Children's progress to dictate lessons

20th October 2006 at 01:00
Teachers must respond to the children and be sure topics are understood

Primary teachers will be expected to plan fewer lessons in advance and respond to pupils' progress instead, under the new primary framework launched today.

Instead of planning lessons for the week ahead, teachers will map out topics to cover for several weeks, but prepare only two lessons in advance.

Once these are complete, teachers will be expected to review pupils'

progress and plan the next two lessons in response to their understanding of the areas covered.

Nigel Bufton, mathematics programme director for the primary national strategies, said: "Teachers tend to take objectives and race through them rather than focusing on what progress has been made and addressing things children don't understand. Our new cycle is plan, teach, assess, plan, teach, assess. Teachers should be thinking what kind of approach will help children best."

The 1,600-page framework also recommends that elements of the curriculum are taught earlier.

For example, the two, five and 10-times tables will be introduced in Year 2, while the calculator is recommended for use from Year 2 or 3 onwards.

Literary expectations have also been increased in response to the Rose review earlier this year, which examined how reading was taught. Now, children in reception and Year 1 are expected to recognise words, with basic reading skills in place by the end of Year 2.

Orders for the framework document have been received from every primary in the country except one. The entire framework is available online for the first time. Areas of learning are divided into teaching sequences, designed to last between two and five weeks.

"Teachers can use the whole thing, or choose sections and adapt them," Mr Bufton said. "But we encourage them to embed subjects over time."

Within these sequences, teachers will plan lessons at short notice.

Resources for each year group are accessible from the relevant area of the website. The aim is that teachers will be able to move easily between parallel units for different year groups.

"If some pupils in a class are advanced for their age, the teacher can look forward, to tailor the work for their abilities," Mr Bufton said. "And it will help teachers of mixed-age classes, who have struggled in the past."

An area covering the Year 7 curriculum will help primary teachers plan ahead and challenge particularly able pupils with relevant material. Sample test papers will eventually be available on the site. Teachers will also be able to upload their own resources for others to use and an interactive planning tool will help them prepare lessons.

Gayle Gorman, the senior regional adviser for the national strategies, said: "It's not a teaching manual. We're trying to support 21st-century teaching for 21st-century teachers."

The framework will be introduced over two years, with introductory sessions run by local authorities, to help heads and teachers understand how the website works. A handbook for heads will also be distributed by local authorities.

Chris Davis, chairman of the National Primary Headteachers' Association, said: "We'll have to see how it beds down. But it ties in with the move towards more creativity in the classroom.

"It's a little bit more open-ended, a little less dictatorial. It gives teachers more ownership of the curriculum." Leader, 20


* Teachers will be expected to map out a theme for two or three weeks, but only to plan a few lessons ahead at any time.

* Teachers will be expected to develop lesson plans in response to pupils'


* There will be increased focus on embedding knowledge by repeating topics covered.

* Children should know their multiplication tables, up to 10x10, by Year 4.

* Calculators will be introduced in Year 4, rather than Year 5.

* Children will be expected to calculate mentally with whole numbers or decimals by Year 6.

* Phonics expectations will increase for pupils in reception and Year 1.

* Word reading is to be separated from word comprehension.

* Children's use of ICT is to be embedded in both literacy and mathematics topics.

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