After several planning meetings via Zoom, it was time for Sandra Parker, LA Advisor, and myself to facilitate Gloucestershire School Improvement (GLOSSI)’s first Primary Geography Subject Leader Network Meeting of this academic year. The Pavilion, close to Cheltenham town centre, provided the ideal venue for around 30 educational professionals to meet for a spot of networking and sharing of best practice.
Whilst gaining the essential early morning caffeine fix, it was suggested that delegates may wish to peruse the latest Primary Newsbites displayed on geography southwest’s website (https://www.geographysouthwest.co.uk/primary/primary-news/). Each month, Alan Parkinson, Geographical Association (GA) President from 2021-2022, and myself produce a newsletter, which highlights new resources, useful websites, teaching ideas, freebies, CPD opportunities, events, etc. We aim to showcase items that are of particular relevance to those in the south west of England, although, more often than not, there are listings that are appropriate to teaching professionals regardless of their location within the UK.
Once Sandra had formally welcomed all, covered the usual housekeeping necessities, outlined the aims and agenda for the morning, it was over to me for our starter. I wished to involve participants from the word ‘go’, so I posed a couple of questions to them relating to Ofsted’s Education Inspection Framework (EIF). I defined intent, implementation and impact and delved into a couple of sections of Ofsted’s research review of geography, namely ‘The context of geography curriculum design in English schools’ and ‘Primary education and the Early Years Foundation Stage’. Working in pairs or small groups, delegates were asked to identify the features of a high-quality geography education, which they did pretty well. We later referred to Ofsted’s research review of geography to see how many features they had listed (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ofsted-publishes-research-review-on-geography) and I also shared comments generated by one of the leading subject associations, the Geographical Association (GA).
The main session explored intent and implementation in some depth. I directed individuals towards key documentation and various exemplary case studies, before allocating time for them to reflect upon their school’s intent and implementation, discuss these with myself and fellow attendees, as well as ask any pertinent questions that they had.
A short break for refreshments followed. It was so lovely to see delegates chatting informally, offering support or sharing best practice. Opportunities like this must be built into CPD events; teachers generally have very little chance to interact with other colleagues during the school day and face increasing demands on their time once teaching has actually finished.
Next, Sandra, as competently as ever, discussed the deep dive experience. Towards the end, I had some input from a geography perspective, emphasising a few web-links that Subject Leaders should certainly explore. We had set aside a few minutes so that delegates could share their experiences of a deep dive in geography or another foundation subject; only a few in the room had experience of this to date, however.
I brought the session to a close with an activity; participants were asked to note five ‘takeaways’ from today’s meeting, perhaps prioritising them according to their degree of importance/urgency. A Microsoft Form had been set up so that feedback could be easily captured from attendees too. Some of their comments/thoughts can be viewed below:
- The Ofsted information and all of the very useful links for geography.
- Relevant subject matter/information shared.
- Features of deep dives – the course this morning helped me to prioritise actions in preparation for Ofsted visiting.
- Signposting to relevant articles.
- Made me feel more up to speed on what to expect. Emma’s geography knowledge is fantastic. Useful contacts.
- Information about Geographical Association (GA) and Ofsted deep dives.
- Deep dive overview.
- Ideas for impact – how to show progression and cohesion in the curriculum.
- Deep dive information and links.
- Content about 3 Is was very useful.
- Overall idea of enquiry based units.
- Clarification, tips and areas for personal focus.
- Understanding the categories within a deep dive/meeting other Subject Leaders.
- Lots of subject-specific content, not just generic.
- Lots of good resources to help with different aspects.
- Having two different people with different areas of expertise.
- Curriculum – what is good geography?
- Deep dive information.
- Access to all the additional documents; Emma’s specific subject knowledge; clear model of a deep dive.
- Just very informative.
- Lots of insight and things to consider back at school.
- All sessions!
- There were lots of research documents to look through, so it was difficult to decide which would be worth looking through (I won’t be able to read them all).
- Bit of information overload; almost too many useful things to take it all in.
- A whole day please!
- Advice on the format of 3 Is documents.
- It’s so quick!
- More examples of schools and what they have done successfully (sharing best practice).
- Subject knowledge or clear progression of one area of the geography curriculum.
- More actual examples, e.g. how human geography of a place might show progression from Year 3 to Year 6.
- How geography should be recorded at Key Stage 1, especially in a EYFS/Year 1 class split.
- QR codes to links on screen like this survey.
- Very Ofsted focused (wrong point in our cycle).
- More time to go through resources.
- Geography subject knowledge or schemes of work.
- Thank you for a very informative morning.
- I loved it; super useful!
- Thank you – lots to read and think about.
- Very interesting and helpful for all subjects, just not geography.
- Just very interesting.
- Really enjoyed the session.
- Great morning! Thank you.
A productive way to spend a late November morning, it seems. Looking forward to seeing you all again in February, when we will look at implementation in more detail (with a focus on ‘disciplinary knowledge’, e.g. thinking and working like a geographer, and geographical skills and fieldwork) and impact.
Enjoy the remainder of Term 2 and have a restful and enjoyable Christmas break.