Lighten the load – lesson planning

Teacher workload is at an all-time high. Stress, sickness, absence, and burn-out are all commonplace leading to a crisis in teacher recruitment and retention.

For decades ‘excessive workload' and ‘poor work/life balance’ issues have been ever-present in the news. Such matters have been chewed over and cried over by teachers, unions and government without ever really going anywhere except full circle. As one of the most important professions, teaching has been ill-served.

A load of work

In 2014, the ‘Workload Challenge‘ was launched by the then Secretary of State and over 10,000 teachers responded, identifying three major areas leading to unnecessary workload:

1. marking – see the latest Ofsted reiteration – Marking and other myths

2. lesson planning

3. data management

This week, let's talk about planning

More and more, the pressures of producing detailed ‘false comfort' lesson plans take teachers and school leaders away from their core task – improving outcomes for children. The pressure to produce proxy evidence for an accountability ‘paper trail’ has fallen upon most of us at some time. Let's remember, planning should be a meaningful process, not the production of written plans.


What to do now?

The Reducing teacher workload: Planning and Resources Group concluded that teachers spend an unjustifiable amount of time planning and resourcing lessons.

The report outlines the following five principles for planning.

1. Planning a sequence of lessons is more important than writing individual lesson plans.

2. Fully resourced schemes of work should be in place for all teachers to use each term.

3. Planning should not be done simply to please outside organisations.

4. Planning should take place in purposeful and well-defined blocks of time.

5. Effective planning makes use of high-quality resources.

Platinum planning

The principles are sensible and probably music to teachers' tired ears. But getting to the point where all the principles are happening in your school can be time-consuming to achieve, not to mention exhausting.

That's why each Cornerstones Imaginative Learning Project is rigorously mapped to the national curriculum and linked to age-related expectations and skills. We've already made effective links across the curriculum and planned your weekly literacy focus. Following the first of the five principles, lessons are in series rather than detailed individual lesson plans. They're easy to follow and full of engaging ideas, and we know children love them. Our projects provide just the right amount of detail to support teachers planning and allow teachers the flexibility to tailor them to suit the children they teach. Our online ‘Copy and Paste Planning Tool' means teachers can copy the parts of plans they want and discard the bits they don't.

No more ‘trawling' the net

And why spend time trawling the web for resources when Cornerstones provide high-quality resources that are purposefully made to suit individual lessons? Resources include videos, presentations, fancy texts, glossaries, word mats, picture cards, display banners – the list is endless.


Get in touch

If you want to see how we could save you hours and lighten your load, call us for a free in school demo, with no obligation. Contact us now on 03333 20 8000.

Published by

Kathryn Farr - Marketing Assistant

Kathryn is the Marketing Assistant here at Cornerstones, where her role involves updating the blog on the Cornerstones website and looking after Cornerstones' various social media channels.

More posts by this author