If you’re like me, you have already started your long term planning for this year. This doesn’t have to mean creating resources, but it often helps to set out a scheme of work against the term dates, to work out exactly how much time you have. But that’s just the problem isn’t it? We don’t HAVE enough time.

In an ideal world, I would spend a whole term looking at World War 1, it’s causes right through to its ramifications today (for those politico’s out there, yes, I try to link every scheme of work to the modern day. Not only does it give students perspective, but it helps them put events into context.) So here are 10 things to remember when you’re long term planning:

1 – What are your goals?

Often, Humanities schemes of work go in chronological order. Whilst this is logical, it often undermines the eventual goal. Consider whether the goal is overall learning of an event, or one specific issue.


2 – AFL

I’ve seen countless outstanding SOWs, with lessons meticulously planned, handcrafted worksheets and all. But it’s very rare that a SOW leads seamlessly into an assessment. As exams are going linear, you are likely to favour an end of SOW assessment. If this is the case, ensure that you make everything as relevant as you can to the assessment, and build in revision techniques from the outset. Alternatively, why not build in a mid-term assessment? Humanities lends itself perfectly to more active assessments  – why not try a debate or a skills based assessment? Refresh the students and save your marking!

3 – Unexpected absences

If, like me, you are a sole teacher of a subject, you need to ensure that you produce detailed SOWs, incase of long term absence. This only needs to be a few bullet points for each lesson, but you and your school will find it invaluable should the worst happen.

4 – School holidays and bank holidays

This seems a silly one, but check the calendar! Work out how many lessons you have – there’s no need to over plan – in fact, I would under-plan by 1 or 2 lessons (see 5-10)

5 – Late starts/teacher training days

You would be surprised how many lessons you miss – put them in your teaching planner right at the start of the year. Spend 30 mins going through the school calendar. You’ll thank yourself in the depths of winter when you’re juggling dark nights, exam marking and Christmas shopping!

Young woman wearing Santa's hat is screaming.
(Young woman with Santa’s hat is holding her head and screaming!)

6 – Mock exams

Again – ensure you know when these are. Build your SOWs around these: try to leave at least 2 weeks of revision before mocks. As mentioned before, BUILD IN revision techniques into your SOWs.

7 – School trips

It pains me to see schools who do not take advantage of school trips. If you’re going to take your class away – you’re a great teacher – but you also need to link it into your scheme of work. Taking a child away to a Mosque when you’re learning about Buddhism doesn’t make much sense!

8 – Study leave, CPSHE days and work experience

Simple… You can’t teach the kids if they aren’t there!

Teacher in classroom
Teacher in classroom — Image by © Mango Productions/Corbis

9 – Flexibility

As mentioned earlier, under plan by 1 -2 lessons. You can bet that you will miss at least 1 lessons per term, if not more. In addition, be flexible with topics. If current affairs is relevant, there’s no reasons why you can’t deviate from your SOW for a few lessons. BREXIT was an excellent cross-curricular example of this.

10 – Enjoy it

It’s one of the most valuable pieces of planning you will do!

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