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Planning For Supply Teachers


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Hiya

At my school our planning is supposed to be given to the headteacher on the Friday afternoon for the following week so that she will have it to hand to give to a supply teacher if we're off sick suddenly. (Apart from my big illness at Christmas, i am, like most of us, almost never off sick!) This means that either I waste a load of my planning and spend more time writing up planning as I adapt my plans following what is going on in the classroom, or I don't adapt my plans enough. This week, for example, I know we want to start exploring and investigating movement in various ways, but for the rest of the week and term I want to go where the children take it. This means my planning is not in to my head in advance. I know I almost certainly won't be off sick, but I understand her point. How does this issue get reconciled in other schools?

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It must be a nightmare trying to keep HT and EYFS principles sweet!! They are such conflicting forces!! :o Do you have a medium term plan? Could you give HT that outlining what you intend to cover over half term and then write retrospective plans so that if a supply came in they would be able to see what you have been doing in the days before hand?! xD This probobly won't satisify HT but what does!?! :(

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This means that either I waste a load of my planning and spend more time writing up planning as I adapt my plans following what is going on in the classroom, or I don't adapt my plans enough.

 

First thing to consider - Planning is never wasted - it is your initial set of thoughts. From that starting point you make a professional prediction about how you will support learning which you then adapt as it shapes up. Any teacher in yrs 1-6 would be adapting the pace and progression of their planning if the children didn't get something for instance so in reality we are all doing the same!

 

When you say "writing up" planning do you mean you create a completely new pristine version of it?? I used to do my initial planning, hand it in and then write all over my working document if i changed it at all. I don't think of it as time wasted, I'm doing what I need to sharpen my plans as I go along! But I never wrote it all out again and when I monitor planning I would rather see planning written all over than a very tidy copy!

 

Try looking at it like this:

 

Your weekly plan is a more focused overview of how you are going to support progress towards the longer term outcomes you are aiming for over, say, the half term. Yes we go where the children take us, but in terms of the context we develop our learning in. In a school context I think we do need to have a longer term focus on the expected development we are planning for. It links to whether you think of planning as what the children will do or what they will develop.

 

E.g. Over the next 1/2 term, from analysis of your observations you want to impact on children's abilities to use tools single handedly and with control - that is your Medium Term aim. Your MTP will outline but not in minute detail how you will make that happen in the classroom: additional resourcing you will add to your continuous provision, particular activities that will promote this skill, what adults will do differently to bring that learning to the fore. It's the big strokes.

 

Your weekly plan is then the current way that you will bring the learning alive ie the context you will put that into - so e.g. you plan to allow children to paint with water and brushes on the walls outside. This links to the more detailed, smaller learning outcome of developing anti clockwise movement in the arms. This is one small step of many towards the MTP outcome.

You hand this in. A supply teacher could use this to support the learning you are focused on in your absence. Planning is by definition linked to the adult directed input. The supply teacher needs to know 1 way of supporting your children to develop. Your initial plans give them that!!

 

HOWEVER you are still there and the children start to show an interest in the mud because it's been raining. SO you adapt the activity to be a focus on drawing with sticks in the mud puddles but still include anti clockwise actions as adult input. The context changes because of what you saw the children doing but the intrinsic underlying learning you are focusing on doesn't have to.

 

Activities are only about the context you are putting the learning into. You can change the context but still have the same learning outcome . You can scribble changes on your current plans as a daily adaptation linked to observations. New learning foci linked to unplanned learning will also appear as a result of child initiated activity and these I would weave into my MTP as adaptations to that as time progressed.

 

I really believe "following children's interests" doesn't just mean just waiting to see what turns up, and obviously using your observations to extend individual interests etc is crucial too. But you do have to also know what you want children to be more competent with in e.g. a terms time. The contexts sparked by using children's interests can change your plans and will be all the more potent because of that, but the planned learning doesn't have to. (Of course other learning will come from adaptations that you may not have expected, but that's the magic of early years teaching!)

 

I hope that helps you see a different perspective on what you hand in.

cx

Edited by catma
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Hi there,

 

I'm currently doing supply teaching and have taught in FS for several years so can see things from both points of view!

 

I can see where your HT is coming from in the event of needing plans the week before in case of sudden absence and have had to do this in my previous jobs. In the schools I currently supply in, they tend for the EYFS classes, use someone who they know are experienced in that working with stage and are uptodate in practice and knowledge. When going into a class where the absence is unplanned and sudden, having the plans available is a good starting point to know what the class has been doing before, where they currently are etc. However, I have yet to go into a class where there has not been a TA who has not been able to fill me in on what they did the day before, how they got on and if they needed some reinforcement on the concept/learning objective before moving on or some extension. In the case of parallel classes, the other class teacher is also a good source of information. I always have some lessons up my sleeve just in case and I think that most supply teachers will have something too.

 

When I had to submit my plans in my previous jobs, we only planned for the first couple of days of the week, with the understanding that at the end of each day/teaching session we would annotate our plans for the following day/sessions. I would always do this in consultation with my TA using her input from the activities she had led and so that she was informed and involved in the planning. In the event of me being delayed in the morning or off, she was fully aware of what we would be doing the next day and could set up or explain to the supply what was due to be done. Our plans were colourful, annotated working documents displayed on the wall in the classroom (together with the MT plans) so that in the event of being off, someone could walk in and carry on. This is what I look for in a classroom and usually find when I walk in. I'm sure if Mr or Mrs O came in they would be expecting to see planning evoling and amended as necessary. Don't spend time re-writing what you have done up as a pristine copy (I used to do this in my early days) - just plan for a couple of days and anotate!

 

What is appropriate in Years 1-6 is not always appropriate for YR - would it be worth chatting to your FS/KS co-ordinator to explain? I'm sure that if you ask other teachers in your school, what they have planned for the week, will have been amended at some point during the week!

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Thanks for that really useful explanation of the planning process Catma. I think that will really help people who are struggling and would like to you to isolate that post into the Resource library if you could or can I?

 

Emma, I am going to move your post into the planning section, its nit picking really but may help others to find this info at a later date.

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Guest heleng

Thanks Catma, that was a really helpful way of explaining it.

 

Our FS team plan the outline of activities the week before and this is what I take to school with me on a Monday morning. As the week progress I just scribble on it when I make changes and add things in so it is a working document. This planning stays at school all week, being adapted and adjusted. This also means that it is available for supply teachers if needed.

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Thanks for that really useful explanation of the planning process Catma. I think that will really help people who are struggling and would like to you to isolate that post into the Resource library if you could or can I?

 

You do it - I have no idea what I would have to do!!!!

CXx :o

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Thanks, Catma - that was the clearest explanation of how the whole thing works in practice I have come across - have thought about it lots and talked with lots of different people but never really quite got to the bottom of it - lots of people have said seemingly contradictory things that are all reconciled in your post! so thank you very very much!

 

This is in practice what I have been doing, but I have been giving in very detailed plans of focus activities and whole class sessions which then have kind of been wasted as the level of detail was time-consuming and not needed! Now I'll give in a broader overview for the week and detailed plan for the beginning of the week.

 

Now I have to go to my head and talk about the different kind of planning I'll be giving in to her and how it will be different from the rest of the school...

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I'm glad it helped - I've been doing a lot of work in my settings recently on planning so have been thinking hard about it all!!! I've had a v stressful day and that has really cheered me up.

Cx :o

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  • 3 weeks later...

Wow Catma - you have a way with words! Your post has really helped me with a few issues I've been mulling over for a while.

I particularly agree with your quote:

'In a school context I think we do need to have a longer term focus on the expected development we are planning for. It links to whether you think of planning as what the children will do or what they will develop.'

Do you still complete medium term plans? I have tried for the last term to do without them and am not sure I feel comfortable with this - feel my week to week planning has lost direction.

I stopped doing medium-term plans as I was struggling to 'fit' all the learning in that I had identified as I was also using obs from week to week to inform weekly planning.

Could you (or anyone else!) describe the process you go through from medium-term, to weekly to daily planning please? How do you address current learning needs from current obs? If something comes up in the current week and you end up not covering some of the learning intentions that you had planned for would you carry these over to the following week? Or do you find that you manage to stick to learning intentions but just change contexts?

Thanks for your help

Green Hippo x

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Hi. Re medium term plans, I personally would use them and generally advise on their use. However the MTP is completely focused on the expected learning that you want to impact on with very broad contexts that this may take place in. Therefore my energies are spent considering my assessments and what they have told me I need to develop with children rather than trying to identify hundreds of activities up front.

 

I also think that we can over plan the MTP outcomes and try to cover just too much(You can also do too little I suppose and try to extend something long after children have thoroughly got it!!). The interrelationship of learning foci is also very important.

 

In answer to your other point I would consider the following if something unplanned came up:

Is it actually something conceptual so that it would really be foolish to ignore an immediate response??

If yes then is it something that is just about additional resourcing to continue an area of interest or is it something that needs more dedicated adult time and focus to develop it. If it does then I would do that and shunt other things along to another week.

Or is it something that could wait and be returned to as a starting point for another day??

Either way if some learning focus takes precedence in the MTP then you can move things along and cover them at a later point. It's crucial to remember that any learning is not linear!!

 

Cx

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Thanks so much Catma for replying to my questions. Hope you don't mind if I ask another question?!: How do you show 'next steps' in your planning. Currently I have an evaluation sheet which I have attached. I end up with quite a few next steps - some which are immediate, some which I try to include in the following week and some more major next steps that will inform my next medium term planning. I also have next steps from the 4 learning stories that are completed each week - these I try to cover in the next week to ensure that these 4 children's needs are met quickly. I'm wondering whether I should keep a note of the major next steps elsewhere to ensure these clearly inform my next medium-term plan? I generally know what the next steps are for the group but do I need more evidence of this?

Do you have an example of your medium-term, short-term planning and evaluation that I could have a look at? I know the format is very individual to setting but I'm just interested what you 'record' to show the planning cycle.

 

Thanks so much

Green Hippo

evaluation_blank.doc

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Hi Green Hippo - I think the key is being clear about what you decide you need to do with the observation/information you have gathered from your observations.

 

If it is really something that confirms an opinion about the child's stage of development, then it may not need further "input" as it is really a confirmation of skills developed. The next step would be what you consider that child or group of children will be supported to develop next. This could be in a much wider time frame so would probably use this to inform my next MTP. I would probably put this information in their assessment file/learning journey record and use it when I next analyse what I need to plan for the whole group in the MTP.

MTPs are about where you feel the children will be best supported to extend their skills etc over a longer period of time, in relation to progress against their previous best and the national framework of development towards the ELGs

 

If it is a developing interest that still allows me to focus on previously identified learning foci but just by changing the context then I'd just scribble that on my planning!! Not really a next step. more a change of resourcing/context

 

If it is a next step to extend an interest through provision then again I might scribble this on my plans and either add to the following session/day/week as was most sensible. I don't have to necessarily change my adult focus work as planned - it's adding provision to allow children to develop their independent work.

 

If it's a change of adult focus work in a different context then I would write this fresh and use the old plans to revisit in my next planning session where i need to go.

 

My golden rule is never write something out twice if you can help it!!!

 

Not sure if that answers your question!!

Cx

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Thanks again Catma for replying - think I pretty much do what you do. I was just wondering whether there was an easier was to record the next developmental steps that would inform medium-term planning than in their learning journals, as it takes me ages to go through each child's journal to check that my ideas for the next steps in learning are accurate and have included all abilities of children. How do you record next steps in their journals?

We have been advised by our LA that the curriculum we offer in terms of coverage of ELGs in teacher-led activities does NOT necessarily have to be balanced - you should focus on the areas that are in need of some extra teaching input. However, I do still complete a coverage sheet to check that there isn't any gaping holes (of course, many of PSED are covered through daily interactions and routines). Does this sound ok?

 

Thanks

Green Hippo xx

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  • 4 weeks later...

Erm... two points:

 

1. Really interesting thread regarding planning and how people constantly balance going with the children's interests with 'MTPs' etc.

 

2. Jumping right back to the start. You could always you Googledocs. I've used it quite successfully with other teacher collegues for a few years now. Basically, you can send them the planning - so they have a copy. But then you can both view it, edit it, comment on it. So it kind of stays 'live'. So any changes/comments etc that anyone makes to it, it updates the copies that everyone has.

 

Ha... I just read that back and I'm not sure it makes sense. Basicaly, if you sent your head your 'proposed' plan for the following week. He'd have a copy then. Keep him/her happy. But then if on Tuesday you decided you wanted to change your plan slightly, and amended your copy... then that would also amend his copy automatically.

 

Does that make sense? I hope so, and I like I said, I've used it to very good effect in the past.

 

Rgds

 

Porl

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Erm... two points:

 

1. Really interesting thread regarding planning and how people constantly balance going with the children's interests with 'MTPs' etc.

 

2. Jumping right back to the start. You could always you Googledocs. I've used it quite successfully with other teacher collegues for a few years now. Basically, you can send them the planning - so they have a copy. But then you can both view it, edit it, comment on it. So it kind of stays 'live'. So any changes/comments etc that anyone makes to it, it updates the copies that everyone has.

 

Ha... I just read that back and I'm not sure it makes sense. Basicaly, if you sent your head your 'proposed' plan for the following week. He'd have a copy then. Keep him/her happy. But then if on Tuesday you decided you wanted to change your plan slightly, and amended your copy... then that would also amend his copy automatically.

 

Does that make sense? I hope so, and I like I said, I've used it to very good effect in the past.

 

Rgds

 

Porl

 

That sounds interesting and worth looking into - tell me more about Googledocs - how does it work and where can I find it etc?

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