Diary of an NQT: My first scheme of work

Written by: Diary of NQT | Published:
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Working in a department that shares resources and planning, our NQT diarist is excited to be given his first scheme of work to plan and create...

In collaboration with another NQT colleague, I am currently writing my first full GCSE scheme of work. As I have mentioned in previous entries, my department is very generous in terms of sharing lesson plans and resources. Each of us takes responsibility for writing a scheme of work that can then be used by everyone in the department. This collaborative approach works well as it drastically cuts down the amount of planning we have to do.

During my ITT year, I wrote a sequence of eight GCSE lessons on the Korean War as part of the larger Conflict in Asia topic, but this is my first experience of creating an entire scheme of work from scratch. The scheme we are writing focuses on Norman England between 1066 and 1100.

This topic will be familiar to most history teachers as students normally study it in year 7, but this is the first time that anyone in my department has taught it at GCSE level. It will be the last topic that this year’s GCSE cohort studies before their final exams.

I like the fact that my year 11 students will have already studied the topic during their first year, as it gives circularity to their experience of history in high school, neatly tying together their five years of studying.

The task of writing the scheme seemed daunting at first, but working with my fellow NQT has made the experience much easier and more enjoyable than I thought it would be. Our first job was to sit down with the AQA content specification and break the scheme down into a structure of lessons.

We initially aimed to plan 30 lessons on the topic, but further discussion with our head of department has led to us condensing this down to 25 lessons. It is crucial to consider how much curriculum time is left before the end of the course and tailor the number of lessons to fit this. Once we had a set idea of how to structure the scheme, we began to plan the lessons, breaking them down into groups of five.

One of the most laborious aspects of planning a scheme from scratch is the finding or creating of resources. We purchased the AQA Norman England textbook to help with this, and there is also lot of material available online, although this varies greatly in quality and relevance.

However, my colleague attended a training course on writing the scheme, and was kindly given access to AQA’s Google drive of resources, which has proven to be a treasure trove of useful material. Having access to strong resources is invaluable and makes the planning of each lesson much less time-consuming.

My colleague has planned the first five lessons, focusing on life in Medieval England prior to the Norman Conquest. I am currently writing the next five lessons, dealing with the events of 1066, including the Battle of Hastings and its immediate aftermath. I am enjoying writing the lessons, as it is an opportunity to implement my own teaching ideas into the scheme of work. It is crucial to be varied in the teaching and learning activities included in the scheme, making sure that all of the content is delivered in an accessible, engaging way.

The writing of the scheme is proving to be very rewarding. I specialised in Medieval history at university, yet have not had much chance to use my knowledge due to the limited amount of Medieval content on the curriculum. It is nice to revisit a time period that I am passionate about, and I am looking forward to delivering the lessons to my students.

  • Our NQT diarist this year is a teacher of history at a comprehensive school in the North of England.


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