I was approached by the Assistant Head Teacher of Years 5 and 6, who is also a regular attendee of our virtual Primary Humanities Network meetings, to see if I could deliver some bespoke CPD for their Humanities Subject Leaders before the end of Term 2. Their initial request was overly ambitious for one afternoon, so it was advised that we concentrate on two or three pressing themes and do them justice. Thus, we agreed that the foci for today’s session should be the following areas:
- a brief overview of Ofsted’s findings from their recent subject research reviews;
- strategies and ideas for assessment;
- suggestions for fieldwork.
I endeavoured to build in plenty of time for dialogue and interaction in order for staff to gain maximum benefit from the session. Teachers are generally finding that Covid-19 restrictions or additional day-to-day pressures are limiting the time that they have for informal discussion with colleagues, so they are keen to have opportunities to do so whenever they can. It was lovely to witness teachers, albeit exhausted at this point in a very busy and lengthy term, so willing to engage and contribute.
After briefly outlining the aims and structure of the afternoon, I began by highlighting Ofsted’s presence on the web and social media, web-links to explore on a regular basis to ensure that you keep abreast with educational developments and issues.
Next, I introduced the following activity to encourage professionals to fully appreciate the importance of knowledge and stimulate discussion:
Later, we considered what knowledge allows, what knowledge pupils need to learn, why a focus on curriculum is necessary and what happens when pupils do not learn the knowledge that they need.
I referred to Iain Freeland’s contribution to Ofsted’s south west roadshow (https://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/schoolsnet/noticeboard/schoolsnet-bulletin-board/ofsted-curriculum-roadshow-south-west-presentation-slides-240921/), the post within Ofsted’s blog about geography in outstanding primary schools (https://educationinspection.blog.gov.uk/2021/05/11/geography-in-outstanding-primary-schools/), the Geographical Association (GA)’s GeogLive! event based on their response to the same post (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFHhWI-s2Kk) and Ofsted’s research review on geography (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ofsted-publishes-research-review-on-geography). The latter is quite lengthy, so we concentrated on any mention given to primary geography and ‘zoomed in’ on the features of a high-quality geography education (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/research-review-series-geography/research-review-series-geography). I projected a number of additional web-links and resources that staff may find useful, namely a section on the GA’s website about thinking geographically (https://www.geography.org.uk/Thinking-geographically), GeogLive!4 where Iain Freeland presented (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5oNnPqqjiw) and Episode 31 of the GA’s podcast, GeogPod, when he talked about his career path to date and some of the things Ofsted are looking for in terms of ‘good geography’ with several key takeaways for teachers (https://www.geography.org.uk/GeogPod-The-GAs-Podcast). Iain Freeland also spoke about what contributes to high-quality curricula, assessment and pedagogy at an event that the Royal Geographical Society (RGS-IBG) organised (https://www.rgs.org/schools/teaching-resources/ofsted-hmi-iain-freeland-on-what-contributes-to-hi/), which is well worth a listen if you missed it back in October. In addition, I displayed thoughts from the GA and an article written by Chris Ives for the summer 2021 edition of their Primary Geography journal entitled ‘Taking a fresher look at the curriculum‘ (https://www.geography.org.uk/Journals/Primary-Geography).
So that our History Subject Leaders did not feel left out, I referenced corresponding material, such as Ofsted’s blog post about history in outstanding primary schools (https://educationinspection.blog.gov.uk/2021/04/27/history-in-outstanding-primary-schools/), extracts from Ofsted’s research review series for history (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/research-review-series-history/research-review-series-history#categories-of-generative-knowledge-in-history), an interesting piece of writing on Keystage History’s website relating to this (https://www.keystagehistory.co.uk/ofsted/recent-reports/10-vital-things-primary-history-subject-leaders-should-draw-from-ofsteds-review-july-2021/), commentary from the Historical Association (HA) and three articles from the HA’s Primary History journal (https://www.history.org.uk/publications/categories/299/resource/10090/primary-history-88). There is a film about ‘Primary History and the Ofsted Inspection Framework‘ on the HA’s website that is recommended viewing too (https://www.history.org.uk/primary/resource/10092/film-primary-history-and-the-ofsted-inspection-fr).
We paused for ten minutes or so to allow teachers to digest what had been said, enable them to bookmark suitable websites, revisit items, etc. It is important to incorporate such opportunities into a CPD session as teacher’s lives often become consumed by day-to-day routines as soon as they return to the classroom. It also gave me a chance to answer any questions that attendees had.
Next, I launched the following activity:
We spent a few minutes looking at the new EYFS Framework (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-years-foundation-stage-framework–2), Development Matters documentation (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/development-matters–2) and 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) together. The GA’s online shop has a superb document, entitled ‘A progression framework for geography‘, that is well worth purchasing if you have not done so already (https://www.geography.org.uk/eBooks-detail/71c435a8-c548-4e38-80db-2305275fbee5). Take a look at their Primary Geography Spring 2021 edition too, in which Julie Tanner has written a comprehensive and hugely inspiring article about ‘Progression in geographical fieldwork experiences‘ (https://www.geography.org.uk/Journals/Primary-Geography). For those requiring further support with fieldwork, I suggested that they spent an hour viewing GeogLive!2 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfT1yvDvjvo) and saved their pennies to buy ‘The Everyday Guide to Primary Geography: Local Fieldwork‘ from the GA’s online shop (https://www.geography.org.uk/Shop/The-Everyday-Guide-to-Primary-Geography-Fieldwork/9781843773672). We also delved into the National Curriculum programme of study for history at Key Stages 1 and 2 (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/239035/PRIMARY_national_curriculum_-_History.pdf). Hopefully, I catered for everyone’s needs and interests in some form or another! After teachers had contemplated the three questions on the slide, they were encouraged to respond to each other in an open discussion or via the chat feed.
I allowed a quick break for refreshments before I threw another activity at delegates. This time, the lens was on assessment.
So, how do we best assess pupils? We explored this question in some depth. I shared a few recent articles relating to assessment (https://www.teachearlyyears.com/learning-and-development/view/development-matters-preparing-for-the-new-eyfs; https://www.teachearlyyears.com/learning-and-development/view/we-put-play-at-the-heart-of-assessment; https://www.teachitprimary.co.uk/teachit-talks/day-2 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ir1i3p-DBJ0&t=293s), before directing teachers towards commentary and resources from the leading subject associations (https://www.rgs.org/schools/teaching-resources/developing-primary-geography/assessment-and-progression/; https://www.geography.org.uk/Announcements-and-Updates/ga-guidance-on-progression/247164 and https://www.geography.org.uk/eBooks-detail/71c435a8-c548-4e38-80db-2305275fbee5; https://digimapforschools.edina.ac.uk/learning-resources/resource/progression-mapping.html; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGNqCpG1V2U&t=17s; https://www.geography.org.uk/assessment; https://www.geography.org.uk/Assessing-progress-in-primary-geography; https://www.geography.org.uk/Feedback-and-marking; https://www.geography.org.uk/Assessment-without-levels–practical-steps-to-support-progression-and-attainment-in-geography; and https://www.history.org.uk/primary/categories/347/module/8754/primary-history-articles-for-the-school-history-su/9916/subject-leadership-organisation-and-management#4). Subsequently, I 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 (https://www.hoddereducation.co.uk/eduu-school/access-free-eduu-school-online-learning-resources), Collins’ Primary Connected Geography and History (https://collins.co.uk/pages/primary-atlases-geography-primary-connected-geography and https://collins.co.uk/pages/primary-connected-history), Rising Stars’ Geography and History (https://www.risingstars-uk.com/subjects/historyandgeography and https://www.risingstars-uk.com/subjects/historyandgeography/rising-stars-history/free-stuff/progression-frameworks-for-history-and-geogrpaphy; ) and Digimap for School’s resources, especially their locational knowledge ones (https://digimapforschools.edina.ac.uk/learning-resources/).
I gave delegates fifteen minutes or so to revisit some of the web-links and resources that I had displayed. Again, teachers were encouraged to respond to each other by means of an open discussion or the chat facility and they could also unmute themselves if they wished to ask questions, discuss any specific concerns that they had, etc.
Finally, it was time for the plenary and a period of reflection, with individuals being asked to complete the following activities:
I look forward to seeing evidence of and hearing about your ventures next term! Have an enjoyable and restful break; much deserved after another somewhat challenging term.