How do teachers decide what to teach?

Please note: The change in government means that many of the initiatives discussed on this page may no longer reflect government policy and may be subject to change as the new Government forms its policies

  • Teachers spend a lot of time in preparation and planning for delivery of the curriculum.
  • Many still base their planning on the QCA Schemes of Work, but many also now develop their own units and themes. Key Stage 4 teachers plan to cover content in exam specifications.
  • Teachers review and develop their planning to take into account new opportunities, resources and changing pupil needs.
  • Effective plans take many forms, but show clear objectives and how these will be achieved.
  • Most schools work with three levels of planning.

Long-Term Plans

  • Show how units of work in a subject are sequenced and distributed across years and Key Stages.
  • Make decisions about the order/timing of units in a subject.

Medium-Term Plans

  • Use a planned sequence of work for a subject (or for more than one subject) for a period of weeks, such as a half term or term, or for a number of lessons.
  • Are based on units from the Schemes of Work as they contain much of the information needed for this level of planning. (Not all schools will do this.)

Short-Term Plans

  • Detail a set of activities for a week, a day, or a lesson.

What can museums do?

  • Consult your local schools to find out when they plan to deliver aspects of the curriculum which you might support. That may be standardised units or units they’ve developed themselves.
  • Contact schools before the school year begins, i.e., in May/June if you wish to timetable an event or exhibition aimed at them for the following year.
  • Think about any cross-curricular aspects your museum may be able to support.

Schools are increasingly looking for ways to link up the different curriculum areas. Museum collections are ideal for supporting this integrated approach. For instance, a visit to a museum to study Victorians might support history and:

  • English (speaking, drama and creative writing opportunities)
  • science (materials)
  • maths (counting, measurement)
  • technology (how things are made and move)
  • Information Communication Technologies (research from websites)

Websites: