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fellow teachers, can I ask you what you think about these planning requirements?

(33 Posts)
jetgirl Sun 10-Jul-11 10:06:17

The school I teach in is due an ofsted inspection and so slt are, understandably, keen to make sure we do well. There have been issues in some subject areas with regards to lack of schemes of work and to counter this we are all re-writing our schemes onto new pro-formae. I have no problem with this. However, each scheme has to be written lesson by lesson (though not in full detail), which I don't feel is a) entirely useful as sometimes you need to change lesson plans, or b) acceptable under the planning guidelines (though I may have made that up). I was under the impression that long and medium term plans were acceptable in terms of schemes of work, though am prepared to be told I'm wrong.

The other thing is that a member of slt is doing learning walks every week specifically to look at planning. If this teacher comes into our lessons, we have to provide a full lesson plan. While planner style lesson plans will be accepted, we will have to explain why we haven't provided the full a4 lesson plan you might normally provide for a planned obs, such as for performance management. We will not know in advance whether we will be seen, so in effect all lessons will have to be planned in detail, referencing aen, eal, plts, etc.

Is this excessive or does this happen in other secondaries?

Tortu Sun 10-Jul-11 11:37:02

Yes this does happen and is not particularly excessive. The walks happened in my first school. Whilst I was quite unhappy there, I think it was good for me as I now have no problem with anybody walking in or out of my lesson. I also got an 'outstanding' during the inspection.

In terms of your planning, sorry, but an SOW is individual lesson plans and resources. And, yes, this is what I provide my staff and have done as an HOD in both the schools where I have been a middle manager. I can run up a long term plan in half an hour and a medium term plan in about an hour. In my opinion, they are both worthless in terms of practical teaching.

jetgirl Sun 10-Jul-11 12:12:41

Thanks tortu, that's very helpful. I have always done my sow lesson lesson, but not in the kind of detail we have been asked t switch to. Would you ever ask for an entire yr group sow to be rewritten in an afternoon? I guess I feel it more than others as I'm the only teacher of my subject in my school, so no team planning or delegating!

We've had learning walks for ages, don't mind them at all and as you say, it's good preparation for official inspection. Being asked to provide a full.lesson plan for a drop in is new though.

Can I ask whether you work from a planner for your day to day teaching or do you use full a4 plans every time?

basingstoke Sun 10-Jul-11 12:21:17

We do full lesson SOW. Not all departments do, but individual planning in my department is very hit and miss, so the full plans are the way to go. We also have embedded assessment.

basingstoke Sun 10-Jul-11 12:22:13

I couldn't write one in an afternoon though of course.

freerangeeggs Sun 10-Jul-11 14:54:53

This is ridiculous. What an utter waste of time.

I hate full lesson SOWs and we don't use them in our department. There is no need for them if you have a decent timeplan, outlined learning objectives and a variety of good resources.

The very definition of formative assessment is that it alters your planning and changes lessons in real time. How on earth are you supposed to build in proper formative assessment strategies if you're being forced to stick to a preordained lesson plan? You need to be flexible in order to be effective. I've been doing some observations recently and have been struck by the number of times teachers say to their classes 'You're interrupting MY lesson' or 'I have a lot to get through today'! Oh really? And who exactly is supposed to be learning here again?

The major difference between an outstanding lesson and a good one is effective assessment. Your school's attitude is hampering assessment and will probably backfire. I think OFSTED will think you're all mental

freerangeeggs Sun 10-Jul-11 14:57:39

And another thing - I think full lesson SOWs deskill teachers. I'm capable of planning a lesson on my own. Teaching is not like baking a cake - you don't follow a recipe. Different classes require different teaching methods and different amounts of time to cover concepts. Being denied the opportunity to develop your skills in this way is unacceptable and I would leave if my school expected that.

jetgirl Sun 10-Jul-11 15:37:17

Freerangeeggs, I agree entirely. I find a loose lesson by lesson sow useful but it does in no way allow for flexibility if we're meant to stick rigidly to it. What happens to personalised learning and decent formative assessment which is supposed to inform planning! I look forward to ofsted telling slt they're mental!

Tortu Sun 10-Jul-11 18:43:15

God no, you couldn't do one in an afternoon. That's mental!

I haven't used a planner for a while- mainly because my current school expects everything to be done electronically.

This is actually quite an interesting thread. I am intrigued to hear what other people are saying. Whilst I provide detailed, lesson SOW for my departments and they expect it- I think this is senior management's way of dealing with incompetence in the department (inner London school- we're grateful for what we can get in terms of teachers). If somebody did the same for me, I would probably not teach any of their lessons because everybody teaches in a different way. And to be honest, I rarely teach my own lesson twice!

PotteringAlong Sun 10-Jul-11 18:53:29

We have full lesson SOW in my dept but I expect my dept to use them as guidance only - they know their classes / personalities of pupils more than
I do and it's just not practical for stuff not to take lOnger / not to go off on a tangent every week.

I would put a link to the SOW in my planner and tell them to look there.
Remember - even ofsted don't require full lesson plans anymore (though when they came to us in march I wasn't brave enough to not hand one in!)

PotteringAlong Sun 10-Jul-11 18:55:34

Ps, I agree with tortu completely - I teach "identical" lessons that turn out completely differently but that I also change after teaching then. Self review and all that! Changing them in a paper format every time woyld add hours onto my planning

jetgirl Sun 10-Jul-11 19:00:23

I think the whole situation has arisen because of imcompetance in a couple of other subject areas. We had inset a couple of weeks ago and after the morning session slt said go away and rewrite all yr 8 sow in this new format. We want them by the end of the day! Admittedly, a lot of it is c and p if you have sow in place anyway, but that is still time consuming. And we have to put the same info in twice in the same document. They're all going on the school website so parents can see exactly what is happening in every lesson.

As you say, tortu, you rarely teach the same lesson twice. A good teacher learns what works and what doesn't and adjusts accordingly.

noblegiraffe Sun 10-Jul-11 19:20:12

Sounds like a complete pain in the arse. When Ofsted have gone (are they due imminently? We were due an Ofsted in September and they didn't turn up for another 6 months) will you stop having to produce full lesson plans?

That sort of thing just demotivates teachers and should, IMO, only be used if necessary because of individual weakness.

Panzee Sun 10-Jul-11 19:27:42

Perhaps you should let your school know what the Government think:

‘Neither the Government nor Ofsted require written lesson plans, let alone in a particular format.’
(The Schools White Paper 2010)

mnistooaddictive Sun 10-Jul-11 19:30:24

Sow lesson plans are useless unless you want off the peg teaching! I would contact your union as I think this is against the terms of the workload agreement. I disagree that you need a full lesson plan for every lesson. A lesson plan is the outcome of a process and an aid to ensure you have covered all the bases. The thought process is the important bit not the piece of paper. As an experienced teacher I can do this in ny head wherever I am and not necessarily in a situation where I could write I.e. When I am driving!

glassescase Sun 10-Jul-11 19:38:56

The world has gone mad. This year I was asked to teach an extra course to my year 10 class, alongside their GCSE. I was given a set of textbooks and free reign to teach it as and when I thought appropriate. I do not do any lesson plans but we are progressing well through both. Whatever happened to professionalism?

jetgirl Sun 10-Jul-11 22:06:26

Panzee - I knew I wasn't making it up, thanks for the link, I will raise this in my lmm this week. In the meantime, I am spending Sunday evening reinventing the wheel hmm

Potteringalong - good idea about the note in the planner. I teach in 7 different rooms, so rely on my planner to get me to the right room as well as an an aide memoire. I can't be doing with printing off every lesson plan in full. It's enough having to remember all my equipment, pens, textbooks, projector remote, etc. I would lose bits of paper

Noblegiraffe - they are due imminently. So long, summer break! Interesting point about what happens when they've gone, slt will find something else for us to do!

mnistooaddictive - sometimes ideas hit you at strange times. I was inspired by an episode of crimewatch the night before a lesson and totally changed my plan for a much more exciting lesson and different from anything I had done before. Had I stuck rigidly to my sow, we wouldn't have had one of the best lessons I had had with that class all year!

What happened to professionalism, indeed!

freerangeeggs Sun 10-Jul-11 22:55:41

I really feel for you, jetgirl. What horrible (and pointless) pressure to be under. And seven rooms, too - I've been in that situation before and the last thing you need is more crap to carry about.

If it were me I would be inclined not to bother and invite the dafties to start competency procedures against me if they had a problem. I wonder how far that would get hmm

freerangeeggs Sun 10-Jul-11 22:56:00

Oh, and I agree that you should speak to your union.

manicinsomniac Mon 11-Jul-11 07:52:47

A4 lesson plans for every lesson - no way in Hell would I do that!!

That level of observations, ofsted and being a student only, imo.

Being able to walk into a room, glance at your SOW and daily planner then teach a successful lesson sans planning is a makr of a teacher that knows what s/he is doing. Being tied to a piece paper is not a good thing, I don't think.

And in the time that you'd spend having to write all these plans you could be running 2-3 extracurricular clubs, dealing with a multitude of pastoral problem and properly marking and assessing children's work - in other words, actually being a teacher!

manicinsomniac Mon 11-Jul-11 07:53:35

My second sentence should read: "That level of planning is for observations, ofsted and being a student only, imo."

DebiTheScot Mon 11-Jul-11 08:07:05

I agree that it's crazy. What a ridiculous amount of work for you all to just change it every time you teach it anyway. 'Every child matters' so lessons need to be adapted to suit every child as funnily enough they're not all the same.

Our SOWs are split into sub topics then have a list of the essential content to cover, ideas for content teaching and ideas for enquiry based lessons (science). We know how many weeks we have and then we decide ourselves which bits to do. And this style of sow has been part of what has made us a 'lead department' in our county.

Also if your sow is set out lesson by lesson what happens to any classes you only have on a Monday and Friday who are more than half a terms worth of lessons short this year? Do they just miss stuff?

jetgirl Mon 11-Jul-11 09:25:26

I am now relieved that my complaints about this are not unreasonable! I work 0.6, don't teach Mondays so my classes haven't been affected by the loss of all those mondays this year, we also have a two week timetable so the hit is not too bad in terms of missed lessons. However, we don't know when Inset days are yet, so my schemes might fall apart!

Would some of you like to come and do some obs at my school and tell slt that they're over-reacting to the impending Ofsted?!

We're not allowed to called them SOW any more, they're schemes of learning now. I've emailed my faculty leader raising my concerns and have asked to meet tomorrow to review my schemes before they go on the website. I have pointed her in the direction of workload agreement and white paper, but whether she will take it higher up, I don't know.

NorfolkNChamberOfSecrets Mon 11-Jul-11 22:22:35

My SOW are full lesson by lesson because I have non specialists in my subject so they obviously need extra guidence especially if they are not at all familiar with the topic being covered (The Revelation in Islam for exmaple) however in the core subjects where the teachers are specialists the SOW are not in as much detail.

NorfolkNChamberOfSecrets Mon 11-Jul-11 22:22:58

subject should be department!

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