A warm welcome awaited us at the Gloucestershire Heritage Hub (https://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/heritage-hub/) on Thursday 16th January 2020 for our third Primary Humanities Network meeting of this academic year. Previous Wi-Fi issues had been resolved, so we were able to use the new Dunrossil Centre as our base for the afternoon. Despite many schools being involved in Young Voices, the turnout was still very encouraging; over 20 individuals from a variety of schools across the county, many ‘regulars’ and a few new faces too.
The focus for today’s meeting was ‘Ofsted’s new Education Inspection Framework (EIF) and the 3Is – Part 3’. The aim was to think about ‘implementation’ once again, but this time the meeting was to be less jam-packed and fast-paced to enable participants to reflect on their whole school curriculum offering, seek advice about the delivery of specific units and share best practice with others present. Through both my suggestions and the shared experiences of others, it was hoped that participants would return to school with further ideas to support their continued whole school curriculum planning and development.
To begin with, I shared the aims and proposed structure for the meeting, namely:
Next, I asked individuals to set themselves three SMART targets, e.g. three things that they hoped to achieve by the end of the afternoon.
A few minutes were spent highlighting the latest developments relating to Ofsted’s new Education Inspection Framework (EIF). I suggested that individuals review Ofsted’s social media presence on a regular basis, along with Gloucestershire County Council’s Schoolsnet Bulletin. They should also frequently visit the leading subject associations’ websites, e.g. Geographical Association (GA) (https://www.geography.org.uk/), Royal Geographical Society (RGS) (https://www.rgs.org/) and Historical Association (HA)(https://history.org.uk/) to see what support they are offering. I discussed the situation regarding the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) reforms (the consultation closes at 11.45 pm on 31st January 2020) and linked to a couple of recent articles concerning ‘deep dives’; one that appeared in Teachwire (https://www.teachwire.net/news/6-ideas-for-taking-a-curriculum-deep-dive-with-resources?utm_source=teachprimary&utm_medium=20200103&utm_campaign=newsletter) and another published by Third Space Learning (https://thirdspacelearning.com/blog/ofsted-deep-dive-questions/?utm_campaign=06_12_2019_Ofsted_Deep_Dive_Blog&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Pardot&utm_content=text). Stuart Tiffany had produced a movie clip about his recent experience of an Ofsted inspection under the new framework and I showed the first half of this during our meeting (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgMF1Xq3z9w&fbclid=IwAR0CeOzBjg5qMiBNdeoqh-w-PeifOw51b8y2qI7Y5KAfe_FgmDpFxeVb4qQ); if teachers wished to learn more, then they could watch the remainder in our ‘break out’ time or at home later.
The main part of the afternoon concentrated upon implementation; coverage, sequencing and progression, as well as suggestions for schemes of work, resources and websites linked to popular themes.
I projected a couple of different ways in which schools might display their whole school curriculum map for geography, history or humanities (https://twitter.com/m_chiles/status/1180860906244321281 and https://www.risingstars-uk.com/subjects/historyandgeography). I then proposed that individuals had their school’s geography, history or humanities curriculum map in front of them and that they scrutinised it as I unpicked the National Curriculum programmes of study for geography and history in turn (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-curriculum-in-england-geography-programmes-of-study/national-curriculum-in-england-geography-programmes-of-study and https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/239035/PRIMARY_national_curriculum_-_History.pdf). Once again, I referred to key documentation about progression that has been released from both the Geographical Association (https://www.geography.org.uk/download/GA%20Assessment%204pp%20flyer-3.pdf) and the Historical Association (https://www.exeter.ac.uk/media/universityofexeter/collegeofsocialsciencesandinternationalstudies/education/pgce/pre-coursedocuments/pre-coursedocuments2018-19/Progression_in_History_under_the_2014_National_Curriculum.pdf); mostly for the benefit of any newbies to our network.
Next, I shared my ‘go to’ websites and resources for when I undertake any curriculum planning. These included teaching resources on the Geographical Association’s website (https://www.geography.org.uk/teaching-resources/early-years-and-primary-resources), as well as useful items that I have purchased from their online shop (https://www.geography.org.uk/Shop), e.g. books from their Geography Plus and SuperSchemes series, in addition to four of ‘The Every Guides to …’ . The search facility on the Royal Geographical Society’s website is a real asset too; there are some superb schemes of work, accompanying resources and exemplars of pupils’ work to download (https://www.rgs.org/schools/teaching-resources/?). The primary section on the Historical Association’s website has some great resources (https://history.org.uk/primary). Teachit Primary (https://www.teachitprimary.co.uk/), The School Run’s Homework Gnome (https://www.theschoolrun.com/welcome-homework-gnome), The Week Junior Schools section (https://www.theweekjuniorschools.co.uk/lesson-plans), Encounter Edu (https://encounteredu.com/teacher-resources/geography), TUI’s Better World Detectives (https://www.tui.co.uk/better-world-detectives), Wicked Weather Watch (https://wickedweatherwatch.org.uk/teaching-resources/), English Heritage (https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/learn/), Schools History Project (http://www.schoolshistoryproject.co.uk/resource/1-primary/), Rising Stars’ new History and Geography (https://www.risingstars-uk.com/subjects/historyandgeography), Collins’ Primary Connected History and Geography (http://davidweatherlyeducation.co.uk/images/collins-history-and-geography-connected-brochure.pdf), Wildgoose (https://www.wildgoose.education/usa/back-2-frontthe-americas and https://www.wildgoose.education/maya/back-2-front-the-maya in particular), B&C Educational (especially https://www.primary-school-resources.com/product/naples-campania-region/), Keystage History (https://www.keystagehistory.co.uk/), Oddizzi (https://www.oddizzi.com), Digimap For Schools (https://digimapforschools.edina.ac.uk/) and Data Nation (https://datanation.edina.ac.uk/) are all well worth perusing. Most of the resources are free to download; if any financial investment is required, then it is usually very minimal.
After refreshments had been served, there was plenty of time for independent exploration and sharing of best practice. I gained a few new links too as I circulated around the room and chatted with individuals. Emily Hastings, from Acting Up Theatre! (http://www.actinguptheatre.co.uk/), had also joined us this afternoon, so she was able to provide some ideas as to how drama might be integrated into history and geography themes. Furthermore, I highlighted the FREE school workshops linked to climate activism (http://www.hftf.org.uk/schools-workshop), which are advertised by Hope for the Future (http://www.hftf.org.uk/), a charity based in Sheffield, but which operates nationally.
I drew the meeting to a close by asking participants to re-visit the worksheet that I had given them at the start of the session. This time, they were directed to the ‘plenary’ section; here, they were expected to review their original targets and identify those that they had met and those that had not been achieved. It had been a productive afternoon for most it seemed, judging by the number of ‘ticks’ that were clearly visible. Some had added a few points to their ‘to do’ list as well. Finally, teachers were required to sum up the meeting in five words/a sentence or two and put forward suggestions for themes for future meetings.
A selection of their completed worksheets can be viewed here:
Some of their ‘concluding comments’ can be found below:
‘Informative; helpful; vibrant; celebrating learning; enthusiasm.’
‘Focused; engaging; information-packed; resource-rich; fantastic ideas!’
‘Very useful history and geography resources.’
‘Large variety of resources to go away and look at. Lots to think about!’
‘Huge list of resources given. Lots of reading material to explore further.’
‘Wide range of resources to explore. Good opportunity to share ideas/ask questions.’
‘Great for sharing ideas and resources. Fantastic to be able to meet with other teachers.’
‘Useful sign-posting to new resources.’
‘Positive – I’m on the right lines in regard to changes that I’ve made based on suggestions (new curriculum map, etc.)’
‘Informative. Good chance to talk to other Subject Leaders and find out about resources available.’
‘Really interesting. Resourceful. Great to make links with others.’
‘Resource-rich; insightful; thought-provoking. Love the social aspect too!’
‘Informative; reassuring; insightful; progression; assessment.’
‘Informative; resources; ideas; ‘deep dive’ information; websites.’
‘Lots of ideas and resources for curriculum planning.’
‘Lots of resources; informative; supportive.’
‘A great opportunity to talk to other teachers and share ideas.’
‘Very informative. Fantastic to have time to discuss matters of interest.’
‘There was a lot to take in and lots of resources/schemes of work, etc. to help and ideas.’
‘Thank you so much for Thursday, Emma – it was a fabulous session, and I must admit that having the time to chat with colleagues about the topics you raised, as well as other concerns, was hugely beneficial.’
Suggestions for themes for future meetings included:
- How to do small school rolling programmes.
- ‘Deep dive’ outcomes: How to enhance pupil outcomes – quality of work in books.
- ‘Deep dives’ experience.
- ‘Deep dive’ into humanities.
- Schools’ examples of how history and geography links into the whole school curriculum/cross-curricular learning.
- Effective and simple ways to differentiate and challenge.
- SEND support/adaptations within humanities.
- Enquiry-led curriculum (whole school): planning and consistency across school.
- Putting together a long-term plan.
- Knowledge organisers.
- Map reading ideas.
- Fieldwork ideas.
- Teaching strategies/in class practice.
- Book scrutinies; observations (what to look for).
- Everything you need to know about being a Subject Leader; what should be done?
- Subject Leader role – what does a file look like?
- Artefact loan ideas (possibilities).
Despite having a broken upper arm/shoulder, I think I managed to lead quite a successful meeting!
Our next gathering will take place during the afternoon of Friday 20th March 2020. Further details will appear on the blog shortly, be advertised via Gloucestershire County Council’s Schoolsnet Bulletin Board, teaching schools and cluster groups, in addition to being distributed to all e-mail contacts that I have.