Virtual Primary Geography Subject Leader Network Meeting (SLNM)

ConsultancyWorkshops

What a buzz there was in my study this morning even though this was a virtual event!  A little challenging to manage on my behalf, but great to have so many convene for our first online Primary Geography Subject Leader Network Meeting of this academic year.  This was more or less a repeat of the in situ session that I co-delivered last Tuesday morning with Sandra Parker, a LA Advisor, on behalf of Gloucestershire School Improvement (GLOSSI).  In order to cater for everyone’s interests and needs, it was decided over the summer to take a slightly different stance this academic year; to offer three events rather than the usual six online meetings and to conduct one in person event and deliver a repeat virtually for those further afield or unable to attend the former in ‘real time’ each long term.  The revised format seems to have been well-received; around 30 individuals in attendance last Tuesday and more than 60 delegates this morning.

Whilst waiting for all to join the meeting, 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.

After I had formally introduced myself, welcomed delegates, outlined the aims and projected the agenda for the morning, we moved swiftly onto the 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 small groups in ‘breakout rooms’, delegates were asked to identify the features of a high-quality geography education, which they did very 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 in ‘breakout rooms’, 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 in their ‘breakout rooms’, 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, I focused on deep dives, firstly from a general perspective and then relating more specifically to geography, pinpointing a few web-links that Subject Leaders should certainly explore.  I had set aside a few minutes so that delegates could share their experiences of a deep dive in geography or another foundation subject; one individual had recently encountered a deep dive in geography and talked willingly and openly about their first-hand experience, and was very positive about it too.

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.  Click on the examples below to enlarge them.

A Google Form had been set up so that feedback could be captured easily from attendees too.  Some of their concluding comments/thoughts can be viewed below:

  • Really useful and informative.
  • A brilliant opportunity to learn, share and understand best practise in geography.
  • I took a lot of notes and I will have a lot of reading to do!
  • A very useful session.  Great to have time to look at relevant information linking to Ofsted and to hear about resources that are out there.  A great opportunity to reflect on how things are going in my subject.
  • Geography Ofsted Deep Dive.
  • Really helpful to chat to others in a similar position and to share good practice and ideas.
  • Fantastic and inspriring.  Useful documents and links provided.
  • Very useful documents and information provided re. Ofsted.
  • Detailed support in preparing for a geography deep dive.
  • Excellent overview of the 3 ‘I’s.
  • Informative; helpful; engaging.
  • Gave me a good overview of a Subject Leader’s responsibilty.  Gave me focus.
  • Informative; useful; supportive; enjoyable.
  • Excellent knowledge and resources to help improve my knowledge as a Geography Subject Leader.
  • Very informative.
  • A great opportunity to share good practice and have guidance on how best to teach, deliver and lead this great subject area.
  • Very informative.  Lots of ideas and research for me to take away and look into.
  • This was my first network meeting and I found it really useful.
  • Really useful and informative!
  • Informative and given us a good start in preparing for Ofsted.
  • Highly helpful and informative geography CPD.
  • Helpful to focus on the importance of the 3 I’S and what Ofsted expect to see.  I feel much more sure of what I should be doing in my role.
  • It was very useful to discuss primary geography with other schools.
  • Really clear and informative.
  • Useful.  Food for thought.  This has helped me to begin to build my confidence with geography.
  • I found the session incredibly useful.  You are so knowledgeable in the subject of geography and all the signposting is greatly appreciated.  Also great to network with others.
  • Today helped me to reflect on where we are at with our geography as a school and the next steps.
  • Informative, engaging and gave me more confidence as a Subject Leader.
  • The course was informative and made me reflect upon my own practise as a Geography Subject Leader. 
  • Refocused on what we need to do next!
  • Informative and relevant to deep dives within geography.
  • Fantastic!  Very informative and useful.
  • Really useful for reflecting on our intent and implementation in all foundation subjects, not just geography.
  • Thank you for talking through useful information in an easy to listen to/easy to understand way and for pinpointing useful things to read.
  • I found the whole meeting so useful!  All of the documents were so helpful and I feel much more confident about primary geography now.  Thank you so much, Emma, I cannot put into words how helpful this has been.
  • Thank you for everything.  Lovely to have time to reflect on our provision.
  • Thank you so much for today’s training.  So much to think about and put into practice (and so little time!!!).  Today was a great start and a brilliant help. 
  • Thank you, a great course.
  • Thanks so much, this has been great!
  • Thank you – that was fab!
  • Thank you.  Very useful.
  • Thank you so much for today.
  • Very useful.  Thank you.
  • This has been so helpful and looking forward to the next one.
  • Thank you for today; it’s been very helpful.
  • Very useful session.  Thank you.
  • Thank you.  It was very informative and interesting.  Many ideas and thoughts to take away.
  • Thank you for a very informative morning.
  • Thanks for another great meeting.
  • Thank you for today – very useful as always and has given me lots to think about!
  • Thanks for a great session.  Found it very useful.
  • I have found today’s session very useful; thank you so much!
  • Thank you so much for today.

A very productive way to spend a morning in early December, it seems.  Looking forward to seeing you all again in March, 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 (including monitoring and evaluation).

Enjoy the remainder of Term 2 and have a restful and enjoyable Christmas break.

 

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