#SeatingPlans: Vital For Learning by @TeacherToolkit

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Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
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This is a blog about teaching and learning and the necessity of seating plans in every classroom.

Ever since I was in NQT, seating plans have been one of my essential assets for any lesson. I even have seating plans for Year 11 and 6th Form classes. @PhilBeadle in his book ‘How To Teach’ is right, if you allow students to sit next to their friends, they won’t do any work! You know your students better than anyone else, and you know best where they will learn; so use should sit them where you blooming-well like(!) and let students know you are in control, and that they are in your domain.

Seating plans are my number one piece of ammunition in my teaching repertoire. I update my seating plans every half term for every class, but this is due to the nature of my subject design technology which involves many short-term projects with many different classes, rotating around the technology carousel throughout the academic year. In year seven for example, we may swap classes 4-5 times, and it feels as though I experience ‘that September feeling’ with a new class many times a year. Therefore, seating plans have been part-and-parcel of my job.

MINT Class:

Since moving to Quintin Kynaston, my teaching has been enhanced with the use of the online software MintClass, an online platform that saves you time. “Make a room, a lesson, some students and create a layout template with ease. All the desired academic and pastoral data is displayed alongside the individual’s name and picture!” MintClass makes covering a lesson just that little bit easier too. Login and see straight away where students have been allocated by their regular teacher!

Tools that make our lives as teachers easier are always welcome, and MintClass has created a new way to manage classroom seating that is already being rapidly adopted in my school. To the delight of many of our teachers, MintClass has turned the practice of teachers spending hours producing paper-based seating plans on its head. We now require that seating plans are compulsory as part of our observation culture, and have removed the need for individual lesson plans altogether!

MINT class Seating plans


MintClass is very much driven by the needs of the school; MintClass build solutions tailored to your own schools specific requests and this is where your own journey begins. It’s a solution that lets teachers organise seating arrangements and also allows sight of timetables, room layouts, student information with profile pictures and so on; so all the information in front of you in one easy interface.

Most processes in the classroom have undergone transformation of some sort, and yet until now seating planning has remained relatively untouched. So, by allowing teachers and an entire school community to modernise the process makes perfect sense; it is quite a radical change, but one that’s been long overdue and one we are relishing. We have the ability to rearrange seating as often as required, which is great to experiment with new layouts, and of course also makes last-minute changes easier to manage.

The Benefits:

  • Time – no need to spend hours producing paper-based plans
  • Instant access to key information – crucial information is displayed on one screen including target grades, upcoming lessons, student profiles, SEN and so on.
  • Facilitates information sharing – helps supply teachers and colleagues
  • Improves student achievements and behaviour – teachers can rearrange seating at the click of a button
  • Helps with classroom management, especially for cover staff – helps get to know the students quicker

See it in action yourself at www.mintclass.com or get in touch with me if you’d like to find out more.

Follow @MINTclass …

@MINTclass @TeacherToolkit BETT Show 2015
@TeacherToolkit with @MINTclass BETT 2015


13 thoughts on “#SeatingPlans: Vital For Learning by @TeacherToolkit

  1. Thanks, Ross.

    Just one thought about the teacher deciding who sits where – I visited the English department of a school where every English teacher had a laminated set of name labels for each class they taught. The teacher arrived early for every lesson (in itself a great class management strategy) and distributed the laminated cards as they wished.

    If they were doing group work, they decided how they wanted to the groups to be constituted, and varied it according to the nature of the task/the outcome they hoped for. If a student sitting at the back had been distracted in one lesson, they made sure this pupil sat nearer the front next time. If there was an unhelpful dynamic between certain students, they made sure they avoided proximity just in their placing the cards, without any debate about it.

    It was good to see the system in action. When classes entered the room they looked for their name label and sat down quietly in the right place (a different place each lesson). I thought it was masterful in it simplicity and extremely effective.

    Thanks again for the post.

      1. No! Secondary English department. I think it was especially helpful to staff who DID teach in a variety of rooms.

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