Planning a scheme of work
Reviewing or creating a scheme of work can often feel like such a daunting task that many subject leaders simply avoid it altogether and continue with a particular programme, long after it has passed its useful life. Another reason for avoidance is that teaching to a familiar scheme may feel comfortable and require less preparation in terms of teaching and assessment.
At the other extreme, some subject leaders spend so much time writing detailed schemes from scratch that they have no time for any other part of their role. There is a real danger here of the teacher becoming exhausted, most commonly in the autumn term when they first take on the leadership role.
So what is the solution? It is common for the task of revising a scheme of work to be left to one person who may be the only specialist or RE post-holder in a school. They may inherit a scheme which is unattractive and does not suit their teaching style. In this situation there may be therefore a strong temptation to throw the existing scheme away and attempt to start again. The short answer to this is, “Don’t” unless there is compelling evidence that it is seriously detrimental to pupil outcomes, in which case you must take action. However, even in this scenario, you do not need to resign yourself to burning the midnight oil and giving up any semblance of a normal life.
Review the scheme each academic year and set priorities for change over a reasonable period of time. ie not the whole scheme at once!
The process of leading and managing a scheme of work can be represented by this diagram. The sections that follow describe each of these steps in more detail.
Having decided on your priorities for producing or amending the scheme; consider who will do the amendments or drafting. Remember:
Share the load
Planning is part of every teacher’s work, so where possible share the load by asking other interested teachers in a primary school or teachers who teach RE including teachers with other specialisms in a secondary school to revise certain sections. - Work with others: in a primary school, work with co-ordinators of other subjects and in a secondary school; use the specialisms of your non-specialists where possible. For example: i. Could an arts specialist/co-ordinator improve an existing scheme by adding some carefully placed creative activities? ii. Could an English specialist/literacy co-ordinator suggest some useful elements to improve the outcomes in terms of literacy, especially with developing extended non-fiction writing or structuring examination answers? Is there another school in your local area for whom working together would be mutually beneficial? In a primary school, which local schools work in similar ways to you? In a secondary school, you might ask which local schools offer the same specification as you at examination level? If so, could you plan together? You may need to adapt material to suit your particular cohort, but if you are a single specialist department or a newly appointed subject leader, you may find this particularly useful
may not require as much subject specific expertise: If your review shows that differentiation is an issue, is there a SENCO or support teacher, who might begin the revision process and suggest some improvements?
et yourself and others reasonable but realistic deadlines for these tasks - Funded support: If there is a specialist Humanities College (secondary), Training School or Leading Edge School in your locality, that has a strong tradition of successful RE then do not be shy of asking if you can collaborate with them. They are funded to share good practice, so by making contact, you are helping them to achieve their outreach targets.
Is there a NATRE affiliated local group where you might meet a ‘planning partner’ for you and/or your colleagues?
Resourcing and planning religious education
The following documents comprise a studycommissioned by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and carried out during the academic year 2008-9 by the Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit to investigate the materials used in schools to teach about world religions as part of Religious Education (RE).