Lesson planning

16 June 2023

Preparing to teach for September

Melanie McGhee

School Support Officer

How do you make sure that you’re prepared for teaching in September?

Whether you’re embarking on your first position in a school as part of your teacher training programme, or as an ECT, changing schools or broadening what you teach, it’s important to be prepared for the September ahead.

With so much variety in departments, schools and trusts, it’s important to start the academic year on the right foot to pave the way for success - both for yourself and your pupils.

In this blog, we’ll explore how you can prepare yourself ready for the start of the autumn term by getting a head start on planning and building your understanding of:

  • Your school's approach to pedagogy
  • The content you will be teaching
  • The colleagues you will be working with

Get a head start on lesson planning

If you've started planning lessons for next year, why not check out the thousands of free lesson planning and teaching resources.

  • Search by subject, topic or key stage
  • Choose from slide decks, worksheets and quizzes
  • Download and adapt them to your needs - they're editable!

Explore our resources.

Your school’s approach to pedagogy

Schools are a rich, varied tapestry within the education sector. You can smooth your transition into teaching for autumn by clarifying three aspects about your school; how it's unique; the approaches to teaching and pedagogy; and what lesson expectations are. Let's take a closer look as some key questions you'll want answers to...

How is my school unique?
What is distinct about the local demographic, history and culture? Clarifying this will not only help you to adapt your overall curriculum, but also your lesson planning and teaching resources. This knowledge can also help you to relate to your pupils and build bridges with parents and carers.

What are the approaches to teaching and pedagogy?
Every school will have its individual priorities and goals for the year ahead, with specific needs from its teachers. It’s worth finding out what’s important to the school at this moment in time and how you fit into this.

In addition, each school will have its own educational philosophy and pedagogy. This will be central to your day-to-day life as a teacher, so it’s important to feel confident and familiar with your school’s values.

What are the lesson expectations for teachers?
In addition to having a broad philosophy, each school will have a unique outlook on what good teaching looks like and how each lesson should be structured.

Do your lessons start with knowledge recall or alternative stimulus? Does your school dedicate a particular amount of time to deliberate practice? What is the school’s policy regarding the layout of dates, titles and work?

By finding out before you start, you can get ahead with prepping for your school’s lesson expectations and incorporate this into your lesson planning.

The content you will be teaching

When you’re preparing for the year ahead, it’s important to gain confidence in your subject knowledge ready for a smooth start in September. A few things you’ll want to think about include the content you will be teaching, your current subject knowledge and exam board specifications.

A clear guide of what you will be teaching
Knowing exactly what topics, and when in the year you will be teaching them, is going to help your planning immensely. By knowing in advance, you can complete pre-reading, prepare your curriculum and teaching resources, and gain confidence within your subject or key stage.

To get a head-start on planning, you could search our teaching resources by subject, topic or key stage to find what you need, then adapt them to suit your pupils.

Subject knowledge audit
Once you know what you will be teaching, take some time to diagnose any knowledge gaps that you have. By auditing what you need to deliver against your current knowledge, you can assess your strengths and weaknesses. This will allow you time to close any gaps that become apparent.

If you have knowledge gaps, we could help you to close them ready for the classroom. Read our six top tips for becoming confident in a new area of teaching.

Working with colleagues

Working closely and collaboratively with colleagues is essential to helping your pupils progress and to settling into any school. Your colleagues can offer a wealth of knowledge, wisdom and experience that will enrich your teaching practice. Here are some of the ways you can work with your colleagues...

Shared resourcing
Your colleagues may have curriculum designs and teaching resources that they are happy to share with you. This collaboration can really boost both parties, as it saves you time and imparts expertise.

It can also be really enriching to see how varied a set of teaching resources can be when utilised by a different teacher. No two teachers are the same - seeing how differently they bring to life identical teaching resources is empowering, inspiring and time-saving.

Familiarise with the needs of pupils
Your colleagues may have knowledge of the pupils you are going to teach. It could be valuable to share knowledge about:

  • What the pupils’ strengths are
  • What they found challenging
  • What teaching strategies have helped them to progress
  • Who they work well with
  • What topics you covered and what knowledge they will have

Subject knowledge
If you find that there are gaps in your own subject knowledge, your colleagues might be able to help you close them. They might be able to have useful discussions with you, recommend or lead personal development or point you in the right direction for brushing up on particular topics or skills.

Colleagues may also allow you to observe lessons to see the school ethos in action. If it isn’t possible to observe colleagues in person, you can always use our videos to observe hundreds of experienced teachers model delivery of clear explanations and instructions.

Helen, a teacher and mentor for trainees, uses our lesson videos herself and recommends them to her mentees as a reliable source of modelled examples of explanations.

Sign up for updates on our new curricula

This year we release brand new curriculum plans for English, history, geography, maths, music and science. During the 2023-24 school year we'll roll out teaching resources for every lesson and unit in the plans.

Sign up below to be kept updated on our latest curriculum developments and other helpful content by email. Unsubscribe at any time. Read our privacy policy.

Sign up for Oak updates