The Essential Features of a Basic Teacher Planner

A teacher’s planner is one of their most vital tools for organising the school year. When setting up your planner, there are certain fundamental features that every teacher needs to properly plan lessons, track progress and stay on top of deadlines. 

We explore the must-have elements of a basic teacher planner that every UK educator should consider when looking for the perfect planner for the school year.

Why Go Back to Basics?

Many teacher planners are detailed and feature-rich. However, a basic teacher planner offers several key benefits:

  • Simplicity: Streamlined formats focus on user-friendly core functions rather than complicated layouts. This clarity and ease of use can help teachers plan more efficiently.  
  • Adaptability: With blank space and basic templates rather than rigid pre-filled pages, teachers can customise basic planners to suit their unique workflow needs.
  • Affordability: Pared-back features make basic planners a budget-friendly option for individual buyers or bulk school orders.

What Are the Must-Have Features for a Teacher Planner?

These are the core components that any good teacher planner should have:

1. 2024–25 Year Calendar

All basic teacher diaries should incorporate a year planner page with an overview of the year (from September 2024 to August 2025) to map out key school dates at a glance. Visually seeing holidays, exams and events on one page provides a high-level overview of the academic year, helping educators to plan long-term projects and assessments. 

Some planners will also come with termly or monthly calendar pages, which are useful for curriculum planning.

2. Weekly and/or Daily Spreads for Lesson Plans

This is where the heart of your lesson planning lies. Look for a teacher lesson planner with weekly spreads that offer enough space for detailed lesson plan entries, to-do lists and notes. Depending on your level of detail, consider whether you prefer a week-to-view spread or a dedicated daily planner layout.

3. Teacher Organiser Tracking Pages

Pages to support tracking student attendance, grades, IEP goals and more are also extremely helpful. These pages allow teachers to record details in one spot rather than flipping through multiple notebooks. Basic teacher planner tracking sections may include:

  • Class lists
  • Monthly planner assessment tables 
  • IEP monitoring
  • Pupil birthdays

Having all records in one centralised book simplifies data management and progress monitoring.

4. Communication Logs for the Academic Year

A dedicated space for logging various communications can be a lifesaver. This could include recording important points from staff meetings, following up on student progress with parents or keeping track of phone calls or emails with colleagues or administration. Having a clear record of your interactions ensures you stay on top of important information and avoid any misunderstandings.

5. Plan Book Notes Pages

Every teacher needs dedicated space for brainstorming, making lists, creating checklists or capturing important reminders. Look for a planner with blank or lined note pages at the back or interspersed throughout the weekly spreads. 

These pages can be a great space for:

  • Noting observations
  • Making reflections
  • Recording ideas for future lessons
  • Keeping track of helpful teaching and learning resources

What Makes the Ideal Basic Planner 2024–25?

Finding the perfect teacher planner involves understanding your needs, preferences and teaching style. These are some top factors to consider when making your selection:

Size: A4, A5 or B5

A4 planners offer ample space for detailed planning, while A5 or B5 planners are more portable. Consider your bag space and how much detail you typically record in your planner.

Dated vs Undated Teacher Planners

Dated lesson planners (e.g., a 2024–2025 planner) provide a pre-defined structure for the academic year, while undated teacher plan books offer more flexibility if you begin teaching mid-year.

Paper Quality

Opt for high-quality, smooth paper that takes pen or pencil well and resists bleed-through. This ensures your notes and plans stay clear and legible throughout the year.

Binding and Cover

Choose a sturdy wire-bound planner that opens flat for easy use or a loose-leaf binder for more flexibility. Look for a sturdy and durable cover you can wipe clean to ensure it will withstand the rigours of daily use.

Taking Your Basic Teacher Planner to the Next Level

Unlike digital teacher planners and some other designer planners, the beauty of a basic planner lies in its customisability. Here’s how you can make it truly your own:

  • Colour code: Use different colours for subjects, class levels or deadlines. For example, use blue for core subjects, green for electives and red for anything urgent.
  • Sticky notes and stickers: Flag reminders, deadlines or key sections with teacher stationery, like sticky notes or planner stickers. Sticky notes are great for brainstorming, while stickers add fun and functionality.
  • Washi tape: Personalise your planner with washi tape for colour-coding, creating tabs or adding some personality.

Beyond the Basics: Optional Academic Planner Features

While the core features listed above form the foundation of a teacher planner, there are additional features you might find helpful depending on your specific needs:

  • Habit trackers: These allow you to stay on top of your well-being with trackers for sleep, exercise and breaks.
  • Lesson plan templates: Some planners, including digital planners, offer customisable lesson plan templates, allowing you to tailor the layout to your specific needs. 
  • Seating charts: Use these pages to sketch out your classroom layout and experiment with different seating arrangements.
  • Goal-setting and reflection pages: Some personalised teacher notebooks help you set goals and track progress for continuous improvement.

Penstripe 2024–25 Teacher Planners: All the Essentials & More

At Penstripe, we’re committed to providing educators with high-quality planners that go beyond the basics. Choose from A4 or B5 sizes, spiral-bound or loose-leaf formats and 5, 6 or 9-period layouts to perfectly match your schedule.

Looking for a lesson plan book unique to your school? Our bespoke teacher planner service allows schools to incorporate a variety of additional content and design a custom cover to create planners that fully reflect your school’s identity.
Contact us online today to learn more about our teacher planner offerings and how we can support your school’s organisational needs. You can also call us at 0113 231 0995 or email