What a productive morning we had! Annie Ratcliffe, Geography Subject Leader at Lawrence View Primary School and Nursery in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire (https://www.lawrenceviewprimary.co.uk/), requested a morning of CPD to support her with development of the whole school’s geography curriculum.
We began by tweaking the school’s intent document, referring to the National Curriculum programme of study for geography at Key Stages 1 and 2 (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/239044/PRIMARY_national_curriculum_-_Geography.pdf), alongside the school’s curriculum and vision and values pages on their website (https://www.lawrenceviewprimary.co.uk/curriculum/ and https://www.lawrenceviewprimary.co.uk/visions-and-values/). Making this clearer was essential before we spent time reviewing the implementation of the curriculum.
The whole school curriculum for geography is fairly well established with good coverage and progression apparent; however, we needed to ensure that each term had a generic theme and overriding enquiry question identified to promote ‘enquiry-led, outcomes-driven learning’. We discussed the use of knowledge organisers; to support staff in their teaching of a theme and provide an indication to parents/carers as to what was being taught so that they may guide their son or daughter with their learning beyond the classroom environment. Ideally, knowledge organisers should also be produced by pupils to demonstrate their acquired knowledge and conceptual understanding, plus subject-specific skills development, over a period of time. This may prove quite challenging for younger children, so it was suggested that the class teacher could lead a whole group discussion during the plenary of each lesson and add to a large knowledge organiser which is displayed on a wall of the classroom. When considering implementation, we viewed the new Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Framework, which has been adopted by around 4800 schools to date and will be implemented by all establishments from September 2021, and Development Matters support material as well (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-adopter-schools-eyfs-framework). Progression must start from the Early Years Foundation Stage. Annie realised that she now needs to have discussions with colleagues teaching at this stage in order to identify generic themes and enquiry questions too.
Next, we focused on impact, considering the realistic frequency of book scrutinies, learning walks and lesson observations, and assessment of pupils’ work. I mentioned a superb article that was written by Alan Kinder and Dr Paula Owens and published in the Autumn 2019 edition of the Geographical Association’s Primary Geography journal (https://www.geography.org.uk/Journals/Primary-Geography – ‘The new Education Inspection Framework through a geographical lens’), as well as the Geographical Association’s revised ‘A progression framework for geography’ (https://www.geography.org.uk/eBooks-detail/71c435a8-c548-4e38-80db-2305275fbee5), both hugely insightful.
There are already very detailed overviews of each theme taught within each year group with reading, cultural capital and cross-curricular links highlighted. However, Annie needed some inspiration for fieldwork or pinpointing opportunities to ’take learning outside the classroom’. We spent half an hour brainstorming possibilities, some of which could easily be steered now and others that may be conditional on what happens over the next few weeks and months.
I attempted to answer a number of questions that Annie had in the final fifteen minutes or so. I think she now has plenty of material and suggestions to peruse over the half-term break!
I am looking forward to seeing evidence of, and hearing about, their future activities. Fingers crossed Covid-19 does not pose too many restrictions during this academic year and teachers are able to truly embrace ‘taking learning outside the classroom’ and fulfil their teaching and learning aspirations.
‘Thanks again for the brilliant 1-1 consultation a couple of weeks ago. Lots of things for me to be working on and I have now finalised fieldwork, which was my main goal, so thank you for that.’