What a lot of freebies to take away! (virtual Primary Humanities Network meeting – Term 6)


Well, it was time for our final meeting of this academic year; once again, we gathered virtually from all areas of the UK.

The foci for today’s session were determined by recent requests from many teachers, as well as discussions in the media and among those at the leading subject associations; ‘What makes outstanding geography and history in the eyes of Ofsted and how can this be achieved?’.

As usual, I began by outlining the aims and structure of the session:

Next, I provided an ‘educational round-up‘ and pointed individuals in the direction of plenty of new resources and useful web-links.  These included:

I spent some time looking at the offerings from the leading subject associations too, starting with the Geographical Association (GA)GeogPod, the GA’s podcast , particularly Episode 37, where Stephen Scoffham discusses ‘Quality geography, atlases, capital cities and making geography fun!‘ is worth a listen (https://www.geography.org.uk/GeogPod-The-GAs-Podcast).  They have also launched new web materials to support geography ECTs, plus geography-specific guidance for the DfE-approved programmes for primary and secondary ECTs that geography mentors should find helpful when supporting their ECTs (https://www.geography.org.uk/Early-Career-Teachers and https://www.geography.org.uk/The-Early-Career-Framework).  I projected a number of items that had appeared in their latest edition of the GA’s quarterly magazine, e.g. Policy matters; WorldWise Week 2021; Save our planet – pledges for COP26; subject updates, especially those relating to climate change; a link to the updated Early Years and Primary curriculum pages; Webwatch and Meanderings (https://www.geography.org.uk/Journals/GA-Magazine).  Furthermore, I shared some of their recent content from the sections of ‘Everyday geography’, ‘Member’s Magic’, ‘Recommended resource’ and ‘In the News’.  A great, FREE teaching resource on climate change and sea level rise can be found here: https://www.geography.org.uk/teaching-resources/investigating-climate-zones-and-climate-change.  It is also worth exploring ‘Using the front cover in the classroom‘ and the ‘Web resources’ related to the Spring 2021 edition of Primary Geography (https://www.geography.org.uk/Journals/Primary-Geography).  ‘The extraordinariness of the ordinary‘ written by Stephen Pickering for ‘The Start Gallery’ in the Summer 2021 edition of the same journal is worth dipping into as well (https://www.geography.org.uk/Journals/Primary-Geography).

Next, it was the turn of the Historical Association (HA).  They have a new and challenging chronological unit entitled ‘Numbers through time‘, connecting history and maths (https://www.history.org.uk/primary/resource/7680).  A progression in subject-specific vocabulary is a frequent request from many teachers, hence why those at the HA have probably highlighted Ailsa Fidler’s article once again (https://www.history.org.uk/primary/resource/9753/embedding-progress-in-historical-vocabulary-teachi).  The HA are in the throes of delivering a webinar series aimed at boosting subject knowledge at Key Stage 1; there are three sessions remaining this academic year (https://www.history.org.uk/primary/categories/941/news/3936/webinar-series-boosting-subject-knowledge-at-key).  The first webinar of the series, focusing on The Great Fire of London, can be accessed for FREE (https://www.history.org.uk/primary/resource/10084/film-the-great-fire-of-london).  For those wishing to promote diversity within their whole school history curriculum, then the following links may be useful: https://www.history.org.uk/podcasts/categories/434/podcast/652/early-british-women-engineers and https://www.history.org.uk/publications/categories/299/resource/10090/primary-history-88.  With World Refugee Day occurring on 20th June 2021 and appreciating that refugee issues are both a contemporary and historical concern, I highlighted the HA’s scheme of work on ‘Journeys – the story of migration to Britain‘, as well as their ideas for assemblies exploring refugee stories (https://www.history.org.uk/ha-news/categories/455/news/3957/refugee-week-2021, https://www.history.org.uk/primary/resource/9985/scheme-of-work-journeys-the-story-of-migration, https://www.history.org.uk/publications/resource/9210/ideas-for-assemblies-refugee-stories and https://www.history.org.uk/publications/resource/10067/real-lives-surviving-the-war-in-the-soviet-union).  If you need some contemporary links to Refugee Day, then access the following: https://globaldimension.org.uk/resources/refugee-week-learning-about-isolation/, https://globaldimension.org.uk/resources/cafods-refugee-animation/ and https://globaldimension.org.uk/resources/covid-19-and-the-refugee-crisis/.  The HA still has plenty of CPD targeted at primary professionals for the summer term (https://www.history.org.uk/primary/categories/789/news/3902/your-primary-cpd-calendar-summer-2021).  For those of you considering transition, take a look at the following: https://www.history.org.uk/primary/module/7814/before-1066-all-that-transition-between-ks2-k/7815/a-introduction and https://onebighistorydepartment.com/2020/07/04/bridging-from-y6-to-y7-transitional-history/.

The HA flagged up a few resources in their latest newsletter too.  If  you are studying the Stone Age, then do delve into the new The DNA Detectives book (https://insightandperspective.co.uk/primary-science-the-dna-detectives and https://insightandperspective.co.uk/publications/2020/8/14/dna-detectives-the-stone-age-mystery?rq=stone%20age%20mystery).  For anyone exploring Roman Britain, St. Alban’s Museums have created some great materials here: https://mylearning.org/stories/exploring-roman-objects/1412.  Furthermore, Leeds Museums and Galleries have three short films to introduce and describe common objects found in Victorian homes (https://mylearning.org/stories/victorian-curious-conundrums/1411).  Tying in strongly with Ofsted’s emphasis on ‘cultural capital’ within its Education Inspection Framework (EIF) is the Teacher Art Pass; find out if you are eligible to take part in a research project and gain FREE Art Pass membership here: (https://www.teacherartpass.org/).

Anne Pillar from Key Stage 2 Gems (https://ks2gems.com/) joined us today too and gave us a whistle-stop tour of her website and some of the resources available to purchase or download for FREE.

I set aside ten minutes for teachers to peruse some of the afore-mentioned websites and resources.  They also had an opportunity to ask Anne or myself any questions that they had.  In addition, I addressed some of the points raised in the chat feed.  It was lovely to see that participants had responded to each other as well; an effective means of sharing best practice more widely in these rather turbulent times.

Immediately afterwards, we contemplated the below independently before venturing into ‘break out rooms‘ to discuss this further.  Participants were very willing to share what they had written on their sheets and lively conversations ensued in each ‘break out room’ that I visited.

We reconvened after about twenty minutes to dissect two posts that have recently been added to Ofsted‘s blog.  The first related to geography in 23 outstanding primary schools, identifying strengths and areas for development (https://educationinspection.blog.gov.uk/2021/05/11/geography-in-outstanding-primary-schools).  I also linked to a Geog Live! discussion centred upon this (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFHhWI-s2Kk) and the GA’s thoughts about the best way to deliver primary geography.  Julia Tanner wrote a fantastic article in the Spring 2021 edition of Primary Geography about ‘Progression in geographical fieldwork experiences‘ (https://www.geography.org.uk/Journals/Primary-Geography).  Chris Ive’s ‘Taking a fresher look at the curriculum‘ in the Summer 2021 Primary Geography‘s journal offers advice on how good curriculum design builds links between the core and foundation subjects and allows for exciting geography lessons (https://www.geography.org.uk/Journals/Primary-Geography).

Tim Jenner investigates history in 24 outstanding primary schools (https://educationinspection.blog.gov.uk/2021/04/27/history-in-outstanding-primary-schools).  He outlines the building blocks of progress and areas for improvement.  The HA’s film, ‘Ask the Committee‘, contemplates what we can learn from lockdown in terms of history teaching and ideas for what we could/should do now to help children going forward (https://www.history.org.uk/primary/resource/10086/film-ask-the-primary-committee).  Tim Lomas’ article on knowledge organisers in the Summer 2021 edition of Primary History is hugely thought-provoking (https://www.history.org.uk/publications/categories/299/resource/10090/primary-history-88), as is Kate Rigby’s on ‘Supporting colleagues to develop their subject knowledge‘ and Kerry Somers’ about ‘History teaching and learning when you can’t have the children in the classroom.

We paused for ten minutes to allow delegates time to digest all that had been discussed.

Next, we embarked upon a degree of reflection by means of the two activities below:

Individuals were able to note down three areas for development and consider how they might work towards achieving these objectives.

Some of their ‘concluding comments‘ can be viewed below:

Sum up today’s online meeting in five words/a sentence or two:

  • ‘Thank you for the session today.  It was so helpful as always. … Many thanks for your support.’
  • ‘Always a well-structured, engaging, constructive, insightful and collaborative session.  Excellent resources signposted with friendly and professional help given.  Thank you.’
  • ‘Very informative and helpful!’
  • ‘Lots of useful resources.’
  • ‘It was helpful being shown a variety of different resources to support planning, teaching and leadership of the subjects.’
  • ‘Clear structure, informative and inspiring.’
  • ‘I’m clearer about Ofsted’s expectations.’
  • ‘Refreshing to have humanities given such importance; very informative.’
  • ‘Clear advice and helper pointers.’
  • ‘Super resources for me to research and very informative.’
  • ‘Very informative.’
  • ‘Great guidance on curriculum excellence.’
  • ‘Supportive in identifying the development.  Thank you for giving me a starting point.  It can feel overwhelming.’
  • ‘Thank you for allowing me to join you.’
  • ‘Just managed to watch the recording of the meeting.  Thank you very much, it was very helpful and will save me a great deal of time looking for resources.’

Possible themes for future Primary Humanities Network meetings:

  • Assessment/assessment methods/assessing geography.
  • Knowledge organisers.
  • Fieldwork planning/fieldwork progression.
  • Organising content to ensure progression.
  • Advice on minimising gaps for transitions between schemes so that topics are not lost in the reordering.

A productive way to spend a Friday afternoon it seems.  Our next Primary Humanities Network meeting in September 2021 will, hopefully, take place in situ in Gloucestershire, with a repeat of the session being held virtually for those located further afield.  More details will be distributed and posted within this blog in the next couple of weeks, so keep your eyes peeled!

Enjoy the remainder of Term 6!

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