Whilst we were waiting for everyone to arrive and settle, I suggested that individuals may wish to access the latest Primary Newsbites on geography southwest’s website (https://www.geographysouthwest.co.uk/primary/primary-news/). It contains numerous teaching ideas, plus links to new resources, useful websites, forthcoming events and CPD offerings, which are relevant to those throughout the UK, not just within the south west region of England. I also promoted a few other events that are taking place during Term 6, which teachers/schools may wish to engage with, namely Wicked Weather Watch’s virtual multi-schools trips to the Arctic (https://wickedweatherwatch.org.uk/); Step into the Amazon’s next adventure (https://stepintotheamazon.co.uk/2023/05/12/so-what-makes-the-amazon-so-amazing-2/) and a couple of CPD sessions from GlosGeog (https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/glosgeog-gloucestershires-local-ga-branch-tickets-589076813607 and https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/glosgeog-gloucestershires-local-ga-branch-tickets-593927201247). I shall certainly be seizing the opportunity to attend!
As time was of the essence, we moved swiftly on to the main meeting. Following a formal welcome and introductions, I displayed the aims and agenda for today’s meeting.
We began by looking at the Education Inspection Framework (EIF) through a geographical lens. Alan Kinder and Paula Owens wrote a fantastic article about this, published in the Geographical Association’s (GA’s) Primary Geography journal back in September 2019 (https://portal.geography.org.uk/journal/view/J004735). I picked out the key points and referred to Figure 3, which clearly exemplifies how curriculum intent, implementation and impact come together around the notion of curriculum making. We used this as a stimulus for some small group work too; it is always good to have delegates interacting and involved in some discussion very early on.
The next part of the morning focused on monitoring. I initiated the below activity and certainly witnessed some lively conversations whilst wandering around the room.
Afterwards, I discussed monitoring in more depth, touching upon informal and formal conversations, learning walks, book scrutiny and lesson visits. I also referred to the update in the School Inspection Handbook relating to Ofsted’s approach to evaluating the curriculum (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-inspection-handbook-eif/school-inspection-handbook).
Twenty minutes were set aside for participants to complete the following activity. I started everyone off, then gave them time to work through the task independently and discuss the experience and their findings with others should they wish.
After a short break for refreshments, the meeting resumed to provide an overview of progression and assessment in geography at primary level. Firstly, I referenced the recent support material released from Ofsted, highlighting the key takeaways and drawing delegates’ attention to relevant points within the hour or so YouTube clip (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3T8p-YYRvw). We later explored what the Geographical Association (GA) have to say regarding assessing progress in geography. There are three levels of assessment: short-term (day-to-day); medium-term (periodic) and long-term (transitional). We looked at each one in turn and I signposted individuals to additional sources of support, e.g. a multi-media presentation (https://geography.org.uk/assessing-progress/); a Think Piece by Paul Weedon (https://geography.org.uk/wpcontent/uploads/2023/01/GA_TP_S_assessmentlearning.pdf).
Next, we ‘zoomed in’ on assessment in primary geography. Alongside emphasising the key points, I projected Figure 1: A formative assessment suite (https://www.schooleducationgateway.eu/en/pub/teacher_academy/webinars/formative-assessment-webinar.htm) and suggested that attendees may wish to purchase the Geographical Association (GA)’s excellent Leading Primary Geography Handbook and dip into Chapter 7 in particular (https://portal.geography.org.uk/shop/view/P020695).
Lastly, we considered a progression framework for geography. I shared a link to the Geographical Association (GA) and Rising Stars’ comprehensive resource that was produced a few years’ ago now, but is still referenced by many (https://www.risingstars-uk.com/subjects/historyandgeography/rising-stars-history/free-stuff/progression-frameworks-for-history-and-geogrpaphy). Contemplating how we can support pupils to match the high expectations that we have, I proposed that teachers investigated the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF)’s great toolkit, especially the content linked to ‘feedback’ and ‘metacognition and self-regulation’ (https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/education-evidence/teaching-learning-toolkit ). The Geographical Association (GA) has updated its guidance on progression and assessment in geography this year, a copy of which can be downloaded FREE by GA members or purchased for a very reasonable fee by others (https://portal.geography.org.uk/shop/view/P9781899085980). A few minutes were set aside for delegates to explore the afore-mentioned web-links and resources independently and ask any questions that they had.
The event concluded with a period of reflection. Individuals were asked to complete the following task and invited to share their thoughts thereafter. They were also prompted to fill in an online form, providing feedback about today’s event and to aid our future planning.
When asked, ‘How has your attendance at the network this year supported your role as Geography Subject Leader?‘ delegates had the following responses:
Provided a reminder of things to add to the action plan.
Helped ensure we are on the right route.
Yes, definitely more knowledgeable and have a clearer vision.
Theory; Ofsted guidance; fieldwork/mapwork ideas.
I have more ideas to help strengthen geography in school going forward, especially with assessment and fieldwork.
Given plenty of ideas for both current and next year’s action plan!
Hearing other’s experiences, particularly of Ofsted.
Helped give me clarity and guidance and feel like I’m not the only one finding it hard.
Lots of information provided and all very interesting and useful, but, sadly, have no time to implement anything.
Developed my understanding of how to improve my leadership in geography and how I can support staff and children with enthusiasm and knowledge recall for the subject.
Provided useful resources to share with school staff.
This has really supported my role. I am a new Subject Leader, so this has given me confidence.
Taken away some of the more practical ideas, e.g school is now signed up to Digimap for Schools.
Given me lots of ideas to take back to school. Helped with my CPD and provided skills to be a better Subject Leader.
Helped to celebrate what is going well, Speaking to other schools and sharing best practice or ideas.
Helped develop our progression documents and fieldwork across the school.
Lots more ideas, more confidence about what I’ve done well and what I need to do next/improve.
Improved subject knowledge for myself.
Backed up ideas for developing resources and curriculum.
Given me more confidence and a focus for my monitoring time.
Lots of useful ideas on assessment, fieldwork etc. Very useful to be able to talk to other Geography Subject Leaders, which is quite rare!
A productive use of their time on Tuesday mornings, it seems!
Do note the dates below in your diary; we look forward to having you on board next academic year. Since there has been interest from many other schools/teachers, we have opted to hold future meetings in a larger room, giving greater flexibility for interactivity and more space to mingle.