After being approached for some advice by Hetal Trivedi, Geography Subject Leader at World’s End Junior School (https://worldsendjuniors.co.uk/) last week, I managed to squeeze in a couple of bespoke CPD sessions to assist her with their whole school curriculum planning.
Geography is currently taught in two, three week blocks; one in Autumn 2 and the other in Summer 1. Whilst this means that some substantial geography can be taught within each term, the downside is that little takes place in between. I aired my concern about several weeks/months with no real geography. If the school intends to continue with this pattern, then I proposed that geography should be ‘drip-fed’ at appropriate points within other topics. For example, when studying the Ancient Egyptians, reference could be made to world biomes and the desert biome explored. Furthermore, river processes, features and flooding could be investigated by ‘zooming in’ on the River Nile. Hetal appreciated my input and agreed that this had been one of her worries too.
We re-visited the National Curriculum programme of study for geography and used this to identfy what was covered in school already and where any gaps lay. It was agreed that some themes needed to be re-jigged and others inserted to ensure good coverage and clear progression. We started with the UK and then branched outwards into Europe, North America and South America, to extend pupils’ place and locational knowledge, as well as introduce aspects of physical and human geography. It was also noted where place and locational knowledge and physical and human geography could be addressed within other themes taught throughout the year. Fieldwork opportunities were incorporated into each year group wherever possible to facilitate the development of geographical skills and enhance pupils’ awareness of their local area. I also gave Hetal ideas for alternative ‘experiences ‘ beyond the classroom, e.g. single school or multi school events; virtual tours; external speakers. The promotion of subject-specific vocabulary, ‘reading across the curriculum’ and ‘cultural capital’, the latter two key features of Ofsted’s Education Inspection Framework (EIF), were reinforced too.
I endeavoured to direct Hetal towards as many FREE resources and websites/web-links as possible, bearing in mind that their school budget, like many others, is very tight. In actual fact, there were only a couple of items that she needed to purchase to fully resource their revised curriculum. As Hetal was already a member of the Geographical Association (GA) (https://www.geography.org.uk/), one of the leading subject associations, she was able to buy some schemes of work at a discounted rate. In addition, I prompted her to seriously consider a subscription to Digimap for Schools (https://digimapforschools.edina.ac.uk/) so that teachers could access valuable resources to increase pupils’ mapwork skills and support fieldwork activities.
Hetal’s ‘concluding comments’ imply that this was time and money well spent, I think!
‘This is great! Many thanks!’
‘Certainly money well spent. I feel so much more prepared and confident to lead the subject in my school. Emma pointed me to so many free resources that I was not aware about. Really pleased with her input!’