Virtual Primary Geography Subject Leader Network meeting (2)

Consultancy

Since Term 4 was now well underway for all schools, it was time for our second virtual Primary Geography Subject Leader Network meeting of this academic year. I had presented at another event earlier in the week in conjunction with GLOSSI (Gloucestershire School Improvement) team. Participants relished the chance to network with other individuals in a similar role to themselves and found the session to be hugely beneficial; I hoped that the 50 plus delegates that we had on today’s virtual meeting had as positive an experience too.

After a formal welcome and introductions (it was lovely to see many familiar faces, but good to have a few ‘newbies’ on board as well to ensure our network continues to thrive), I outlined the aims of and agenda for the meeting. I then embarked upon an ‘educational round-up‘, highlighting the latest news from the leading subject associations, such as the Geographical Association (GA) and Royal Geographical Society (RGS-IBG), in addition to links to useful websites and resources (many of which were FREE), competitions and forthcoming events targeted at teachers and pupils. I tried to provide something for everyone; from EYFS through to Year 6, SEND, learning in and beyond the classroom, reading across the curriculum, cultural capital, equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), topical themes/issues, global dimension and cross-curricular connections. I paused for ten minutes so that participants could revisit those suggestions that were especially relevant to them, their cohort and setting and bookmark websites as favourites to explore further at a later date.

Next, we focused upon ‘What makes a high-quality curriculum?‘ and ‘coverage, sequencing and progression‘. I displayed and talked through various points raised by Ofsted and the GA relating to a high-quality curriculum (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ofsted-publishes-research-review-on-geography, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/research-review-series-geography/research-review-series-geography#curriculum and https://geography.org.uk/planning-a-high-quality-primary-geography-curriculum/), before delegates attempted the below activity. This stimulated much personal reflection and discussion via the chat feed or by individuals unmuting themselves.

I explained what coverage, sequencing and progression each implied. We delved into what the GA had to say regarding progression and expectations in geography (https://geography.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/GA-nc14-aspects-plus-dimensions-2014.pdf). Then, we unpicked the EYFS statutory framework, zooming in on ‘Understanding the World’ (UtW) and its three Early Learning Goals (ELGs), and the National Curriculum geography programmes of study at Key Stages 1 and 2 to familiarise ourselves with their content (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-years-foundation-stage-framework–2 and https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5a7c1ecae5274a1f5cc75e97/PRIMARY_national_curriculum_-_Geography.pdf). We also looked at references to curriculum within Ofsted’s latest subject report, ‘Getting our bearings, especially its recommendations (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/subject-report-series-geography and https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/subject-report-series-geography/getting-our-bearings-geography-subject-report#recommendations). I drew delegates’ attention to an item in the GA’s latest newsletter too (Geography Matters), which alluded to the core purpose of geography lessons and gave some useful pointers when studying a specific area or region. We then paused for another short activity.

I shared some best practice case studies, which teachers could view briefly or in more depth in their own time should they wish to.

We took a break from our screens for fifteen minutes. On our return, with refreshments in tow, we investigated progression in relation to key geographical concepts with a focus on ‘place’. I referred to the GA’s A framework for the school geography curriculum links that I had shared during our previous meeting in case anyone had missed these (https://geography.org.uk/ga-curriculum-framework/, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bN-c2goyKvA and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NB04lW1VzZ8) and what it deems geographical concepts to be. We then unpacked the four key concepts and explored progression in more depth, considering different ways of talking about it and progression by outcome. We zoomed in on the EYFS framework and National Curriculum geography programmes of study at Key Stages 1 and 2 to identify references to ‘place’.

I then demonstrated what I had done with Key Stage 2 pupils in relation to hot and cold places to exemplify progression.

David Weatherly had also kindly shared examples of progression in terms of the island of Montserrat.

In the Spring 2024 edition of the GA’s Primary Geography journal, there was an article written by Michael Rosen and Ben Ballin entitled ‘Where was I? Personal stories about significant places‘, which discussed a project that pupils from EYFS to Year 6 had engaged with in different ways. Another article within the same journal, ‘Local enquiries: what kind of stories do we tell‘, written this time by Paula Owens and Peter Vujakovic, included some of the thoughts and processes from initial exploration of curriculum-making with a school located in Gravesend, Kent (https://portal.geography.org.uk/journal/index/pg).

I built in a little time for attendees to revisit some of the earlier best practice case studies that were shared to see how they explored ‘place’ within their whole school geography curricula.

Finally, it was time for delegates to reflect, which provoked the addition of some interesting comments into the chat feed.

Teachers were asked to complete an online evaluation form; useful for me when contemplating the content and format of our next meeting, but also for them to identify their key takeaways and next actions. It also gave me time to address any questions from the audience or items inserted into the chat feed.

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

So fabulous, Emma – so many great ideas to take our curriculum forward.

Thought-provoking and given me opportunity to review existing plans.

Informative; curriculum; progression; ideas; reflection time.

Very useful and informative.  Lots of ideas to take away.

It was great – thank you.

Ensuring progression through place knowledge across the curriculum.  Informative information to ensure this is effective in our school curriculum.

Informative – given me loads to do.

Very useful resources at the beginning.  Place progression really useful for my curriculum rewrite.

Brilliant: informative, interesting, current and clear.

Informative – challenged understanding of our curriculum.

Informative; reflective; forward-thinking.

It was a very informative meeting; definitely will take a lot from this to my school.

Informative; interesting; helpful; thought-provoking.

Informative; interesting; great to reflect.

Loads of information and signposts!  Fast pace.

A whole wealth of resources and ideas to explore over the next few days!

Brilliant for developing my understanding of progression.

Very informative and helpful.

Really informative, great to be signposted to different resources.

The meeting was informative and useful.  Progression of place; key concepts; sequencing.

Useful; clear; plenty of resources.

Great links to use in practical sessions and gives good ideas for structuring geography throughout school.

Full of ideas and inspiration.

Very informative and lots of resources to take away.

Very useful with great ideas to develop our geography curriculum further.

Informative as always and excellent resource list.

A chance for me to take a step back and look at the bigger picture again.

Good links to reading materials, which is always useful.

Very informative.  Lots of information regarding progression and how to make the curriculum unique to your school.

Informative and interesting!

Today’s session was absolutely fantastic!  Offered up lots of fantastic resources to be used throughout the whole school setting!  I am leaving the session with lots of exciting ideas and plans for our school.

Informative; inspiring; useful.  Lots I can take away and develop within school.

Informative; structured; inspiring.

Clear; informative; productive; useful; up-to-date.

Thank you for another brilliant session, Emma.  Really informative and lots of takeaways.

Thank you, very helpful information.

Thank you, really helpful.

So helpful, Emma, so grateful!

Thank you so much – lots to think about and do!

Lots of interesting reading and links to look at.

Thank you so much, I am glad I joined your meeting!  I will definitely try and encourage my Head to let me attend the next meeting!

Thank you so much for this morning.  It has been really useful and informative.

Thanks, Emma!  A whole wealth of resources and ideas to explore!

Thank you!  Really useful.

Thank you very much!  So useful.

Thank you, Emma!  Really useful.

Thank you, Emma, a really informative morning session!

Thank you so much, really useful.

Thank you so much.  So useful and informative.

Thank you, very useful.

Thank you, see you in May.

Thank you!  Very useful.

Thank you for the recent online Primary Geography Subject Leader Network meeting. It was extremely useful as always. I’m actively looking forward to the next one – they are very inspiring and motivating. 

Finally just got round to doing the course this morning as I could not attend on the day due to childcare. It was fabulous!

Not a bad way to end the week, it seems! Hope to see many of you at our next Primary Geography Subject Leader Network meeting on Thursday 23rd May 2024, from 9.00 am to 11.45 am. Further details will be distributed to e-mail contacts and uploaded to social media feeds after the Easter break. Keep your eyes peeled!

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