This quote is a neat way of encapsulating what I believe is the way that teachers and schools should approach the use of schemes of work.  We all know that there are a huge number of challenges facing teachers – all the more so in the post-Covid classroom – but schemes of work, if used wisely, can assist in lightening that load.

A good scheme of work will enable you to tap into a wealth of resources produced by (depending on the scheme) a range of expert teachers, child behaviourists, creative talents and curriculum specialists, so what’s not to like about that?  Few people would see any sense in preparing a year four lesson from scratch on the “Romans in Britain” when this has been taught thousands of times in thousands of schools already – indeed probably since the Normans invaded!

However it’s important to see a scheme of work as ‘resource’ not as something that is to be copied verbatim. What you as teacher bring to the classroom is a unique understanding of your pupils – only you will know what approach will work with all the various personalities and skill levels in front of you.  A scheme of work should therefore be seen as a flexible, adaptable framework rather than a rigid set of rules dictating how you run your pupils’ day.  That ability to adapt, tailor and make it yours is one of the most important features of a well-designed scheme, and indeed a great teacher.

Primary school teachers are confronted with an extra on-going challenge, that of assimilating the vast amount of subject knowledge needed to teach around ten different subjects to a high level.  To my mind this is where the benefits of a good scheme of work can kick in and save a huge amount of both administrative and research time in lesson preparation and in school leadership too.  No longer is it necessary to start from a blank sheet of paper, which can be particularly stressful if working on the edge of one’s comfort zone (which for me is anything to do with French!).  Instead, a primary school teacher can pick and choose what they need from the vast array of schemes that are out there.    

Not only can schemes of work help the teacher they can also be a valuable planning tool for the school as a whole.  Many a time I’ve been called in as a supply teacher to find that no-one other than the now absent teacher knows what the class is supposed to be doing.  Having a set of recognised schemes used by a school makes it much easier for a supply teacher to pick up the threads and minimise any disruption to the class.  

So where best to look for a scheme of work?  There are a number of resources available such as and  This latter website was in fact created by me out of the desire to find a definitive list of schemes of work for the primary school curriculum.

I hope you’ll find one out there that’s sufficiently flexible for you and your pupils’ needs.  As the old adage says, ‘adapt and survive’!

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