It was, once again, time for our next Primary Humanities Subject Leaders’ Network meeting (we are aiming to meet once a term/six times per academic year and managing to do so pretty well to date)! The theme for today’s meeting was ‘Planning a cross-curricular themed day or week (taking into account the revised Ofsted Inspection Framework)’, very topical bearing in mind the amount of discussion that has subsequently arisen following the release of the draft Ofsted Inspection Framework and its open consultation window (accessible until the evening of 5th April 2019). We were very fortunate to have the company and expertise of John Putley, the Hub Facilities Manager at the Gloucestershire Archives, too.
To begin with, I shared the aims of the session:
- To look at the proposed revisions to the Ofsted Inspection Framework and comments from educational professionals and think about the impact that this may have on curriculum delivery in your school.
- To consider how humanities can be the ‘steering wheel’ for ‘driving’ a connected and creative curriculum in primary schools.
- To offer some suggestions as to how to begin planning a cross-curricular day or week based around your chosen theme.
- To give you the opportunity to explore these and other ideas further, discuss proposals with myself, gather and share resources and design your own cross-curricular day or week.
- To be as practical and informal as possible, so that you are able to return to school with fixed ideas in mind and a wealth of materials and links to draw upon to aid your future cross-curricular day or week planning.
- To give you the opportunity to network with teachers from other schools (to share best practice and establish future rapport).
I provided an overview of the recently released draft Ofsted Inspection Framework and shared subsequent comments from educational professionals, including the Chief Executive of the Geographical Association (GA), Teachwire, Rising Stars, Schools Week, Third Space Learning and The Telegraph. Participants then attempted the activity below to ‘kick-start’ their thinking about a future cross-curricular themed day or week:
The main part of our meeting shared tips, templates, ideas, web-links, resources and examples of previous cross-curricular workshops or themed weeks (involving many schools, as well as just a single establishment) that have been hugely successful (e.g. cold environments/Arctic; climate change; India; sustainability; values; WW1; enquiry-led learning). I made sure that I built in plenty of time for teachers to explore, ask questions, seek specific advice from John and myself, talk to other professionals, etc. Being a fairly small group enabled me to spend time with most, if not all individuals; I regard this as extremely important if you wish to establish a long-term rapport with schools. It was so lovely to hear the enthusiastic, supportive conversations taking place between participants too.
The session was brought to a close with a whole group discussion and short post-it note activity. Firstly, delegates were asked to share their thoughts/ideas for a cross-curricular day or week within their school. There were some superb, original and topical suggestions made and I really look forward to seeing, hearing about, or even participating in, such events in due course. Secondly, teachers were asked to give some feedback linked to the meeting. They were instructed to take two post-it notes. On one post-it note, they were requested to sum up today’s workshop in five words/in a sentence or two (WWW/EBI). On the second post-it note, they were required to identify possible themes for future network meetings. They could add their name, school, position to each post-it note if they wished (this is helpful if I need to follow up any questions, points raised, etc.). Afterwards, they had to stick their post-it notes onto the backdrop as they left the room.
The feedback from attendees was extremely positive, as can be seen below. I think John enjoyed coming along to our meeting too. Perhaps, we will take one of our meetings to his ‘home’ at the Gloucestershire Archives once all renovations are complete? It would be great for teachers to experience all that the Gloucestershire Archives have to offer both individuals and schools … I found it fascinating when I visited as part of a HLF WW1 project that I steered in conjunction with Hempsted C of E Primary School and various community groups in the village back in 2014/2015.
Feedback from attendees:
‘Yet more useful links and contacts.’
‘Practical; informative; ideas; thought-provoking.’
‘Engaging; interesting; factual; good networking opportunity; knowledge-rich.’
‘Extremely helpful for gathering ideas.’
‘Interesting; valuable; making connections; skills; knowledge.’
‘Valuable ideas; chance to magpie ideas; inspired; learnt from others.’
‘Inspiring; knowledge-building; useful; ideas; time to chat.’
‘Informative; helpful; interesting; thought-provoking; geography-centric.’
‘Lots of fantastic resources and opportunities to support a memorable, cross curricular day or week.’
‘Interesting; fact-finding; good CPD; developed knowledge and understanding of new Ofsted Inspection Framework.’
Suggestions for future themes:
- Outdoor learning links to geography.
- Assessment in history.
- How does the new Ofsted Framework change inspection for Subject Leaders?
- Enquiry-based learning ideas.
- Assessing outcomes in Foundation subjects, e.g. EXP/WT/GD.
- Assessment – What does working at greater depth (in particular), working at and working towards look like in history and geography?
- Practical fieldwork skills and learning outdoors.
- Fieldwork – skills-based.
- Planning topic webs for the school curriculum.
- How to make history lessons even better.
- How does the Coordinator’s role fit into the new proposed curriculum, e.g. knowledge-rich with skills development?
Our next meeting is scheduled for late April/early May. Further details will follow shortly. Hope you can make it!