration the long-term planning for the year group. The whole school sets out the overall curriculum framework that fits in with the school’s aims, policies and statutory requirements. This planning should outline coverage for each year group in each key stage or phase, and will usually be completed before the NQT enters the school. Long-term planning offers a broad framework for the following:
- coverage of the national curriculum/ curriculum guidance for foundation stage
- coverage of the primary strategy
- identification of links between curriculum areas
- appropriate allocations of time
- a broad and balanced curriculum
- a progression between key stages and different year groups.
This planning, therefore, informs medium-term planning.
Medium-term planning is the responsibility of class teachers; usually supported by the year-group team, subject coordinators and sometimes trainee teachers on placement.
It outlines in some detail the programme of work that is to be covered over a half term or term. Medium-term planning generally outlines:
- units of work for each subject area (these may be continuous or blocked units of work)
- learning objectives to be addressed
- national curriculum/ Curriculum Guidance for Foundation Stage/ PNS links
- cross-curricular links
- sequence in which the work will be delivered (progression)
- activities that the children will engage in
- assessment to be undertaken.
This planning, therefore, informs short-term planning.
Short-term planning involves individual teachers setting out what is to be taught on a day-to-day, lesson-by-lesson basis (e.g. a lesson/session plan). The lesson plan enables much more focus on what specifically the children will learn, and how this will be facilitated. A session plan will identify the following.
- Focused learning objectives for the session: what will the children learn? How does this relate to the national curriclum, ELG, NS, NLS etc.? Do the objectives show progression from previous sessions and has this been informed through evaluation and assessment processes?
- Details about how work will be differentiated: how will individual needs be catered for? How will the work be adapted? How might questions be targeted? How will adults be deployed in the room? What will you be focusing on during independent work time?
- Activities and organisation: how will the learning be achieved? How will you structure the experiences and manage the time available? What groupings will you choose?
- Teaching points: what structure will the teaching take (whole class, group etc)? What strategies will be employed to ensure effective teaching (modelling, demonstration, instruction etc)? How will behaviour be managed? What will you need to teach the children in order for learning to take place? (Include key questions and key vocabulary.)
- Resources: indicate the materials and equipment that will be needed for the children and yourself during the session - what space/ room arrangement will be required, and what health and safety considerations will be appropriate?
- Assessment opportunities: what evidence will there be that the learning objectives have been achieved?How will you identify these indicators? What will the particular method of assessment be (observation, discussion, note taking, completed work, photos tape recording etc)?
Monitoring and evaluation
Remember to include some record of the children’s achievement and your own performance. This will inform subsequent planning.
- What did the children do?
- What did the children learn?
- Were there any surprises?
- Were the learning objectives achieved? How do you know this?
- What evidence is there to support this?
- What did you learn?
- What did you do to enable or hinder the children’s learning?
- What evidence is there to support this?
- What might you differently next time? Why?
- What are the implications for future planning?
- How can I ensure progression?
- How can I further develop my teaching skills?
In conclusion, when planning a scheme of work, it is important to make sure that you make reference to the appropriate statutory and non-statutory curriculum documentation (where applicable).
Consider how long-term planning will inform medium term planning across the scheme of work, and how these, in turn, will inform more detailed session plans. Ensure that planning is focused upon what the children will learn, and how this will be facilitated. Establish cross-curricular links, plan learning opportunities that will take place in meaningful contexts, and ensure that planned activities will motivate and challenge all children.