Bullet journals? Give me ‘the grid’ any day

Love him or loathe him, Alistair Campbell, Tony Blair’s chief spin doctor, helped bring some much-needed organisational discipline to New Labour, particularly in its messaging.

One of the ideas with which he is credited was the introduction of Number 10’s ‘grid’. The grid coordinated government announcements to deliver maximum impact and avoid own goals. (This writer suspects the grid has yet to reach Mr Williamson’s Department for Education.)

As a teacher and as a head of department, I have for several years used the grid to organise my months, terms and year. It gives me and my department a clear sense of direction. It is nothing fancy: just a table on a Word document with a crude code and various key dates. My personal one starts looking something like this:

The empty grid

At the start of each term, I flesh it out with key detail. Generally, I begin with exam classes: I add what I can in terms of mocks, exam dates, and study leave. I’ll also add in parents’ evenings, report deadlines and anything else that might be useful.

An unfinished example (parents’ evenings, internal exams, report deadlines are all missing, but you get the idea)

Thereafter, I’ll get into the nitty gritty and start working out roughly what I am going to be teaching each week, what homework to set and when to run assessments. As it takes shape, it will begin to look something like this:

Starting to flesh things out

Each Friday morning, I will review and adjust and then look to the month ahead, trying to anticipate any surprises.

It is, for my money, far simpler than a bullet journal – and I suspect just as effective.

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