It’s December, with a week left of this term. Schools running down to the holidays. Lots of end of term activities planned; Christmas parties, presentations pantomimes, carol concerts. A few goodbyes and good luck to individuals who may be leaving, looking forward to welcoming new children and staff, reminding everyone that education never really ends. It goes round.
From January to March is a time for looking forward in general terms to the upcoming year.
As a head, I was concerned that teachers should not spend all of their summer holiday thinking about school issues, so, by July, as staffing for the year was generally secure, thoughts turned to plans for the next year and a closure in early July was focused on a review of the year just passing and overview planning for the year.
We had developed the idea of an annual plan that set out the timings of key topic areas in all the subjects. This allowed consideration of how topics could feed into literacy and numeracy and vice versa. It also determined when key visits would happen, so that all arrangements could be made adequately. Before the holiday, the general direction of the year was set.
Incorporated within the plan was a two week "free" topic to start the year. This was to be one of the teacher’s choosing, designed just to get to know the class well across a range of areas and to reset expectations.
On the second Friday of the September term, we had the first closure. The morning was largely admin for the year, setting out the development points, while the afternoon was used to create the medium term plan for the first half term. Therefore, on the second Friday, an overview of five/six weeks was established. This was the key plan that I took from staff.
The short term interpretation and planning approach was left up to them, which ranged from outlines through to full lesson plans. Everyone was planned appropriately.
We shaped staff meetings to suit subject development needs, a period of heavy report writing was given support time, largely in February, when the key report and target review was written, prior to parent evenings.
Reports in the summer were summaries of the year, focused on personal development and achievement, with an A4 page created by the children to summarise the highlights of the year. From the infants to the year 6/7 (while we were still Middle), these documents were copied as development records. Parent meetings in the summer were by arrangement.
Planning helped everyone to know where they were going, how far they’d travelled and what still remained. To do otherwise put the staff and curriculum under extra stress.