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May 09, 2023

Reflections on planning – Phoebe Thompson

My understanding of the principles of effective planning has developed because at the start of my placement I was extremely naïve as didn’t think planning would be hard. I assumed I could write a few notes on the lesson plan and the pupils would have a deep understanding of the learning. I believed because my classroom teacher didn’t have formal plans that I could do the same. I found that effective planning is a difficult skill and for a lesson to have purpose it must have certain aspects. Ashcraft (2014) made clear that to be an effective teacher you must have effective lesson plans. For example, my first lesson plan lacked substance and I found myself getting stressed when teaching. The stress from a lack of detailed planning didn’t make me an effective teacher as I started to panic that the learning wasn’t clear. However, it has been argued that detailed daily lesson planning is a ‘box-ticking’ activity and adds to the teacher’s workload (Teacher Workload Review Group, 2016). Yet, I would argue that this is regarding experienced teachers.

My planning has been a journey. At the beginning of the placement, I put more emphasis on the activity than the learning. This became evident at the end of the lesson when I asked the class questions about the learning, and they couldn’t answer. I swiftly changed this and put more effort in making sure my lesson objective was clear to the class and that the activities reflected the lesson objectives.

I was very fortunate to have a supportive class teacher who encouraged me to take risks when teaching. Hattie (2012) argues that the most effective planning is when teachers support each other and discuss what is the most important to teach and the impact of their teaching on their pupils. In our shared PPA time the class teacher would suggest ways that I could adapt my teaching for all needs in the class. However, I am aware that this might not be the case at every placement. For example, Mutton et al (2011) mentions that it can be a struggle for student teachers to teach other teachers classes. Yet, in the future, I would like to work with my class teacher or mentor to plan low threshold, high ceiling planning so all needs are met.

Throughout my placement I struggled with my workload as mentioned previously I quickly understood the need to plan thought provoking lessons where all pupils learning flourished. I was encouraged to use the schemes that the school subscribed to and the class teacher’s previous resources. I found that the schemes were extremely helpful, but I had to use them as a guide because they were generic and I had to fit them to my class due to the different needs of the pupils. However, I did find some pressure to use the class teacher’s resources in certain lessons. In the future, I want to be confident enough to use my own creativity to make the resources and use the class teacher’s as a guide like I did with the scheme.


Ashcraft, N. (2014) Lesson Planning. Alexandria, VA: TESOL Press.

Hattie J (2012) Visible Learning for Teachers, Maximising Impact on Learning. Routledge, pages 67-74.

Mutton, T., Hagger, H. and Burn, K. (2011) “Learning to plan, planning to learn: The developing expertise of beginning teachers,” Teachers and Teaching, 17(4), pp. 399–416. Available at:

Teacher Workload Review Group (2016) Eliminating unnecessary workload around planning and teaching resources Report of the Independent. Available at: (Accessed: 20 December 2022).

December 03, 2018

Short, medium and long term plans – Danielle

Within a topic that you are teaching this year, present a selection of short, medium and long-term plans. Demonstrate within this topic what progress is achieved by three different types of learners in your class. You should show what actions you took to facilitate this progress by including evidence.

Pupil A: High Achiever

Pupil A is studying Triple Science and is predicted to achieve a Grade 7. However, initial track-point data gathered from summative assessments (TS6) implied that he was working at a Grade 5. Upon conducting an end-of topic test, as outlined in my medium-term plan, it was found that the student had regressed in their learning. Using questioning as a form of formative assessment (TS6), I identified that Pupil A’s grade was not representative of his subject knowledge; rather, it resulted from not being able to identify what was required from an exam question.

Within the next lesson, rather than starting a new topic, I set the class a research task and worked with small groups to build confidence and model exam technique. Following this lesson, Pupil A was provided with the opportunity to re-sit his test. According to a principle outlined by Willows, allowing a re-test emphasises that the teacher’s main goal is to help the student learn (Willows 2012). It also helps to build self-confidence and highlights the usefulness of feedback (ibid.). Upon marking the second test it was found that Pupil A had made good progress in comparison to both track-points and moved from a Grade 4 to a Grade 5+ (TS2). Throughout the next scheme of work, the student implemented some of the revision tips and highlighted his notes.

Pupil B: Middle Achiever

Pupil B is also studying Triple Science but is predicted to achieve a Grade 5-. Initial track-point data gathered from summative assessments (TS6) implied that she was currently working at this grade. Within my lessons and the scheme of work, I provided ‘stretch-and-challenge’ tasks to furthering Pupil B’s understanding of the topic. As some of these tasks related to the course content that was only relevant for Triple Science students(AQA 2018), this shows that I have secure knowledge of the relevant curriculum areas (TS3). Moreover, as the assessment data showed that Pupil B progressed past her target, this shows that I can set goals which stretch-and-challenge pupils (TS1).

Pupil C: Low Achiever with ADHD

Pupil C is studying Combined Science but will be sitting the Foundation Tier GCSE. As this student had less content to learn in comparison to Pupil A, I had to adapt my long and medium-term plans to suit his needs (TS5). Furthermore, since Pupil C has ADHD, I liaised with the SEND department to become aware of the factors which could inhibit his learning (TS5). To help Pupil C learn effectively, I implemented a range of strategies within each lesson (TS5). For example, I used task management boards to break information down into small ‘chunks’ (Blotnicky-Gallant et al. 2014); this helped Pupil C to focus on his work. Additionally, this strategy helped the student to see the progress that he was making as he could remove a task once it had been completed. Overall, Pupil C progressed from a Grade G1+ to a Grade G2+; this shows that I am able to differentiate effectively (TS5). However, using differentiation consistently and efficaciously, is something which I need to develop further.


AQA, 2018. GCSE Science Specifications. Available at: [Accessed May 18, 2018].

Blotnicky-Gallant, P. et al., 2014. Nova Scotia Teachers’ ADHD Knowledge, Beliefs, and Classroom Management Practices. Canadian Journal of School Psychology, 30(1), pp.3–21. Available at:

Willows, D., 2012. Effective Data Management for Schools, John Catt Educational Limited. Available at:

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