Poor Preparation and Planning leads to Piss Poor Performance

When part of the military, we had many, many mantras.  One of the most important was the title of this story.  I’m sat by the side of the swimming pool at the moment and pondering.
1. How do you plan?
I start with the big picture. Years ago my geography team and I sat down and made a video based around our vision. Then we worked backwards. Our vision, simply was:
// be the best geography department in the country.
// high quality teaching and learning from lesson one of Year 7
// teach the hard stuff straight away.
Schemes of Work were written collaboratively in Google Docs and meetings were all around sharing ideas. I plan by talking to teachers about teaching. I don’t use a form. Everything is linked into the bigger picture, which ultimately is about:
// getting students to love geography 
// getting students to achieve more than they thought possible in the exam
2. Where/when do you plan?
Wherever it suits me. I’m never off duty and I plan when the ideas flow. That could be a quick audio note on my phone, or sitting down in a pub with my team. 
3. Which parts of the planning process generate the most value for you?
Thinking about the big picture stuff. Start macro then add activities and resources. I love weaving A’level stuff into key stage 3 and degree stuff into GCSE. The danger of focusing on individual lessons is that the learning journey is disjointed and doesn’t make sense for young people.
I am very proud of the 5 year learning journey we developed at Priory Geography
4. As a profession, do you think we’ve got planning right?
The act of telling people how to plan is what is wrong. There is no ‘one’ way in my opinion and great learning experiences start with an open mind and blank paper, not a proforma or a resource. I think there is far too much focus on the individual ‘lesson’ at the expense of bigger curriculum aims – start with the big stuff and then work backward.  It’s about the sequence of lessons, not the whizz bang performance.

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