Preparation for Teaching and Learning – Guidance for All Primary and Special Schools

What are the new guidelines on planning for primary school teachers?

It’s a question that I am sometimes asked, but not as much as you would imagine. This is because it went under the radar for many during Covid-19 and school closures, but the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) released new guidelines in relation to the above in April 2021. The following is a brief summary of that main things that you need to know. The full document, as well as FAQs and webinars can be found on the NCCA website here.


The main points:

  • There is a move away from the use of the term “planning for teaching” and a move towards calling it “preparation for teaching and learning
  • Preparation for T&L includes ALL of the activities undertaken by the teacher in their preparation for teaching, not just their written/ recorded planning.
  • There is an acknowledgement that preparation for teaching and learning occurs before, during and after teaching and that it includes invisible, visible, and recorded The below diagram explains what is meant by this:


  • The 3 elements of preparation (invisible, visible and recorded) are equally valued. Therefore, the inspectorate will not only look for your planning documents, but will also take into account your work on the other areas.


  • There are also 3 “Pillars for Preparation for Teaching and Learning” which will inform your preparation:


  • There is an emphasis on “teacher agency” i.e. the capacity of the teacher to make professional decisions based on a sound knowledge of what is contained in the above pillars.
  • When speaking about your preparation for teaching and learning, you can describe to all of your work within the above pillars.
  • Furthermore, there are 4 sources of evidence which demonstrate a teacher’s preparation for teaching and learning. The inspectorate will consider these 4 ways in which preparation can be demonstrated during inspections:

How can help?

The good news is that ALL of the work undertaken by teachers in preparing for their teaching is now being taken into account and valued by the inspectorate. The bad news is that written preparation is still necessary!

To help with the written preparation, provides fully editable planning templates and examples which save you time. They provide a starting point from which you can quickly and easily tailor the plans to the specific needs and context of your class.

For instance, the long-term plans for mainstream class teachers contain all of the curricular aims and learning objectives/ outcomes so you can don’t have to spend hours retyping them. You can simply amend the aims to match your own school’s context, and if you wish, specify which learning objectives/ outcomes you will focus primarily on for the school year.

The plans also contain a wide range of suggested learning methodologies, assessment methods and integration opportunities. Again, you can choose which ones fit your class the best, and simply delete, amend or add as you see fit.

Finally, the plans contain suggested learning activities or experiences to give you an idea of what sort of content may be suitable for a particular class level. Again, you can edit and amend this quickly and easily to reflect your own class context and add any publisher schemes or other resources that you want to use.

All of this saves you hours at the computer so you can spend more time on the multitude of other important aspects of teaching and learning.   

New for October 2022:

We now have new templates and sample competed long and short term preparation documents based on the above guidance! Click here

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