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Tips of the trade 45. Filing resources

We all use lots of worksheets and photocopiable resources, which soon grow into daunting piles of disorganised and unfiled paperwork occupying precious desk space and cluttering the classroom. It's easy - and inexpensive - to get organised using the following simple system.

Buy a lever arch file and fill it with plastic wallets. Divide it into sections for each group or subject you teach. Put a copy of each worksheet you use in the appropriate section of your file.

Mark a part of your filing cabinet "spares", and divide this into the same sections. If you don't have access to a cabinet, use a box file. Extra copies should be filed immediately, preferably during the lesson in which that resource is used. Use these spares for pupils who may have been absent or lost their original. At the end of the year discard or recycle your spares.

In your lever arch file, you will have built up a year's worth of resources. You should be able to locate any worksheet you want to use again; and you will have an empty drawer in your filing cabinet.

It's all good news for your declutter, clear-desk policy!

Katerina Ducksbury is head of English at Homefield school, London borough of Sutton. Have you any tips for new teachers?We pay pound;50 for all tips published.

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