One of our experienced UK Trained teachers has kindly written some resource material for you that you can copy and upload.   Our schools request that you have 'gap fillers' when supply teaching, please help yourself to these useful tips, resources and websites.

Lesson Outline for Key Stage One (KS1) and Key Stage Two (KS2)
From year one up to year 6 the current guidance given to the majority of teachers usually divides lessons into four distinct parts. The planning across London schools varies greatly so this short introduction should be used as a guide only.


To start, use a short activity, this should last for roughly 10 minutes. This may relate to the lesson objective but it does not need to. Make it something exciting, engaging and stimulating to gain pupils attention.


The second part of the lesson is the main teaching session. There should be something interesting given which ‘hooks’ the children into learning more about the subject chosen. The teacher should then carefully guide the children through the objective for the lesson. This is important as it outlines what the children should be learning. In many schools it is also common to use ‘Success Criteria’ which show what the children need to do to achieve the objective.

After the objectives have been outlined then the teaching part of the session should occur. During teaching as many different strategies should be employed as possible i.e. a kinesthetic, auditory and visual mixture to appeal to a multitude of children. Try to keep a good pace during this session to maintain children’s attention. If they go ‘off task’ it is often because they are disengaged - if this happens, adopt a new style or approach.


Next, the children are set an activity which is based on the objective for the session. They should be able to complete this based on what you have taught the children. It is usual for a teacher to support one group and the teaching assistant another, whilst the rest of the children complete the activity independently. However, in some schools it is usual for a teacher to circulate the class - ensuring all are on task.


At the end of the session occurs the plenary. A good plenary should reinforce what the children have learnt, reflect on how successful they were at the session and extend their thinking upon the subject taught. Again, try to make this so it makes use of a variety of learning styles.

KS1 and KS2 Subject Guidance


If you have more time to plan in the morning you can choose something that will build on what the children have previously been learning. There are plenty of ideas contained within websites like Primary Resources and Times Educational Supplement (TES), (See list of useful websites). As we all know, you can never fully rely on technology so, just in case, here are a few tried and tested ideas!

Year One/Two


 The alphabet word race. Encourage the children to take it in turns to say a word starting with a letter of the alphabet

 How will you get across the river? Ask the children to think of as many ways to get across the river as you can. The children can start off giving very simple ideas like, ‘use a boat.’ Then, sometimes with a few prompts to use their imaginations, the idea builds to ideas such as, ‘use rocket boots to fly across!’

Main activities

 Recounts. Ask the children to re-tell what they did at the weekend. I would model this and give them sentence starters to help using: What, Where, When, Who and Why. E.g. ‘At the weekend, I went to…’, ‘I went with…’ ‘We went because…’

 Re-tell a story. With the children read a book and add a little numbered sketch on the board for each part of the story. As a class, use a sentence for each picture to help re-tell the story. Next, get the children to use these pictures, to tell the story to their partner. The children could then create a sentence for each part of the story for their activity.

 Setting Descriptions. Show the children a big picture of a setting and words to help on the board. Try to make it a familiar setting so they have the words to help describe it. Get the children to think about what they can see, hear, smell, touch and taste in the setting. Model the sentences for the children e.g. ‘I can hear…’, ‘I can touch’…Then set the children the task of writing sentences about another setting you put up on the board.

Year Three/Four


 Animal Alliteration. Give the children a letter from the alphabet, firstly come up with an animal that starts with that letter, and next come up with a few adjectives and verbs. Finally, put these together e.g. mean mouse munching, malicious moose mimicking. Set the children the challenge with a new letter.
 Imaginative nouns. Show the children a picture of a noun e.g. a moon. Now ask the children to come up with as many new ways of seeing a moon as they can e.g. a moon is…an eyebrow, a smile, an earring etc

Main activities

 Animal Acrostic poem. Following on from the animal alliteration game, this can then by made into an acrostic poem e.g. an athletic ant acting. A brave bear boxing. A cautious cat cartwheeling. Take this as an opportunity to remind the children of when to use ‘an’ and when to use ‘a’

 Setting Description. Choose a picture of a setting that will capture the children’s interest such as a painting by Salvador Dali. Begin by naming the nouns in that setting. When a noun is named ask the children to extend with an adjective and a verb. Have the TA write these onto the board e.g. ‘The melted watched stopped ticking.’ Now pause and explain that we can improve the sentence by adding a connective so the sentence becomes, ‘The melted watch stopped ticking because…’ ask for the children’s ideas- the more inventive the better…so perhaps, ‘because the battery had stopped’ but maybe more interesting, ‘because it was bored.’ Continue in this manner and then show the children a new image and get them to create a series of sentences about the image.

 Character Descriptions. Show the children a description you have written of a character e.g. ‘She flies across the night sky on a broomstick. Her hair is as black as the night. Everyone says she is very ugly because she has a wart on her nose. When she cooks anything she uses a large cauldron. Her favourite animals are cats, bats and toads.’ Ask the children if they know who the character is. How did they guess? As a class choose another character to describe using the same sentence starters. Get the children to choose their own character to write about. A fun plenary would then be to get the children to read their character descriptions to one another to see if they can tell which characters they have invented.

Year Five/Six


 Quick sentences. Ask the children to think of a number between 5 and 10. Ask the children to share the number they thought of, then on individual whiteboards come up with a sentence that contains that number of words. E.g number= 5 ‘Monkeys swing through the trees. ‘You can make the sentences relate to the topic the children are studying too. So if the topic was Ancient Egypt and the number 4: ‘Canopic jars contain organs.’

 Kung-Fu punctuation. Teach the children the different actions for each of the punctuation marks e.g. full stop: a punch and a ‘huh’ noise, a comma: a slash through the air and a ‘ssshhh’ sound, an exclamation mark: a line drawn through the air with a ‘shhhh’ sound and then a full stop punch accompanied by a ‘huh’ noise etc. When taught, read through a passage putting in the punctuation in the Kung Fu style.

Main activities

 Mr. Zigger and Mr. Zagger. Show the children the video of Mr Zigger and Mr Zagger by Pie Corbett (see the list of useful websites). Watch this a few times and then focus on the part where Mr. Zigger and Mr. Zagger meet. Use this as an opportunity to model how to correctly use speech marks and as a class create a conversation between Mr. Zigger and Mr. Zagger. The children now create their own conversation between the characters.

 Playscripts. Take a well known story such as ‘Cinderella’, ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ or ‘Jack and the Beanstalk.’ Recap on what happens in the story and then write the opening to it in play script format. Model part of it, pointing out and using all the conventions required.

Guided Reading

Do find out what the usual routine is for this subject as there is a great variety of ways this session is delivered across London schools. A session normally lasts around 30 minutes, but some schools this subject may last an hour.

Often, the groups will have a pre-set book which they will either read independently, answer questions,or complete a short activity on it. The class will usually each have an individual reading book which they may read in the ‘Guided Reading’ session. Some children may listen to the story on CD or go onto the computer to research an aspect of their book.

If nothing has been left for you, use this opportunity to share a book with the class. As the book is read, ask simple comprehension questions and then ask the class to complete a short activity based on the book.

For year one and two, the children may write or tell you what they liked or disliked about the book, act out a favourite part with a partner or draw a part from the story that was read. These activities may also be appropriate for year three classes too.
For the older year groups I would set them something a little more challenging, such as writing a short diary entry from a point of view of one of the characters, creating 5 questions to ask the author about the book which has just been shared or summarising the story.


For children in year one and two, a phonics session is usually about 15-20 minutes, often built in as part of an English session. However, for many schools this session continues into year three too.

Try and discover what phase the children were on and use the session to revise what they had been learning.

There are many different phonic schemes currently being used across London primary schools. One of the most popular is the ‘Jolly Phonics’ programme, see link in ‘Useful Websites’.


In the older year groups, the time taken for phonics is replaced by a spelling session. Again, there is a huge variety across many of the schools but a tried and tested method is to say the word given first. Explain it’s meaning to the children, giving examples of its use in a sentence. Next encourage the children to clap out each syllable as the word is said then draw as many lines on the board as there are syllables. After this, get children to tell you which set of letters should go into each part. Finally, rub out the word from the board, say it again and tell the children to write the word and then put the word into a sentence of their choice. When you see the children are all busy writing their sentence re-write the word on the board so they can check they were correct. Share examples of sentences created to show comprehension.

A helpful list of spelling and phonics words produced by Bellenden Primary School which is available on ‘Primary Resources’, see link in ‘Useful Websites.’

KS1 and KS2 Subject Guidance


If no plan or resources are available, here a few tried and tested ideas!


Each of these starters can be adapted according to the different year groups.

 Counting aloud. You may use the resource of a counting stick or number square which will be visible in most classrooms to count aloud. Count in 2s, 5s and 10s with year one and two. In 3s, 4s, 6s and 100s with year 3 and 4. In 7s, 8s and 9s with Year 5 and 6. Do count up as well as down. If you find that the class find this easy start from another number e.g. count in 3’s from 1 so: 1, 4, 7, 10, etc…

 Shape guessing game. Year one and two; Have a feely bag full of 2D shapes for the children to describe the number of sides that they have. Can the children guess the shape from the number of sides it has? Replace 2D shapes for 3D shapes for year 3 and 4 and extend with asking for the number of edges and vertices. Ask the children in years 5 and 6, to ask questions themselves to determine the shape which it is. Recap on the link between faces, edges and vertices.

 Mental addition/subtraction. Have a list of questions using appropriate numbers for each year group to complete in a few minutes. When the children have completed these, ask the children how they solved the problem rather than answer straight away. You will find that children will use different strategies- encourage this but focus on the ones that are most efficient.

 My secret number. Explain that you have a number written down on your post it note and the children’s challenge is to discover what it is. You may only answer yes or no and each time a question is asked a tally mark will go on the board. Play this a few times and watch the children improve their use of questioning.

Main activities

 Problem Solving. An example of a ‘stand alone’ session is to teach Problem Solving. There is an excellent booklet entitled, ‘Mathematical challenges for more able pupils’ which is freely available by using the link contained within the useful website section. As the title suggests, this booklet was originally designed to stretch higher achievers but is actually great to develop all children’s problem solving skills. Start the session with an introduction to problem solving and then look at solving one problem as a class before setting the activity of solving another in pairs with a piece of squared paper to jot down ideas. I would also show the children how to record the answer and a short explanation of how it was attained.

 Maze maps. Teach directional phrases appropriate for each year group e.g. left, right and straight, north, south, east and west or co-ordinate phrases such as A5, B4, or (1,2), (9,10). Now using this knowledge model how to produce a maze map. Model how to write directions to get out. Children then design their own. For the younger children it has been fun to build the maze a pairs using cubes and then to direct a cube through, taking it in turns to say the directions needed. This does need careful modeling first.

 Symmetrical Robots. For year 3 onwards creating symmetrical pictures can be a good stand alone session. Model for the children how to create a symmetrical robot or alien and then the children create one of their own.


KS1 and KS2 Subject Guidance

Foundation Subjects

Stick to the timetable for which lessons the class would normally have. Here are the majority of lessons you may be required to teach; History, Geography, Science, Art and Design, Design Technology (D+T), Personal Social Health Citizenship Education (PSHCE), Physical Education (PE), Music, Religious Education (RE), Information Technology (IT) or even A Modern Foreign Language (MFL). This is not an exhaustive list, however, I have taught sessions on subjects like Philosophy too!

In most schools, if these subjects are not covered in a cross curricular way and taught discreetly, the planning for each half term will already be in place.

If there is no plan in place, you can use one of the recommended websites to find an interesting stand alone session to do or simply use your imagination!

Teaching Acronyms - ATL - Association of Teachers and Lecturers, D+T - Design Technology, EAL - English as an Additional Language, FS - Foundation Stage, IT - Information Technology, IWB - Interactive Whiteboard, KS1 - Key Stage One, KS2 - Key Stage Two, LSA - Learning Support Assistant, MFL - Modern Foreign Language, NASUWT - National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, NUT - National Union of Teachers, PE - Physical Education, PSHCE - Personal Social Health Citizenship Education, RE - Religious Education, SEN - Special Educational Needs, TA - Teaching Assistant, TES - Times Educational Supplement

Useful Websites
There cannot be enough praise for this website! You arrive at a school, there are no plans left but at least you know the topic - use this website for Power Points, Smart board files and activity word documents.
Above is the TES main page where you can search for resources but I would also head straight to the link below which outlines many great ideas for what to teach within all subjects for each of the different year groups.
A range of resources including articles, radio and video clips as well as activities for all of FS, KS1 and KS2. There are a diverse range of topics which are covered so this is well worth a look.

A primary school website which has a fantastic range of resources for subjects across the curriculum.
A list of ideas for the different year groups is included in this helpful guide.
Mathematical challenges for able pupils for each of the year groups 1-6.
A guide to the phonics programme ‘Jolly Phonics’ and a very good Jolly Phonics video which could be used in Reception or Year One.
Pie Corbett’s video of Mr. Zigger and Mr. Zagger
Support Information
Recommended Reading
The TES (Times Educational Supplement) has a good range of articles under the heading, ‘A Supply Teacher’s Survival Guide.’
Written by a former supply teacher, this article offers, ‘practical hints and tips’ for new supply teachers.
A good set of tips for new supply teachers.
Gillard, D. (2003) The Supply Teacher's Lot
This is an amusing article about a day as a supply teacher. In the article, the author asks the children to ‘sit at their tables’ which, as you can imagine is not a clear enough instruction. Instructions need to be given very clearly by: defining the seats to sit in, a reminder of what to do when sitting down and if it is not done correctly it will need to be repeated.

Printed texts
• Rogers, Bill (2003) ‘Effective Supply Teaching’ Paul Chapman publishing, London
Full of very informative case studies of aspects of a supply teachers day. Although parts of the book focus on High School aged students the advice is still relevant and useful within a primary context.

• Dougherty, Martin (1998) ‘The Art of Surviving in Supply Teaching’ The Cromwell Press, Towbridge
This guide begins with outlining the need for temporary staff as well as how to get started and look for work. A useful guide for anyone who wishes to become a supply teacher.

• Vickers, Alison (1995) ‘Supply Teaching - Bright Ideas’ Scholastic, Warwickshire
A brilliant guide to the different year groups with ideas listed in topic format.

• Selman, Mary Rose and Baird, Mary (1986) ‘Primary Teachers' Handbook’ Oliver and Boyd, Edinburgh
This slightly older guide is very similar in content to the one written by Alison Vickers. It still holds some useful tips and information such as, “the secret of enjoying supply teaching must be in being organised, enthusiastic and confident in what you are doing.” Another good piece of advice it contained was, “the greatest assets of a supply teacher are adaptability, flexibility and a sense of humour.”

• Cowley, Sue (2010) ‘Getting the Buggers to Behave’ Continuum International Publishing Group, London
‘’This book provides plenty of information on the basic of behaviour management, lots of tips for controlling your classes, and ideas for managing the physical aspects of the classroom environment. The ideas and advice given are based on common sense observations and strategies that have worked for me," Sue Cowley.

• The Times Educational Supplement (TES)
This is published once a week and contains up to date articles on a range of educational issues. Most schools have a copy delivered but you can also pick it up from any good news agents.


Photocopiable Resources

Checklist for arrival, photocopiable resource

o The class timetable

o What planning and resources have been left

o The behaviour policy

o The school layout (where the toilets, staffroom is etc)

o The fire policy

o Where the register is kept and how it is completed

o Where the children are collected from at the start of the day

o The TAs and LSAs in the class

o A list of pupils with SEN

o A list of pupils with EAL

o Any health needs in the class

o Who the school first aiders are and the Health policy