Ain't got time to fix the shingles, ain't got time to fix the floor
Ain't got time to oil the hinges, nor to mend no window pane
Ain't gonna need this house no longer, I'm gettin' ready to meet the saints
When you want to build a house or extend your house, you have to apply for planning permission and building regulations to provide an element of quality assurance to the project. The overview planning has to fit within the local area, not to impinge on neighbours and cause them problems. It’s sometimes a frustrating system, but generally serves the needs of the community well.
I might have different views on the impact of larger scale developments on an area though, as these larger scale projects can seem to ride roughshod over the wishes of a large number of locals. Similar feelings are caused by changes wrought by Government, in terms of more localised decision making, premised on national needs.
I still have a book on my shelves, bought around 1976, written by R.W.Brunskill, called Illustrated Handbook of Vernacular Architecture, which I used extensively to begin to “read” the details of houses, doors, windows, arrangements of the same, chimneys and chimney pots, glass styles. Where I live is an area rich in a wide variety of housing styles and is also well served by clay seams. These have been exploited for many years for brick, tile and chimney production; the local museum holds many examples as well as a library of local investigations.
Well, for one thing, they have to be planned and planning is the bane of many teacher’s lives. So I want to link and reflect on the two.
The overview plans form the basic structure of the school, and, like all structures, don’t take kindly to being shaken. Earthquakes can be caused by Government edict, create insecurity in some structures for a while.
Overview plans, secured as year expectations, provide the project maps for teachers to develop appropriate journeys from known start points, towards an anticipated end point. Teachers, having developed the journey maps, have a very good idea of the way forward, even if they may anticipate the need to divert on occasion. This level of planning, to me is a source of security for managers; the teachers know where they are going, for the next six or seven weeks of the term, half-term. This level of planning, I’d want to see.
Once the foundations are laid, the walls are
Pimp your “short term” plans? Do all short term plans need to look the same?
Teachers are individuals, each thinking slightly differently to another. Some, for some subjects, need to write themselves a detailed script, in order to assure themselves that they will not forget anything, while others can write down the general direction of the lesson, then rely on their knowledge and ability to adapt to the developing needs of the lesson.
There are often, on social media like Twitter, comments about planning demands. This is such an individualised need that I’d want to argue that an imposed short term planning structure can become a limitation and a barrier to thinking about the essentials of learning. As a headteacher, I enabled staff to do just this, with the only restriction that the plans should be in a hard back log book, so that it could be read and reviewed, if there were any concerns about children’s progress. If I had to step in and take the class as a result of absence, I’d refer to the medium term plan and talk with the children about their previous learning as a start point. That made more sense than trying to decipher a script. Perhaps that says more about me!
Schools seek to differentiate for children’s learning needs, talking of “Growth Mindsets”. How much do schools limit the potential of teachers, by requiring short term planning in a specific format? That can feel like allowing a leaky roof to continue.
You may wish to build castles in the sky, but to do that, you have to plan for it.
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