Learning Policy: Planning (Part 2 of 3) by @TeacherToolkit

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shutterstock Business man pointing to transparent board with text: Lesson Plan Learning Policy


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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If you were a school leader of teaching and learning, what would you do with one-hundred teachers in a school to raise standards?


This is part two of a three-part Learning Policy that is due for consultation with our middle and senior leaders before the end of the academic year. This will then be shared with all of our teaching staff in the autumn. Last week, I blogged How To Create A Teaching and Learning Common-Sense Culture? which shared quite the opposite of what I am sharing here. This was a ‘what we do not want’ our teachers do to.


This information shared below is not yet policy, but is the start of what we hope to develop as part of our drive towards great teaching at Quintin Kynaston. This is our ‘to-do’ in the classroom. Part of our aims, is to raise standards of teaching and learning with the intention of developing A Way Forward for Teaching and Learning; particularly in a common learning policy that is clear, coherent and developmental for all our teaching staff.

In our school, we do not grade individual lessons (like this?) as we understand that a wider evidence base, developing the teacher in a progress-over-time methodology is required. Our evolving a mark-plan-teach philosophy, alongside a range of tools, strategies and sources of evidence will also be designed/considered. In this blog, I share the second part of our mark-plan-teach pedagogy. This is not yet ratified and will soon be up for discussion. Before reading the details, note that the ‘mark’ section below forms part of a one-page summary, and behind this synopsis, sits a deeper learning policy full of context (for teaching in our school with our students); equipped with rationale and appendices. (Like this? Tweet it!)

You can read Part 1 here on Marking. This is part 2 on Planning.

“What works for us, may not work for you.”

Quintin Kynaston Teacher PlannerQuintin Kynaston’s teacher planner 2014/15


Planning is a process not a product. It has one purpose, to enable high quality delivery which meets the needs of all students.

  • Be clear and precise about the knowledge/skills you want students to learn, not what you want them to do.
  • Do the ‘so why?’ Activities, including homework, must be designed to facilitate learning and not to keep students busy.
  • There must be evidence of long-term planning, in schemes of work, and short-term planning in the planner.
  • Differentiation should be planned over time to ensure a ‘quality first’ approach which meets the needs of all students and groups and maximises the use of any additional adult(s) in the room.
  • Every class must have a seating plan on MINT class that accounts for their profile including the various groups (e.g. gender, ethnicity, SEN, PP).
  • All lessons must get off to a flying start, with students purposeful from the beginning.
  • Consider timings to ensure appropriate pace for the intended learning.


The frequency of planning will also be heavily debated. We do not want out teachers to produce individual lessons plans, and do not stipulate this for observations or Ofsted. The choice is for the teacher to provide this for any observer. I am not even asking our teachers to produce the 5 minute lesson plan!

I will share the fuller details of our policy; examples of our new teacher planner and evidence base for planning once the policy have been agreed by all our staff. I will also share the ‘teach’ section of this one-page synopsis/summary in my next blog and then publish the fuller details of our policy soon …

Feedback please in the comments section below … Like it? Tweet it.


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5 thoughts on “Learning Policy: Planning (Part 2 of 3) by @TeacherToolkit

  1. Interested to see how this develops. We are currently also going through a re-launch of our teaching and learning policy – having a development day today focusing on it actually. Ours seems to be developing very much along the lines of yours and like yours we are trying to get what was a turgid and dry document they gathered dust into something leaner but much more able to meet the needs of our teachers and using it to really reinforce the need for good quality medium term planning focusing on the skills we need our students to learn over time.
    Interested in your use of class mint – assume that’s a package you have bought into? At the moment I’m ambivalent as to how staff have a class profile – on paper, electronically or just in their head – provided they know their class inside out. More challenging at the start of a year though I admit!
    Looking forward to future posts.

  2. We have recently moved to mixed ability classes as opposed to streamed. Our focus for our staff days in August is incorporating differentiation into schemes of work. Any advice on best practice or what has worked well for you?
    Many thanks.

  3. Not trying to be negative, I generally find your posts very interesting. However, if I worked at your school, I would be a little annoyed to read this on the Internet prior to any actual consultation with middle management or an official launch.

    1. That’s fair enough. Remember this is not policy and staff will already be familiar with phrases/vision throughout 2014/15. This document just brings it all into one place for discussion and consistency for 2015/16. The document will change many times even after staff have seen it. By sharing it here, I hope to gather feedback to make ours even better, as well as share with others who may be in the same position. p.s and if staff do read my blog, I’d be delighted! Thanks for the comment.

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