Medium-term planning

Long-, medium- and short -term planning are reviewed fully in 'Reflective Teaching', Chapter 10. Authors who write to support an understanding of this process include Bennett et al., who analyse activities into five categories that remain useful in judging whether they are appropriately varied; Clegg and Billington (Reading 8.3), who show how resources should be seen to support a curriculum rather than as a means by which it is selected; and the ASE and NAAIDT, which note health and safety requirements for practical science and design & technology lessons.

Further, in providing an overview of the general principles of constructivist learning and teaching, Ager demonstrates how the idea of pupils' participation in their own learning need not be incompatible with planning and working in the context of a National Curriculum:

Bonnett focuses on the role of ICT across the curriculum.

In the context of the curriculum in England, the non-statutory Literacy and Numeracy Strategies (see above) and the Qualification and Curriculum Authority's Schemes of Work are of central importance. An interesting book by Moyles et al. examines key questions about interactive learning and effective classroom interaction in the context of the Literacy Strategy.

A number of authors question the efficacy of such developments. Amongst these are Davies & Edwards, who consider the growing tendency for the government in England to exert control over pedagogy in order to deliver 'standards'.

In addition, advice proliferates about ways to use subject texts in the Literacy Hour, and how to promote literacy objectives through work in a range of subjects - see Parkin & Lewis.

When a pupil complains that an activity is 'pointless', is 'boring' or that they 'don't see what it's for', then the curriculum is failing to satisfy the criterion of relevance. Motivation may fall and with it may go concentration, commitment and quality.

The importance of practical tasks in ensuring relevance for pupils is considered by authors such as Hunter & Scheirer, and Johnston, Chater & Bell examine how teachers can manage the whole curriculum and still educate the whole child.

For pupils with special needs, specific approaches to planning may be appropriate:

Work where subject boundaries are sometimes broken down has exciting potential, for pupils are very often interested by cross-curricular themes - see Siraj-Blatchford and Webb. In 2003, a key publication from the DfES suggests the possibility of a loosening of the subject-based approach to planning now adopted by most primary schools in England and Wales. Beyond subjects, there is increasing concern with teaching that addresses citizenship and values - see Bailey, and Holden and Clough.

Despite publications and statements from the DfES, Holden & Smith and Campbell & Neill point out that there may be problems as well as possibilities in such work.