How much lesson planning am I required to do?


You might feel you are required to complete too many lesson plans, are being asked to upload plans onto the share drive each weekend or are unsure of what the expectations are from the Department for Education (DfE).

In this article, we look at guidance from the DfE and Ofsted, whether you have to adhere to your school’s policy and how to raise a concern if you think the amount of planning is having a detrimental impact on your well-being.

What are the expectations from the DfE and Ofsted?

The DfE does not set any expectations on the content or amount of lesson plans which teachers produce. 

The DfE is focussing on ways to reduce the amount of workload in schools and has produced its workload reduction toolkit with practical resources and case studies for teachers and school leaders.

Ofsted has published a document which lists common misconceptions and myths on inspections. It explains:

“Inspectors must not advocate a particular method of planning, teaching or assessment. It is up to schools themselves to determine their practices and for leadership teams to justify these on their own merits rather than by reference to the inspection handbook.”

Ofsted does not specify:

  • The amount of detail to be included in lesson plans
  • The length of time planning should take
  • How planning should be set out

During Ofsted inspections, inspectors do not expect to see individual lesson plans or lesson plans from previous lessons.

It explains that inspectors are interested in the effectiveness of planning rather than the form it takes.

Do I have to follow my school’s lesson planning policy?

Your school or department might have a lesson planning or teaching and learning policy which will outline details on expectations.

For example, you might be required to use a set pro forma to plan lessons, or submit a set amount of lesson plans each term as part of the appraisal process. 

Expectations will differ from school to school with some schools having very few expectations at all. As an employee, you will have to abide by your school’s policies and procedures otherwise you could be subjected to the disciplinary process.

If you feel that your lesson planning requirements are excessive you could have an informal discussion with your line manager or headteacher to express your concerns. If you do not feel your concerns are appropriately addressed you can contact us for further advice and support.

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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
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