Planning For Idiots

Planning. It is yours. I just wanted to make that clear from the off. Planning is not there to support a supply teacher, nor to show SLT that you know what you will be teaching throughout the week. A short term plan is not a measuring stick to ensure that differentiation is taking place within your lessons, and it is not there for anyone to check that you are being a reflective and adaptive teacher.

Planning. Is. Yours.

I’m not saying “Do not plan!”, that would be idiotic, but instead that you (and nobody else) have ownership over that plan. Some people absolutely cannot handle that. If you think I’m talking about you in particular when I say that, then we really aren’t going to get along.

For a long time now, OfSTED have been passing along the same message:

Sean tweet planning

Ofsted planning view

KS1 leader ofsted planning.JPG

OfSTED planning view 2

But then, I thought, perhaps that isn’t clear enough. Perhaps it would be assumed that this information was out of date. Perhaps it would be assumed that this relates purely to handing planning in to inspectors and not to SLT. So I asked:

Sean planning view.JPG

Yet, despite this very clear guidance, SLT in a wide number of schools appear to be ignoring this. What is it, this strange phenomena, that compells leadership to insist on seeing detailed weekly plans then?

I like to refer to is as “control problems”.

Not all SLT struggle with control problems, it must be admitted. There are shining beacons of hope out there – staff who lead their schools by carrying their colleagues on their backs, doing what is right by their staff and their children, while cutting out rubbish like planning scrutinies.

However, whenever “control problems” strike, schools can become a miserable place to be (both for staff and children – remember, we set the weather in our own classrooms). That’s an effect that needs to be stopped.

My belief is that “control problems” are an illness. They don’t impact on all SLT, and it doesn’t fester immediately, but over time (and in the wrong circumstances) it is able to develop and grow – eventually impacting on colleagues further down “the ladder”. Many who suffer with “control problems” don’t even know they have it. Their belief is that they need to understand what is happening in school down to the very minutest of details. Everything has become numerical, or a checklist, to ensure that (should OfSTED arrive) the school has done all it can to benefit the children within.

Matrix vision.jpg

When your learning walks look like this, you have a bad case of “control problems”.

However, much like we would not allow someone with a serious illness to wander freely around school, we must do something about the spread of “control problems” within our system. OfSTED are taking steps, however you may feel about that, but they only visit some schools every four or five years. What can we do in the meantime?

Simple. Stop doing it.

When you are asked to hand it in, say no. Together.

Get all of your colleagues in a room, look at all of the feedback from OfSTED, and educational research, into the impact of handing their planning in, and decide to say no. If it continues, contact unions (I know that isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but you would be well within your rights). We need to end the cycle, to help these long-suffering colleagues of ours to get better. We need to cut the “control problems” out.

Planning. Is. Yours.



One Reply to “Planning For Idiots”

  1. Pingback: Luke James Teach

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