Curriculum development (Churchdown Village Junior School [CVJS], Gloucestershire)

Consultancy

And, more curriculum development today!  It was back to Churchdown Village Junior School (CVJS) just outside the city of Gloucester to work with Emma Aldred-Tow, a very experienced Geography Subject Leader, to see how we might make their current geography curriculum offering even better.  The school attained their Primary Geography Quality Mark (PGQM) Silver Award a few years ago and are going for gold this academic year.  Evaluating and revitalising their curriculum will be great evidence to include within their application too.

Following her Performance Management with the Head Teacher, Mr Mark Bacon, Emma was set a target to re-write the geography curriculum ready for a potential ‘deep dive’.  Emma felt that their current geography curriculum or the offering from Focus Education did not provide sufficient coverage and depth, so I was asked to pay a visit to support her with making improvements.

What a productive morning we had!  Three, undisturbed hours later and we had the whole school geography curriculum mapped, integrating some existing and new themes, but all leading with a key question to promote an enquiry-led approach to learning.  We considered opportunities to ‘take learning outside the classroom’/fieldwork to develop key geographical skills, as well as possibilities to invite guest speakers into school.  A couple of ‘geography days’ and a ‘geography week’ were identified too, in order to give the subject the recognition that it truly deserves.  Emma felt reassured that the National Curriculum Programme of Study for Geography had been covered and was pleased with our sequencing of units to ensure progression.  When looking at how to deliver each theme, we explored the leading subject associations’ websites, namely the Geographical Association (GA) (https://www.geography.org.uk/) and the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) (https://www.rgs.org/).  There were some high-quality, up-to-date schemes of work and accompanying resources to download for FREE, meaning that only a very small amount of the school’s geography budget had to be used to purchase any teaching and learning materials (more money, therefore, to spend on trips, visitors and events, which are all so impacting on youngsters).  Furthermore, I gave Emma a few suggestions of themed-related books/non-fiction articles to ensure ‘reading across the curriculum’ is clearly evident, in addition to highlighting how geography might contribute to ‘cultural capital’ and reinforcing the continual acquisition of subject-specific vocabulary.  Emma will also need to liaise with the Geography Subject Leader at their neighbouring infant school to discover what has been taught during EYFS and Key Stage 1 to avoid any repetition and be certain of progression.

Subject curricula are be finalised at the next INSET Day on 6th January 2020.

Afterwards, it will be time to test it out!  Curriculum planning is an ongoing process; there may be less successful items to omit, new opportunities that arise for insertion, learning may have been steered in a slightly different direction due to the unexpected or overwhelming enthusiasm and interest from pupils, etc.  Roll with it, Emma, and enjoy the journey that unfolds!

And feedback received on Monday morning:

‘I just wanted to say a big thank you for Friday.  It was so helpful to be able to have someone else to bounce ideas off.  Thank you also for the great resource ideas you gave me.  I feel very confident that the whole curriculum is being covered in a fun and enriching way.’

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