At the School Planner Company, we recognise the challenges schools face when implementing new tools and strategies. When you decide to introduce planners into your educational setting, it’s about more than just handing out a tool; it’s about integrating an effective system for organisation, communication, and learning.
Our planners are uniquely designed to seamlessly fit into any school’s daily routine. For schools looking to bridge the gap between home and school communication, our planners serve as an invaluable asset. Many of our satisfied clients have shared their success stories, highlighting how the decision to introduce planners has enhanced home/school interactions, leading to improved student outcomes.
Taking the step to introduce planners requires a thoughtful approach, and with the resources and guidance we provide, schools can ensure a smooth transition. Trust in the School Planner Company to be your partner in this transformative journey, ensuring every student benefits from this organised approach to learning.
Every planner that we produce at the School Planner Company is unique and tailored to ensure that it really does make a difference to the day-to-day running of things.
A large majority of our customers report an improvement in home/school communication – something which is of vital importance to attainment and pupils’ educational outcomes after they introduce planners.
“ (the planners)…..Form an integral communication tool between home/school. Allowing all to know key information.”Paul Burgess, Charnock Hall Primary Academy
The reason that communication is improved so much after you introduce planners is because, quite simply, everyone uses them. The students, the teachers, and the parents and carers at home, all use the planners and so everyone is on the same page.
Not only this, but the planners can be designed for each year group or key stage, so they are completely relevant to all who use them.
It is essential then, that all those mentioned above understand how the planners work and the intention behind them. We have written this guide to help you communicate and introduce planners with all those in the school community and at home exactly what the planners are, how they work, and how to get the best out of them.
How effective use of the planners can help support school systems
When implementing school systems and policies, consistency is key. The planners have proved highly effective in supporting these systems, as the rules and methods of the school are reflected in the designing of the pages.
You can choose each page to reflect a variety of systems such as:
- Mentoring process
- Home-school communication
Using the planner pages to support each system – such as a page for recording rewards, or a homework diary, for example, keeps everything tidy and in one place. It also allows all those using the planners to find information quickly. This helps to keep up to date with the systems that ensure the school runs effectively.
Designing the planners
When designing student planners within a school, consulting those who will use them most is the first step – teachers, students, tutors, parents, and support staff.
Begin by highlighting their value, what their purpose is and give examples of the pages that could be included within them. Be open to answering any questions and taking suggestions on which pages should be included. Make it an open conversation about how to design and implement the planners.
Remember that it is a resource for the whole school community and the more that this community feels part of the design of the planner, the more likely they will be to use it.
Designing teacher planners
Our teacher planners are a great resource for managing a busy workload and keeping on top of the to-do list. They can be made to complement the student planners by containing some of the same information – such as policies and important information specific to your school.
Again, working closely with the teachers who will use them will allow you to produce a bespoke product that is actually used by the teaching staff and will help them to stay organised.
When explaining how the planners work to teachers, it’s important to give more detailed instructions on how the planner supports learning and can influence revision, homework etc, or whichever pages your planners contain.
Open the opportunity to answer any questions that might be asked around use and what is expected. Doing this initially will make it clear how they are to be used.
How to Communicate the Finished Product
When you first introduce planners into your school, or if you have recently reviewed and amended them, it is important that you communicate a strategy for using the planners with all of those who are intending to use them.
Go over the planner in its entirety, perhaps have a live demonstration on how they work after you introduce planners. Communicate how to use them in a variety of different ways:
- Send a letter home to parents
- Have a demonstration one day after school for parents to attend
- Talk about them in the classroom with the class
- Talk about them in assembly
- Have information on the school website
- Have a how-to leaflet to refer to
Using whatever your usual communication method is or having a mixture will make sure the message is received. It might be a good idea to send a follow up message if you are concerned your first communication might have been missed or ask for a receipt/signature.
How to introduce planners to parents, teachers and students
Each school is part of a community, and only you will know the best approach to communicating with all those using the planners after you introduce planners. When sending out letters and emails, keep the tone light, friendly, and informative. If some parents and carers speak languages other than English as their main language, then have the information translated.
Keep communication simple and to the point after you introduce planners. Use a clear layout with bullet points. Busy teachers and parents won’t have time to read pages of information and might lose interest if it is too wordy or complicated.
Start by reflecting on what you’ve done with the planners and get a clear picture of how they should be used. We suggest starting using the following structure to communicate how to use the planners:
- Your planner is designed to …
- Remember to …
- It’s important to …
- To get the best from your planner …
It might be helpful to include example use cases for each of the sections that make up your planner, this will help those reading understand how it will be used.
Why not include a memorable acronym. This can be an engaging way of breaking down uses and could be referred to regularly in the classroom as a reminder.
How the Planners Help to Promote School Values
When communicating with parents, teachers, and student, mention how the planners can support your core school values to highlight how your planner can help the overall school.
In a previous blog, we looked at the importance of values within a school. Used correctly, the planners can help the school to achieve these values through the consistent implementation of various systems, as mentioned above, such as behaviour management and rewards.
Pupils and teachers can check that they are on track with what the school has laid out as important.
“They support our school ethos and bring the learning experiences together for all.”Lisa Tabbner, Summerfields Primary Academy
Expectations of Planners Going Forward
Once you introduce planners and everyone understands how to use them, it is crucial to set the expectations going forward. If you plan to create rules surrounding what is expected after you introduce planners, make this clear.
Perhaps you would like students to bring their planners to school or have a parent/guardian sign to confirm they have reviewed a piece of communication. Ensure this is outlined clearly, emphasised, and can easily be referred to.
It’s important to include a page of expectations in the actual planner when you introduce planners so that everyone has access to it. This could be in the front or back section, so it’s easy to find. Make sure to section off who specific points are addressed to – students, teachers, or parents.
Web pages are also helpful for referencing to parents specifically and can be updated any time in the year if they need amending after you introduce planners.
A great example of this is Campsmount Academy in Doncaster, which has a clear web page outlining their use of their planners.
Reviewing Your Planners
As with any resources, rules or systems within a school, regular reviews need to be made. Are the planners still working well? Could new pages be added or are some pages not being used as much as you had thought? Do the expectations need to be redefined?
There are bound to be some issues as well as successes, and both need to be considered. One of the things that our customers like about our product is how easy it is to amend and tweak the content of the planners – they are designed for each individual school and so they can be changed from year to year to accommodate each different school and their needs.
Of course, we are always on hand to answer any of your questions and help in any way that we can. We have dedicated advisors who can help you in the design of your planners.
You’ve spent a lot of thought and effort creating the perfect planner, so enjoy seeing them get used to their full potential.
In conclusion, introducing planners into your school is a multifaceted process that goes beyond merely distributing a tool. It involves integrating a comprehensive system that supports organisation, communication, learning, and the promotion of school values.
Our guide aims to assist you in effectively communicating and introducing planners to all members of the school community, ensuring everyone understands their purpose, how they work, and how to maximise their benefits.
Remember, the success of the planners lies in the hands of those who use them – students, teachers, and parents. Therefore, it is crucial to involve them in the design process, set clear expectations, and provide ongoing support and guidance.
Additionally, it is important to regularly review the effectiveness of the planners and make any necessary adjustments to ensure they continue to meet the needs of your school community.
At the School Planner Company, we are committed to supporting you every step of the way. Our dedicated advisors are here to help youcreate the perfect planner and ensure its successful implementation and use.
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