My first in situ delivery of bespoke CPD for a while! It felt good to be back too rather than simply doing everything virtually! Ms Penny Howard, the Head Teacher at Longney C of E Primary Academy (http://www.longney.gloucs.sch.uk/website), approached me just before February half-term to see if I could pop into school and work with their Geography Subject Leader and individual teachers (one of which is an ECT and another a new member of staff) to plan a unit of work for Terms 5 and 6 based on the theme ‘Where do we live?’. It was requested that we look at progression from EYFS to Year 6 and address key areas of the National Curriculum programme of study for geography at Key Stages 1 and 2, especially opportunities to develop geographical skills and fieldwork. Not a problem!
After a couple of e-mails, a suitable day and date and structure for the session was decided. It was then off to delve into my resource boxes and online folders, as well as explore various websites, so that I could provide some suggestions and share useful web-links with staff.
To begin with, I spent an hour or so with their EYFS class teacher and Geography Subject Leader, referring to the new EYFS Framework (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-years-foundation-stage-framework–2) and Development Matters documentation (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/development-matters–2), as well as 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). We identified areas that the school specifically wished to target in Terms 5 and 6 and decided upon the best means of doing this. I emphasised the importance of ensuring effective coverage, sequencing and progression and promoting geographical skills and fieldwork, especially when the school has such delightful surroundings. I directed her towards the latest copy of Teach Early Years magazine, which focuses on ‘Understanding the World’ and contains plenty of ideas for enabling youngsters to engage with nature; useful for Terms 5 and 6 (https://www.teachearlyyears.com/). In addition, we talked about integrating equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) more extensively into geography and history and discussed opportunities linked to the forthcoming Platinum Jubilee and Commonwealth Games. I steered her towards a recent webinar that Chris Trevor led for the Historical Association (HA), now available to download with a number of accompanying resources (https://www.history.org.uk/primary/resource/10335/webinar-on-demand-planning-a-primary-platinum-jub), and an article entitled ‘Commonwealth Awareness‘ by Scott Sinclair that was published in the Geographical Association (GA)’s Spring 2022 Primary Geography journal (https://www.geography.org.uk/Journals/Primary-Geography).
Next, I sat down with their ECT. Unfortunately, geography and history often receive limited time and attention in BEd and PGCE courses, so many ECTs are still in need of much support and guidance during their first few years of teaching. I shared my ‘go to’ websites and resources and answered any questions that she had.
After a brief break for lunch and a tour of their new-build, I worked with all staff to plan their unit of work for Terms 5 and 6. I advocated an enquiry-led, outcomes-driven approach to learning and demonstrated how they should have an overriding question with ancillary questions in order to help pupils formulate an answer to this. Collins’ Primary Connected Geography and Primary Connected History series showcase this approach well and we explored exemplar units, including unit overviews and learning organisers, that David Weatherly has produced (https://collins.co.uk/collections/connected-geography and https://collins.co.uk/pages/primary-connected-history). Next, we accessed the collection of ‘Stay Home Stories’ resources on the Royal Geographical Society (RGS-IBG)’s website (https://www.rgs.org/schools/teaching-resources/stay-home/). After perusing the introductory text, we ‘zoomed in’ on each of the five themes, noting which activities each class would attempt in order to guarantee progression from EYFS to Year 6. We also earmarked National Fieldwork Week (from 6th to 10th June) and the GA’s WorldWise Week (last full school week in June) on the school calendar and bookmarked the corresponding websites so that teachers could keep an eye out for any new supporting resources (https://www.geography.org.uk/National-Fieldwork-Week and https://www.geography.org.uk/WorldWise-Week-resource-packs).
Some of participants’ ‘concluding comments’ can be found below:
Resource-rich; informative; supportive – thank you! Thank you again for all of your help. It was lovely to meet you.
Thank you very much for your time on Friday, it was lovely to see you and to catch up. It almost felt as if we were getting back to normal! Your expert input was very much appreciated by all and there was a buzz about the opportunity to collaborate on planning once again. I really like your blog post too! I’m looking forward to seeing how the planning shapes up.
Thank you for coming in the other Friday to help us! … All the staff said how beneficial it was having you in with such a strong knowledge base for humanities and if they became stuck, they could just ask you for ideas, plus having time to plan together. … I look forward to working with you again for the planning morning.
I think they all found it a productive way to spend a Friday!
I am looking forward to hearing, and seeing, how they get on in Terms 5 and 6 … do keep me regularly updated!