Today, it was off to a new school for me … the lovely Clifton High School in Bristol. My remit was to deliver a CPD workshop for local teachers to showcase some of the high-quality resources that have been created, recent multi- and single-school events that have taken place and future opportunities that are available in conjunction with the Wiltshire-based charity, Wicked Weather Watch (https://wickedweatherwatch.org.uk/). I was also joined by Vicky Oram-Ahern from Wicked Weather Watch (WWW) and Tom Walmsley, a freelance consultant, who currently works a couple of days each week with pupils at Clifton High School.
After welcoming everyone and introducing ourselves, I began by outlining the aims of the workshop:
- To look at Ofsted’s proposed revisions to the Education Inspection Framework (EIF) and comments from educational professionals and think about the impact that this may have on curriculum delivery in your school.
- To ‘unpick’ the National Curriculum Programme of Study for geography at Key Stages 1 and 2 and highlight how and where such teaching and learning fits in.
- To consider how geography can be the ‘steering wheel’ for ‘driving’ a connected and creative curriculum in primary schools.
- To showcase a scheme of work and accompanying resources, including many cross-curricular links, that have recently been produced in conjunction with Wicked Weather Watch.
- To provide you with a number of invaluable web-links and free resources, plus time built in to explore these and ask questions/seek advice.
- To give you the opportunity to network with teachers from other schools (to share best practice and establish future rapport).
The proposed structure for the morning was also shared with delegates, so they could see how practical and interactive the session would be:
- Overview: Ofsted’s draft Education Inspection Framework (EIF) and comments from educational professionals.
- Activity: Current links to the Arctic/climate change within own school curriculum.
- Exploration of National Curriculum Programme of Study for geography at Key Stages 1 and 2: possible links to the Arctic/climate change.
- Showcase scheme of work and accompanying resources (Wicked Weather Watch).
- Showcase Global Learning Programme, KS2 to KS3 transition project: Cirencester Deer Park School + Cirencester Primary School + Down Ampney C of E Primary School + Rodmarton Primary School.
- Showcase awesome Arctic adventure workshops.
- Share additional Arctic/climate change themed links (Arctic Alive; Viking lands; Expedition Greenland; Encounter Edu).
Break for refreshments.
- Activity: Let’s explore! (web-links and online resources).
- Activity: Next steps.
- Activity: A time for reflection (postcard and further questions).
Firstly, I provided an overview of Ofsted’s recently released draft Education Inspection Framework (EIF) and shared subsequent comments from educational professionals and organisations, 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 the Arctic/climate change and its relevance in school:
Delegates were keen to offer contributions to our group discussion. It was interesting to learn how differently geography is structured in schools, e.g. from a one term focus to its delivery through three related topics each year, and how little reference is actually made to the Arctic and climate change (the latter tends to be integrated into SMSC, Eco Schools and School Council).
Next, we explored the programme of study for geography at Key Stages 1 and 2, ‘zooming in’ on areas where the Arctic/climate change may be easily integrated. Teachers agreed that there were far more links than they originally thought! I also deemed it appropriate to share the GA’s fantastic assessment and progression framework (http://geography.org.uk/news/2014nationalcurriculum/assessment/#16850) with attendees. Whilst this document was produced a few years ago to tie in with the launch of the new National Curriculum, it is still hugely respected and widely referenced. It divides geography into three key aspects (contextual world knowledge, understanding and geographical enquiry) and clearly outlines the expectations of pupils at the end of each key stage. Many were unaware of such a valuable document; hopefully, it will support them with subsequent tracking, progression and assessment initiatives in their schools.
The main part of the workshop focused upon Wicked Weather Watch’s website and activities. Teachers loved the short movie clip about the Arctic (https://vimeo.com/190540080). I highlighted links to climate change in general and climate change within the Arctic, the updated Key Stage 2 scheme of work, including the new resources on Greenland, as well as particular references to sustainability and carbon footprint reduction. There are also numerous sources cited on Wicked Weather Watch’s website should teachers and students wish to explore such themes or issues in greater depth (https://wickedweatherwatch.org.uk/learn-more/further-information-for-everyone/). I also showcased several, recent multi- and single-school workshops for pupils that I have either instigated or been involved with (gosh, how many have been delivered now?). Various other Arctic-/climate change-related websites or resources were pinpointed too, such as the Canada-UK Foundation’s Arctic Alive (http://www.canadaukfoundation.org/arctic-alive/), Expedition Greenland: learning about sustainability through the Vikings (http://www.wilabonn.de/en/projects/723-expedition-greenlandsustainability.html) and AXA Arctic Live 2019 (https://encounteredu.com/live/arctic-live-2019).
The Eco Committee at Clifton High School very kindly offered to come along and serve refreshments. They also spent some time during the morning talking to teachers about their roles, responsibilities and involvement, both in and beyond school.
Afterwards, participants were given time to explore the many suggested web-links and resources. From experience, I believe this to be vitally important, otherwise teachers find their time is all too soon consumed with the routine planning, preparation and assessment and the ‘innovative’ is pushed to one side. It was great to see professionals discussing ideas and sharing best practice at this point too.
I used the below activity to bring everyone together again.
Some delegates’ footprints can be viewed in the following gallery. I look forward to hearing about, seeing and, perhaps, even being a part of their ‘next steps’.
In order to gain some feedback about the event and teachers’ wishes/needs, attendees were asked to pick up a postcard and complete the task below.
A few exemplar postcards can be seen here. I think you will agree that the CPD session was well-received by all.
‘Summing up’ the session in five words or a sentence or two:
‘Thank you so much for an amazing workshop as it was very inspiring and coincidentally fell right when I needed it, as I plan this year’s international week based around sustainability and climate change. ‘
‘Informative workshop, which highlighted the need for changes within the curriculum and how we could implement those changes.’
‘Inspirational; good insights; action and awareness; pro-active; small steps = long leaps.’
‘Informative; inspiring; useful; interesting.’
‘A very informative, well-planned session and you wouldn’t have known it was free! So many useful pointers. Thanks.’
‘Inspires a stronger focus on climate change and provides the reasoning and resources for doing so.’
‘The workshop invigorated my interest in teaching geography in my school. It gave me lots of new ideas for this and allowed me to mix with people who had similar interests. Subsequently, I have lots of new ideas and contacts.’
‘Lots of practical ideas for embedding geography across the whole school, especially with a focus on climate change and sustainability.’
‘Today’s workshop was invaluable as a geography lead because it gave me lots of ideas, resources, knowledge and enthusiasm.’
Further resources they would like Wicked Weather Watch to provide:
- High quality map resources and lesson ideas.
- Ideas as to how we can help stop climate change.
- Empowering children to make a difference, especially linked to the current student strikes.
- Antarctica activities/links to the Arctic, comparisons, etc.
- What does an Arctic/Antarctic explorer need to survive?
- More resources to support children to take meaningful action to offset their anxieties about climate change.
- Links to eco-schools and funding opportunities.
Wicked Weather Watch evaluation forms:
Participants were asked to rate each element of the workshop on a scale of 1 to 5 (with 5 being very useful and 1 being not useful). The average ratings are shown below:
- Starter: Ofsted’s draft EIF – 5
- Starter: Thinking about current school curriculum – 4.7
- Starter: The new National Curriculum for geography – 4.6
- Main: WWW resources – 4.9
- Main: Other resources (GLP, Arctic Alive, Expedition Greenland, Encounter Edu) – 5
- Activity: Let’s explore – 4.9
- Activity: Next steps – 4.3
Attendees were also asked what they enjoyed most:
‘Practical resources to use in school.’
‘The breadth of topics covered. The opportunity to network.’
‘Enthusiasm and clear information.’
‘So many useful pointers and resources; very engaging; interesting; great links.’
‘Resources – websites/video/information re: curriculum.’
‘Opportunity for discussion.’
The only suggestion for improvement was more accessible power sockets!
Other similar CPD events will be held in the south west over the next couple of months:
9.30 am until 12.30 pm on Thursday 4th April at Sir Thomas Rich’s School, Gloucester;
9.30 am until 12.30 pm on Thursday 6th June at The Royal High School (Preparatory), Bath.
Please e-mail Vicky Oram-Ahern at Wicked Weather Watch for additional information: firstname.lastname@example.org.