Setting cover work at secondary

Resources team
18th October 2019
Teacher planning for her cover lesson

Take the stress out of writing cover lessons with these ready-to-use activity ideas for a range of subject areas

Making sure that cover lessons are both valuable and interesting can be hugely time-consuming, whether you’re a supply teacher or a teacher having to set work. To make the process simpler, we’ve hand-picked six of the very best resources to make sure your students remain stimulated and engaged.


Whole School 

A Pack of Supply Cover Lesson Plans and Worksheets - no prep, ready to use, for any subject!

So, you're sick? Off on a course? Out on a school trip? Or maybe you are the supply teacher and no cover work has been set, or the students finish the work far too early. Either way, there is always the hassle of setting inspiring cover work to keep the students on task and interested while still making the lesson worthwhile.

Fear not, as in this quality, compelling resource there are over 50 lesson ideas that can conveniently be used for any subject; the best part is, they don’t need any preparation on your part!

Included are extra black line worksheets (ideal for saving you money on printing) to accompany the lesson plans if you want to use them, with clear step by step directions for what students need to do on each.

Product Includes over 50 different lesson activities including:
• Creative writing
• Character analysis
• Comic strip
• Website designing
• Debating
• Design own theme park
• Robot designing
• Superhero designing
• Creating jingles
• Sentence starters and endings
• A day in the life of
• Design own sport
...and more!

Remember, these activities have been uniquely designed in a way that they can be appropriate for any subject area without needing to adapt the resource! Each lesson plan actually contains a variety of different options as well, offering so many alternatives and extension ideas! They are so simple, easy and ready to use for any subject with no preparation needed.

So next time you’re panicking about what to set your students, ensure you download this resource and save yourself loads of stress and time! Simply hand to the cover teacher and be on your way, no other work from you is required!

Minimal preparation for maximum fun!


• If you choose to download this resource, please take the time to leave a rating - I do really value your feedback and I always look forward to reading what you think about my resources! If you have any questions about this resource or anything else, you can email me at

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By TeachersResourceForce

Cover Lesson Ideas For KS3 - Fun Teaching Tips

A selection of quick and easy lesson suggestions which don't require resources or preparation, for use when having to do last minute cover. Created jointly with member Clarerees.
By anna_wex

Lesson Planning: Pick 'N' Mix Tool

A single, all-encompassing Power Point containing a wide range of cooperative and engaging learning activities for starters, main learning and plenaries.

How to use it?

*Open this original Power Point. At the start there is a lesson introduction slide, then activities are split into starters (blue), main lesson activities (orange), and plenaries (red). At the end there is a page complete with embedded timers.
*Select starter, main and plenary activities that are relevant to your lesson focus (Pick ‘n’ mix). Copy and paste those slides into a new Power Point to use within your lesson. Select a timer where required.
*You could print a selection of slides to be made into a classroom display and allow students to choose their own activities.

By AFenton92

Cover catch-up sheet

I designed this sheet to give to all of my classes after I was in an accident and missed 3 weeks of lessons.
Even though I had set cover work, this sheet worked really well in letting me know where the kids were at and how they were doing. Much easier than going through 250 books!

Run as a 20 minute start to a lesson with their books closed.
Then pounced on students to read aspects of theirs out - Chose a HA, Middle and LA to get a feel for the group.
This was then to inform future planning for the following few lessons.

NOT SUBJECT SPECIFIC - can work in all classes.

I hope this makes your return to work as smoothly as it made mine!

By Andrew Higgins

English and Humanities

English Cover KS3

English cover for KS3 lessons that includes:

2x Analysing fiction texts (English Language Paper 1 Q1-3)
2x Analysing non-fiction texts (English Language Paper 2 Q1-3)
2x Descriptive/narrative writing (English Language Paper 1 Question 5)
2x Non-fiction writing (English Language Paper 2 Question 5)
3x Unseen poetry lessons (English Literature)
3x Shakespeare lessons (Extracts from The Tempest, Henry V and Richard III)

14 cover lessons with differentiated activities, scaffolds, easy-to-follow instructions and designed so non-subject specialists can teach them. Really useful for setting last minute cover and ensuring the lessons are challenging, meaningful and engaging.

They are designed to help support students at KS3 as they move from Year 7, 8 and 9 into KS4 and Year 10 and Year 11. Adaptable for KS4 classes, too. All extracts are included.

Check out our English Shop for loads more free and inexpensive KS3, KS4, KS5, Literacy and whole school resources.

Or check out some Citizenship GCSE, RE, PSHE + RSE resources at EC Resources

Find many more resources at

By Lead_Practitioner

Creative Writing: Fiction Prompts

10 visual prompts for narrative/story writing. Great for a one-off lesson or cover work. (KS2/KS3/KS4)
By jamestickle86

KS3 English Cover Pack

I was struggling to find a decent pack of cover lessons for English that was full of engaging material that would last a whole lesson, as there is nothing worse than waking up ill and having to set cover work. So I decided to make one.

There are 14 activities in total, covering the following topics

  1. Unseen Poetry (2 lessons)
  2. Shakespeare (2 lessons)
  3. English Language Paper 1: Question 5 (2 lessons)
  4. English language Paper 2: Question 5 (2 lessons)
  5. Class Reader Novel (1 lesson)
  6. Text comprehension (English language Q1-3 style) (2 lessons)
  7. Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar Quiz
  8. Subject Terminology Word search & Cross word

Each activity is designed to fit on one sheet to make it easy to print straight from PowerPoint. Minimal teacher input is needed in case a non-specialist cover teacher is supplied. The slides could also be printed off and used as homework or extra revision materials.

Also included, is the PDF version of the PowerPoint slides.

You can find my KS4 cover pack here:

Please also take a look at my other resources.
Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

By PateResources

English Cover KS4

KS4 English pack:

English cover for KS4 lessons that includes:

2x Analysing fiction texts (English Language Paper 1 Q1-4)
2x Analysing non-fiction texts (English Language Paper 2 Q1-4)
2x Descriptive/narrative writing (English Language Paper 1 Question 5)
3x Non-fiction writing (English Language Paper 2 Question 5 - speech, article, writing to advise)
3x Unseen poetry lessons (English Literature)
2x Macbeth lessons
2x Romeo and Juliet lessons
1x Power and Conflict
1x Love and Relationships

17 cover lessons with differentiated activities, scaffolds, easy-to-follow instructions and designed so non-subject specialists can teach them. Really useful for setting last minute cover and ensuring the lessons are challenging, meaningful and engaging.

They are designed to help support students at KS4 so Year 10 and Year 11 and for their English Language and English Literature exams, but can be adapted for Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9.

Check out our English Shop for loads more free and inexpensive KS3, KS4, KS5, Literacy and whole school resources.

Or check out some Citizenship GCSE, RE, PSHE + RSE resources at EC Resources

Find many more resources at

By Lead_Practitioner

History Cover Work

Easy to use source work history cover lessons. All you need to do is print them out and leave them with the cover teacher - all the instructions are on the worksheets. This bundle doesn’t contain any of our previous material so you don’t need to worry about students having already completed any tasks,

Each pack includes:
4 or 5 sources
3 worksheets
8 tasks in total to work through

Check out loads more history and geography resources - both inexpensive and free at our store: HISTORY GEEKS

Or check out some Citizenship GCSE, RE, Tutor Time, PSHE + RSE new Curriculum 2020 resources at EC Resources

If you’re also teaching Citizenship GCSE or PSHE next year, why not join our Citizenship and PSHE teachers Facebook group, with almost 4000 other teachers, for guidance, advice and resource sharing.

By History_Geeks

Site & Situation on the Fortnite Map - Perfect Cover lesson

They went nuts for this…works as a cover lesson too… the students love it. Who’d have thought site and situation could be so engaging!! Classes in other years wanted to give it a go too!

Students use the Fortnite map to choose & justify (using a set of criteria) the best site for a settlement.
Great cover lesson to keep them engaged

Adjustable for all ages and abilities. Includes a word document, important site factors - resources, flat land, trade, slopes etc - to help students make an informed decision, map. A box to complete the task in. Easy to photocopy

Plug and play …You are good to go…

Includes extension task about geographical landforms

By jmcilvee1

Maths, Science and Computing

Emergency maths cover lesson? Enrichment materials

Ready-to-go, standalone enrichment activities.
These are NOT simply colouring-in or wordsearch activities!
Rather they are an attempt to productively use any spare curriculum time, perhaps when a colleague’s lesson needs cover and it is not practical to organise suitable work.
Can use as whole class activity or extension materials for individual students.
Single-page copy makes ideal for use as an emergency cover lesson.
Suitable for all year 7 to year 11 classes.
Answers included.
Please leave a review or constructive criticism below.
I have plans to make more of these if anyone finds useful.

By Jon O'Neill

Some useful cover work, based on COUNTDOWN

Three lessons worth of cover, if you ever run out of ideas and are short of time.
These are based on the COUNTDOWN game on television.
Difficulty ratings are shown for each question so students can work on their desired level.
By WrightMaths

40 Science worksheets

Was £10, now £5. Used in over 1000 schools worldwide. A big price drop on our top download to help people prepare for going back to school. 40 science worksheets plus 3 complementary posters. This big bundle of documents is ideal for when you are looking for an introductory lesson, an extension activity or a hassle free substitute lesson. Also suitable for Home-schooling. Each document provides background information and visuals on a particular topic along with a supporting worksheet which challenges the student to expand on the information provided. 40 individual print friendly for ease of copying, these documents can simply be handed out to students and require no explanation. A great resource to have at the ready for when illness strikes and you are understaffed. This resource runs to over 200 pages of information and activities. The 40 topics covered are;

Alpha Beta Gamma Radiation
Bee Decline
Big Bang Theory
Body Image
Chemical Weapons World War 1
Drugs in Sport
Engaging in Science
Environmental Issues
Global Warming
Health and Fitness
History of the Atom
Hurricane Matthew
International Space Station
Life Beyond Earth
Lifecycle of a Large Star
Lifecycle of a Medium Star
Medical Imaging
Mission to Mars
Modern Chemical Weapons
New Cancer Treatment
Nuclear Weapons
Planet Earth
Power of Social Media
Science of Christmas
Science of Color
Social Media
Solar Power
The Moon
The Solar System
The Sun
Wildlife Decline
The free themed posters are … The Moon, The Sun and The Big Bang. Cool visuals and student friendly facts. Simply print them out and put them up in your classroom.

Suitable for students aged 10 to 15. We hope that you find these resources really useful.

By Start Education

KS3 Computing Cover Lesson - No prior knowledge required. Driverless Cars.

This is a computing driverless car themed cover lesson with a workbook for students to complete. There is a comprehensive worksheet with many tasks to keep everyone busy. students will love to complete this cover lesson. It has royalty-free pictures present throughout the tasks and workbook.
Hope you enjoy the tasks!
All feedback gratefully received, thank you.
By Leetax


POP ART can design cover lesson / homework sheet

Worksheet for students to design their own pop art inspired can linking to artist such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.
Written Task and keyword bank on work sheet.
great for a cover lesson or even a homework task to support next lesson.

Photo Credit
All images available for free public use
Clip Art - Pixabay
R Evans own - Photoshop files

By rvevans88

15 Art cover work / cover lessons - Tried and tested worksheets

15 Art emergency cover lesson / extension worksheets designed to improve drawing and designing skills.

These are tried and tested worksheets that pupils will find engaging and challenging.

By mr.simon.bull

PE cover lesson

**PE KS3: Student 7 Page - Work Booklet ** Different types of sports

7 PAGE study work booklet of classroom-ready activities, exam practice, cre8tive activities that will enthuse and engage students, and ensure they get the most from their physical education studies - could be great cover work to set a class FUN/C8F/TL/03

It can be used to revise this topic, through a range of stimulating exercises, encouraging discussion and liven up lessons through structured engagement between students. (All paid for Booklets come in editable versions as well as PDF)

This 10 Page Work Booklet Contains:
o Rugby, Netball and Football Cube Activity 3 x3 (Higher Ability
oRugby, Netball and Football Cube Activity 2 x2 (Lower Ability
o Cricket, Athletics and Volleyball Cube Activity 3 x3 (Higher Ability
oCricket, Athletics and Volleyball Cube Activity 2 x2 (Lower Ability
Blank Create your own 3 x 3 cube
Blank Create your own 2 x 2 cube
o Minimal preparation required – Just print and go!

You may also want to check out these other great Physical Education resources:
Physical Education GCSE Quiz - Christmas
PE Christmas Jumbo Pack
KS3 and KS4 PE Christmas Quizzes
Guess the Sports Quiz
PE Escape Room
PE Cover Lesson
PE Escape rooms Bundle

By Cre8tive Resources

KS3 Devising Drama Cover / One off Lessons (x5)

There are five one off or cover lessons included that have been written for KS3 Drama. Each lesson has tasks and learning objectives. Included in the resources are:

A Day in The Life of a bully (Devising)
MacBeth' s Witches
Stereotypical Characters
Haunted House
Social Media (No.2)


Spanish Cover Worksheets

A set of 13 time-saving worksheets to set quick, simple cover work. Suitable for younger students. Each worksheet includes bilingual vocabulary lists and simple activities (with instructions in English) for the students to complete at their own pace.
By corcuera

House & home cover work

Worksheets created as cover work for Y7 on House & Home.
By rosaespanola

Hobbies and sports cover lesson

Seat work, easy! Runs itself!

By davidwicks

German Cover Work Perfect Tense with Haben PowerPoint

PowerPoint to go with my double sided cover worksheet for a more interactive cover lesson. Answers and other useful vocab provided for non-specialist cover teachers. Ideas for open ended tasks provided at the end as an extension or for early finishers. Concentrates on the perfect tense with haben, regular and irregular past participles. Instructions, activities and answers can be projected. Work sheet also available to purchase separately.

By Vicky79

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