Your views

12th June 2015 at 01:00

The best-laid plans aren't plans at all

Lesson-planning is a skill required of all teachers. Yet of the many lesson plans I saw in my career as both headteacher and local authority adviser, very few were effective in advancing pupils' learning. Indeed, the best plans were often the shortest: just outlining the intended outcomes and sketchy routes towards these. Successful lessons are ones where the teacher reacts to the pupils' responses, guiding them carefully in the direction of desired outcomes.

The emphasis on bespoke planning in recent times has led to an almost universal abandoning of textbook use. At a recent conference about maths teaching in Singapore, I learned how textbooks can be used effectively to support all teachers and learners equally. So maybe we need to look again at how textbooks can help, not least in saving teachers many hours of lesson planning, which often don't deliver good learning for pupils.

Frederick Sandall

Retired headteacher and local authority adviser

Short and tweet

Kids from Newmains Primary asking about my job. Thought my job title was First Minister. Sorry, @NicolaSturgeon!


Sorry, not allowed to send any more pictures of Wizard of Oz - rehearsals in lockdown! #lookinggood #hottestticketintown


P6 had a brilliant day at Bellahouston Academy. #smoothtransition


Great start to the day picking up my dissertation and then an interesting discussion about benefitpoint of homework with @royjosephharris.


Sam's exam tips 33: Once they're finished, forget them. Have a great summer. You've earned it.


Best first year at @CofGcollege with incredible lecturers for hospitality management, and incredible classmates, too.


As usual, conferences are about the connections you make with people, not the agenda. Thanks to everyone I met and bumped into at #edutechau.


Letters for publication in TESS should arrive by 10am Monday. Send your letters, ideally of no more than 250 words in length, including contact address and phone number, by email to or by post to TES Scotland, Thistle House, 21-23 Thistle Street, Edinburgh EH2 1DF. Letters may be edited

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today