Virtual Primary Humanities Network (PHN) meeting: The first one for this academic year!


Still virtually, but at least it meant many of us were able to get together again.  If things remain positive regarding the current pandemic, then I am hoping to conduct our next meeting face-to-face, as well as offer a repeat virtually via Zoom for those who are unable to make it in real time or are located further afield.

The theme for today’s meeting was decided after perusing the many ‘concluding comments’ from our last Primary Humanities Network meeting in July.  There appeared to be an overwhelming need for support with assessment, so the past few weeks have been spent reviewing material and exploring the latest guidance issued by the leading subject associations, namely the Geographical Association (GA) (, Royal Geographical Society (RGS-IBG) ( and Historical Association (HA) (

After introducing myself (we had several newbies on board today, alongside the many regulars) and outlining the aims and structure of the meeting, I provided a comprehensive ‘educational round-up‘ of the latest hot topics for discussion, developments, useful websites, new resources (plenty of which were FREE to access), opportunities, competitions, etc.  Attendees were then given fifteen minutes or so to digest the many items that I had shared, bookmark those that were particularly relevant to themselves and their school, as well as pose any questions that they had to both myself or other individuals present.  I always endeavour to build such time into our meetings as I know from experience just how consuming life in the classroom can be; good intentions often go by the wayside as there always seem to be more pressing issues to deal with.

Following a period of reflection and completion of the worksheet below, participants were put into ‘breakout rooms‘ to discuss what they had noted down.  I was conscious to try and group individuals according to their Key Stage and drop into each room in turn to listen to the conversations taking place; very enlightening and engaging.

So, how do we best assess pupils?  We explored this question in depth during the main part of our meeting.  Not only did I direct teachers towards commentary and resources from the leading subject associations (; and;–practical-steps-to-support-progression-and-attainment-in-geography, but I also projected various units/schemes of work to exemplify how assessment had been integrated into teaching and learning.  These included extracts from Hodder Education’s new Eduu School (, Collins’ Primary Connected Geography and History ( and, Rising Stars’ Geography and History ( and; ) and Digimap for School’s resources, especially their locational knowledge ones (

A short break for refreshments called.  I then gave delegates another fifteen minutes or so to revisit some of the web-links and resources that I had displayed.  I tried to make sure that I referenced EYFS to Year 6 and dedicated time to both geography and history too; hopefully, everyone’s needs and interests were catered for in some form or another!  Teachers were encouraged to respond to each other via the chat feed and could unmute themselves if they wished to ask questions, discuss any specific concerns that they had, etc.

Next, individuals were asked to complete the following activity.  They were then encouraged to be brave and share their ‘takeaways’ with the rest of the group; interestingly, nobody struggled to find five items to add to the ovals/circles below, suggesting that the aims of the meeting had been met.

The meeting ended in the usual way; attendees were invited to leave their ‘concluding comments‘ via the chat feed or in an e-mail addressed to myself.

A number of these can be viewed below:

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

  • Such a fruitful and beneficial course for busy Subject Leaders.  A really efficient and effective way of keeping up-to-date with all the latest resources; Ofsted news and subject association guidance.  Emma is a wonderful source of humanities knowledge and her courses are structured to enable reflection; connections and networking in just two hours.
  • Really informative.  Good to talk to other Subject Leaders.  I could have had 20 takeaways!!
  • Many thanks for an extremely useful, interesting afternoon.  Now to renew GA membership for myself and join RGS, as I have been promising myself for a while.  Thanks too for COP26 info – reading about that on LinkedIn this morning – would like to share with students, so saved me a lot of research.
  • Thanks for the helpful meeting today.
  • Thank you very much for today’s CPD. Apologies that I was later than the start time, but I was unexpectedly asked to do a cover slot!  I found the session really informative and it has given me some good ideas to move forward with.
  • Thanks, Emma.  Really useful signposting to valuable resources.
  • Really helpful afternoon – thank you!
  • Thank you for a great session.
  • Really helpful meeting!  Thank you.
  • This has been really informative.  Thank you.
  • Thank you for another great session, Emma.
  • Great meeting!  Thank you.  Lots to go back and read through.
  • Thank you so much for this afternoon; it has been very helpful.
  • Thank you for today.  It was extremely useful!
  • Thank you very much!
  • Plenty for me to think about.
  • Interesting for a new Subject Leader.
  • Thank you.  Lots of ideas for the classroom and information to help organise the assessment in school.
  • Lots to consider to improve geography assessment.
  • Informative assessment strategies and resources.
  • Now to steer around budget! (Thanks, Emma, lots of things to think about).
  • Comprehensive and detailed information – with useful links to refer to later.  All signposted in meeting.
  • Lots to explore and a chance to talk to other Subject Leaders.
  • Lots of information and resources related to the teaching and assessment of geography.  The time for reflection has been great to be able to have a look at the different websites.  I am looking into books to link with our topics to boost the reading opportunities in geography.
  • Very informative and excellent guidance.  A lot to think about.
  • Lots of links and ‘look- intos’!
  • Great course, with really useful website and article links and ideas.
  • Really informative for a returning Subject Leader.  Will be reading up on the Ofsted updates and GA guidance.  Thank you! 
  • Thanks, Emma.  Really useful and informative.
  • A really useful source of practical resources for the classroom, long term planning, important updates/changes and an opportunity to network and share ideas.  Thank you, Emma!
  • Thank you, Emma, it was very useful and informative.  All the updates, guidance to resources and other ideas were great. 
  • Thank you so much – really helpful!
  • Thank you, this has been fantastic!
  • Thank you so much for the informative session you led last week (just managed to catch up on the recording).

Possible themes for future Primary Humanities Network meetings:

  • Fieldwork.
  • Evidencing for deep dives.
  • Ideas of what history ambassadors can do in school and activity ideas for a history club.

All in all, an enjoyable and worthwhile end to another busy week!

Details about our next Primary Humanities Network meeting in mid-November will be posted on the blog and be distributed via e-mail and social media feeds within the next couple of weeks.  Keep the afternoons of Wednesday 10th, Friday 12th and Friday 19th November 2021 free if you possibly can; it would be great to have you all on board again.

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