Our virtual Primary Geography Subject Leader Network (PGSLN) resumes!

Consultancy

A great turnout for our first Primary Geography Subject Leader Network meeting of this academic year!

Welcome back everyone! It was lovely to have many ‘regulars’ and several ‘newbies’ on board our first virtual Primary Geography Subject Leader Network meeting of this academic year; in fact, more than 75 schools from across the UK accessed the meeting, either in real time or via a recording to view when more convenient. Another successful meeting had also been held in conjunction with GLOSSI, Gloucestershire’s School Improvement Team, at The Pavilion in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire earlier this week, with representatives from nearly 30 local schools in attendance.

After the usual welcome, introductions, setting of aims and agenda, we moved swiftly on to the starter. I introduced delegates to the Geographical Association (GA)’s new CPD toolkit (https://geography.org.uk/cpd-toolkit/) and we utilised their CPD roadmap to evaluate where we are all at. I mentioned the GA’s Professional Award and Enhanced Professional Award too, which some more experienced Subject Leaders might wish to consider further.

Next, I gave my ‘educational round-up‘, a popular feature of previous network meetings. Here, I showcased an array of useful websites/web-links and resources, most of which were FREE, as well as sharing the latest news from the leading subject associations, namely the Geographical Association (GA) and Royal Geographical Society (RGS-IBG) (https://geography.org.uk/ and https://www.rgs.org/), plus other educational sources. I also provided details about forthcoming events, competitions and funding opportunities, in addition to recommendations for movie-clips, games and books that could be used within the classroom. Ten minutes were set aside for independent exploration of these; hopefully, there was something for everyone!

The main part of the meeting was divided into two sections. Firstly, we delved into Ofsted‘s latest publication, ‘Getting our bearings: geography subject report‘. I summarised its purpose and content, clarified what the different types of knowledge imply (substantive; disciplinary; procedural) and relayed the thoughts of those based at the leading subject associations. I was fortunate to be able to attend a livestream that the GA ran a few weeks ago, where Mark Enser, Ofsted Subject Lead for Geography, spoke for around 30 minutes about the main findings and recommendations of the report and then spent a similar amount of time answering questions from the audience. I also directed individuals towards Marc Hayes’ résumé of Ofsted’s recent report (https://www.marcrhayes.com/post/a-summary-of-ofsted-s-geography-subject-report). Thereafter, I initiated a couple of activities, firstly to be conducted independently and then used as a stimulus for discussion in breakout rooms.

Delegates were allocated a breakout room based on their current geographical location; it was hoped that this might facilitate further networking within their county/region following our meeting. The discussions that prevailed were lively and enlightening.

After a short comfort break, the meeting resumed and we looked at using geographical concepts to bring meaning and shape to substantive content and to help scaffold progression – with a focus on ‘place’. At this point, I directed delegates towards the GA’s ‘A framework for the school geography curriculum‘ (https://geography.org.uk/ga-curriculum-framework/). I played a couple of short movie clips so that participants could gain some insight into it and hear a primary teacher’s viewpoint, before we investigated the pages relating to geographical concepts in more depth (https://youtu.be/bN-c2goyKvA and https://youtu.be/NB04lW1VzZ8). I posed a few questions to attendees; things to consider with colleagues when planning and developing their curriculum.

I deemed it appropriate to zoom in on one key geographical concept, ‘place‘. This was referred to on numerous occasions in Ofsted’s ‘Getting our bearings: geography subject report’ too. Care needs to be taken to ‘make sure that pupils learn about places in an appropriately nuanced and complex way. They should encounter the same places at different times and in different contexts, or look at a place through a range of geographical lenses. Pupils should have some opportunities for regional as well as thematic studies.’ (Ofsted, 2023). We tackled an activity together based on our earliest memories of places. This, along with other suggested place-related activities, could easily be conducted with colleagues during a staff meeting or with youngsters.

I paused for a few minutes so that individuals could digest all that had been discussed, before we undertook a period of reflection as part of the plenary.

Delegates were also requested to complete an online form to provide feedback about the event; this enables me to tweak the delivery if necessary and guarantees that I meet the interests and needs of as many individuals as possible during our next virtual Primary Geography Subject Leader Network meeting, scheduled for Friday 1st March 2024, from 9.00 am to approximately 11.45 pm.

Some of their ‘concluding comments‘ can be found below:

Sum up today’s meeting in five words or a sentence or two:

Supportive and inspiring.

Informative; detailed; resourceful.

Useful.

Informative; interesting; useful; lots of takeaways and things to try.

Thought-provoking; inspiring; interesting; clear and concise information.

Informative; engaging; useful.

Informative; useful and great to make a start on looking at progression and opportunities for drip-feeding geography into non-geography topics.

Informative; well-resourced/linked; lots to reflect upon!

Extremely informative.

A very informative and thought-provoking meeting, which clarified current ideas and shared many steps to think about.

Lots of great resources to look into.

Thank you – full to the brim with great links, reading and ideas!

Fantastic CPD, which points me in the ‘right’ direction to enable my school to improve and embed geography into our curriculum.

Very useful; lots to think about and go away and research further!

Fantastic range of ideas and collation of key information.

Informative; useful; lots of recommendations.

Full of resources to share with others and promote geography with.

Informative.  It gives me more ideas how to lighten up geography in our school.  It helps to find new information about this subject.

Overview of geographical concepts and new work relating to geographical research/ideas.

Clear, concise and informative.

Useful to be signposted towards key documents.

Brilliant. Extremely informative with lots of practical takeaways.

Very helpful and full of recommendations!

Inspiring and informative.  Supportive and clear.  Very Useful.

A useful update and information on key concepts in geography.

Enlightening; insightful. Helped me tremendously – especially in the sharing of resources.

Lots of information on how to develop geography in school.  Great ideas on how to link geography in with other subjects so that we can have more of an emphasis on geography.

Informative; eye-opening; reassuring.  Thank you for building my leadership confidence.

Lots of useful websites to gain resources from.

Highlighted issues with our curriculum!

Helpful; relevant; informative.

Very useful and informative, as always!

Informative and concise.

Head-explodingly brilliant!  Thank you once again.

Very informative, yet easy to follow.  Lots of useful ideas for personal CPD, staff meetings and classroom teaching.

An interesting and well-rounded conversation about geography as a subject.

Resource rich and an opportunity for reflection.

Informative; thought provoking; well-resourced.

Informative, but almost too much information.

Very informative and relevant.

Informative; inspirational; useful; thought-provoking; overwhelming!

Extremely informative, thought-provoking and enlightening.

Relevant, useful and helpful to support geography leadership.

Informative; overwhelming; full of ideas and resources; useful.

Another very useful session filled with excellent resources, tips, focussed discussions and support.  Thank you!

How has attending this virtual Primary Geography Subject Leader Network (PGSLN) meeting supported you in your role as a Geography Subject Leader?

I found it really supportive and I realise I am doing quite a good job!

Clarified my next steps, things I have done well and what still needs development.

Given me resources.

It has given me confidence in what we already do, but also broadened my thinking about what we can do within the next couple of academic years.

Given me a lot to think about in terms of my own development and next steps to help me as a Geography Subject Leader.

Helped me to think about next steps .

Given me ideas and confidence.

I feel more knowledgeable.

More ideas and clarification of key concepts to map throughout the key stages.

Provided me with more curriculum design and pedagogical knowledge and understanding.

I have a greater level of knowledge and am confident with the recent updates and better equipped to support my staff in teaching and delivering geography.

Building understanding of what I can do as a Geography Subject Leader.

Given me another buzz!

Securing the ideas that I’m going in the ‘right’ direction.

It’s been really useful to have the time to look at geography and the issues we need to address at school.

Yes!

Given me next steps and also enlightened me on the new report by Ofsted about geography.

It’s given me updates from key bodies, such as Ofsted, which I can use to assess our geography curriculum against.

It has given me more confidence. It always helps me to understand the geography curriculum better and gives more ideas how to lead geography.

Supported understanding of concepts and pointed to useful links/documents.

Helped develop my knowledge of curriculum development and next steps.

Time to read Ofsted supporting documents.

Developed confidence and subject knowledge.  Broken big concepts down into manageable chunks.

Key points to prepare for Ofsted and gives me a community that I can ask for support from.

Developing my knowledge and pedagogy.  Ideas, resources and useful updates.  Thank you.

Given time to get up-to-date and focus on areas of development.

Gained a further understanding of place.

Gained subject knowledge and resources to take back to school and share with staff.

A wonderful opportunity for sharing information about geography teaching.  I feel a little wiser and more confident leading this subject.  I look forward to the next meeting.

A sense of clarity and purpose.  I have a much better idea where I am going.

The shared folder is great to keep and share with my school.

It has given me a focus for my development plan.

It’s given me time to think about my subject and assess whereabouts our school is at with geography.  It’s allowed me to write a comprehensive list of things to look into/research.

Time to reflect.

Brilliant support.  Thank you.

Always very informative and I leave bursting with new ideas that I can’t wait to share with staff and use with pupils.

It improved my confidence as Geography Subject Leader.

Ideas for CPD, assessment and resources.

It has given me a focus for development and a wealth of resources to aid this.

I don’t have another Geography Subject Leader across our MAT, so it’s nice to be able to talk to and meet other people who can support me!

Helps you to take the time to evaluate your geography leadership and practice in school.

I feel better informed and reassured that I’m on the right lines.

Absolutely it has, yes!

Highly supported.

Has given me more information to look at and have a bit more understanding of my subject.

It has given me wealth of information to support my knowledge and understanding of the subject and how to support staff in school.  Given details and document links to information, resources and organisations that I would otherwise have not known about. 

I just wanted to send a huge thank you to you for such a worthwhile and jam-packed network meeting!  It has been my first network, which I found the details of quite by accident – where do you promote your networks?  I don’t want to miss one ever!

Thank you very much for this GSLN meeting this morning.  Our school’s budget is extremely tight and so we are unable to pay for me to attend these meetings so I have paid personally and it is worth every single penny.  You always seem to pace courses very well and ensure there are lots of practical ideas that can be used in the classroom. 

I just want to thank you again for your training.  Your expertise and information provided today was so relevant and helpful and will really help me with my next steps in geography leadership.

It was great to be involved in the network again.

I have finally got around to watching the network meeting recording today.  Thank you SO much for continuing to provide such informative, professional and practical updates and CPD for Geography.  I find your work invaluable in developing my geographical practice and then supporting our school. Happy New Year – and I look forward to at least catching up with recordings through 2024 and beyond.

Not a bad way to spend a Friday morning, it seems!

Enjoy all the forthcoming festivities and please do have a good rest over the Christmas holidays!

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