Primary Humanities Subject Leaders’ Network meeting, Gloucester Farmers’ Club


Time for our next meeting already?  Well, I wished to slot one in before SATs take over and teachers are unable to be released from schools, thus, with Easter being late and the May Bank Holiday fast approaching, the first week of Term 5 seemed to be my only chance.

Once again, the Gloucester Farmers’ Club gave us a warm welcome and provided an array of refreshments to keep us going throughout the afternoon.  This session was very much a working one from the participant’s point of view; I needed to ensure that they were all on top form, hence the additional home-made lemon drizzle cake and tub of chocolates that I brought along with me!  ‘Progression and assessment’ has been a theme suggested on a number of occasions; bearing in mind the reporting window will soon be opening for many, I felt it was now appropriate to explore these aspects of teaching and learning in more depth with local Subject Leaders, classroom teachers, NQTs and trainees.

After introducing ourselves, I outlined the aims of and proposed structure for our meeting.  Attendees were encouraged to become involved from the onset by tackling the following starter activity:

At this point, I also highlighted how the ‘question generator’ can be a fantastic way for setting up pupil-led enquiry.  It acts as a framework, helping pupils of all ages to ask better and deeper questions as part of an enquiry.  Students use the vertical and horizontal axes to create and apply questions.  I shared a simpler version that could be used with younger or less able pupils and a case study from Guilsborough CEVA Primary School in Northamptonshire, where Alison Pryce had utilised it in order to improve Year 1’s questions.

The main part of the session looked at Ofsted’s draft Education Inspection Framework (EIF) and the implications that this may have upon future progression and assessment in schools.  I concentrated on ‘quality of education’ and the three ‘I s’, namely ‘intent’, ‘implementation’ and ‘impact’.  In terms of ‘impact’, it appears that the focus will be on learners developing detailed knowledge and skills across the curriculum, and, as a result, achieving well and going on to destinations that meet their interests, aspirations and the intention of their course of study.  Schools will be judged on nationally generated performance data, as well as first-hand evidence of how pupils are doing.  I did, however, emphasise the increased attention being given to reducing workload and that progression and assessment should be made a manageable and not an onerous task for teachers.

Firstly, I discussed progression and assessment in geography, sharing resources from the Geographical Association (GA), Rising Stars (including insider information about their new series Rising Stars Geography and Rising Stars History to replace their former Voyagers material) and David Weatherly’s regional primary geography conferences, alongside a sample Key Stage 1 unit from Collins’  Primary Connected Geography.  I then concentrated on progression and assessment in history, steering delegates towards Jamie Byrom’s brilliant guide for schools, Rising Stars’ progression framework and material written by David Weatherly for Collins’ Primary Connected History.

Attendees were given time to explore the suggested web-links and resources and encouraged to ask questions, seek further advice, etc.  It is so important to allocate time for this within a meeting as teachers’ lives become all too consumed once they venture back into the classroom or home environment.  Additionally, it means that I get the chance to chat and build up a rapport with individuals.

Exploring web-links and resources, as well as sharing best practice.

Their hard work was rewarded with another round of refreshments.

I had planned for teachers to come together for a sharing activity, but the time had been taken up by some very lively discussion (blame Ofsted and their proposed Education Inspection Framework (EIF)!).  It was agreed that I should organise a further session, slightly longer in length, purely for this purpose.

I brought the meeting to a close with a ‘time for reflection’.

A number of their ‘question generators’ can be viewed below:

My final demand was the obligatory two post-it notes:

A productive afternoon for many it seems judging by their ‘concluding comments’:

Feedback from attendees:

‘Time to reflect on current assessment.  Good ideas/thoughts/resources about progression.’

‘Thought-provoking; resource-rich.’

‘Useful; further reading; reassuring; moderation.’

‘We’re all in this together!  Reflective.  Beneficial discussion time.’

 ‘Assessment – minefield!  Need to get staff on board.’

‘Overhaul of whole long-term planning needed.’

‘Not what I was expecting.  Feel no further along than before.’

Suggestions for future meetings included:

  • Sharing of assessment methods/assessment models.
  • Moderation of pupils’ work in geography and history.
  • Examples of work planning.
  • Support with generating a robust overview.
  • Continuous provision ideas.
  • Progression in schools – practical discussion/advice.
  • Identifying progression in books.

I will try to consolidate these ideas and share details of our next event on Wednesday 22nd May 2019 shortly.  I do hope that you are able to join us.

Many thanks to Terry and April at Gloucester Farmers’ Club for their efficient and friendly service, once again.


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