Planning for a new term in your Primary school

When you sit down to plan for a new term the page suddenly seems HUGE….and empty!

So just how do you approach this confidently and positively to get the results that you need?

Planning is simply an organisational way of pulling all the threads together and presenting a clear and obvious result so that you as a teacher can move forward. There are set steps to the way you plan, or shall we say in the way you think as you implement this process.

The way you approach planning your new term is EXACTLY the same no matter if you are working on a blank piece of paper or using a computer programme from a school setup. All that changes is the way the information is handled – not the information itself!

So lets look again at the 3 stages

  1. Long term planning
  2. Medium term planning
  3. Short term planning or what I call “Personal planning”

Long term planning

Long term planning is your first look at what you are covering for a particular term…in the beginning its a bit of a brainstorm so be prepared to have a few goes to see what is the best fit for you.

Here’s a great document to have at your side as it gives a curriculum overview in all subjects for your year group….in other words what you have to cover in the whole year!

With this at your side take a blank sheet of A4 (landscape) and put your topic title in the middle and then write the curriculum subjects around the edge so you can write under them. Here’s one done.

Notice the small amount of detail that is given at this Long Term stage.

Or here’s one done in a different format and set out for the whole year ( you don’t need to do this but this school has it all planned.) You can see here that History and Geography are not taught in the same terms.

Once you have fiddled about with what you think makes great topic links then its time to move onto the next stage – Medium Term planning.

Medium term planning

This stage takes each of the chosen areas for each subject and gives more detail about what will happen in that unit or what the unit is about.

Here’s how it was done for the Y3 Long term plan above…notice the extra detail and the National curriculum links. This is guaranteeing coverage.

National curriculum links

The national curriculum links can either be taken from the NC document itself or to make it even simpler you could just use the curriculum overview document linked at the beginning of the article and word it out a bit!

From here you now move to Short term planning or what I call Personal planning

Personal planning / Short term planning

Now hopefully you wont get caught by school requirements for either weekly plans or even lesson plans to be submitted – both are irrelevant and just add to the workload. But if you do have to do them then unfortunately it’s just what you have to do!

Your short term planning takes an area from the medium term and turns it into a series of lessons to deliver. You have given a broad idea of how long something will take in your medium term plan – this is not set in stone so don’t worry if you are shorter or slightly longer in doing anything in practice.

You will know how many lessons you have in a week for each subject so you can plan each lesson. Each lesson will have a Learning objective or learning intention (same thing) and the aim of the lesson will be to teach the children towards that objective. The resultant work will then be marked according to how they achieve on that objective.

I will put a link in here to an article about marking.

Marking work – a sensible approach.

I recommend that you have a mark book to record children’s progress and there is an article on this in the NQT guide which tells you how to set this up.

Your Short term planning is your own personal planning and it should consist of everything you need to successfully deliver that lesson. You may make your own format for writing these plans out…here are some headings you can use

  • Date
  • Lesson title
  • Learning objective
  • Resources needed

Other things you may want to include in your notes might be

  • Any sentences you wish the children to copy down
  • Any drawings you might want to do
  • Where in the lesson you want to show a video or a picture from your memory stick
  • When to hand out a photocopied sheet.

Basically your lesson notes sit on your desk and you can refer to them whenever you need them during the lesson – that’s why when you write them you are mentally going through the lesson as you write.

As NQTs your lesson notes will be more detailed than lets say mine would be – but as you get more experience and teach more topics and lessons you will find that things become easier.

Anyway I hope that this article gives you some more clarification on planning. If you have any questions then please ask through the facebook group.



3 thoughts on “Planning for a new term in your Primary school

  1. Linda

    This is really useful, thanks! I have just finished my probationary year in Scotland and would really have benefited from reading this last year.


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