Bespoke CPD, part 2!

Consultancy

Well, it was time for another bespoke CPD session with staff at St. William’s Catholic Primary School in Wigan, Lancashire (https://www.saintwilliams.wigan.sch.uk/). I received an e-mail a couple of weeks’ ago requesting ‘…. could we please look at what we have been working on since our first meeting (long-term overview and sequencing of it, enquiry and auxiliary questions) and then also opportunities for fieldwork‘, so our agenda for the morning was easily construed!

We began by discussing what had been achieved since our first virtual session and answering any questions that teachers still had. Staff had worked collaboratively to produce a long-term overview of their whole school geography curriculum; it certainly had much better coverage, sequencing and progression than previously. Some themes had enquiry and auxiliary questions identified, whereas other units needed further input. We brainstormed some feasible questions to fill any gaps and then spent some time looking at resourcing the finalised curriculum.

Next, we contemplated how to ‘take learning beyond the classroom‘ in conjunction with each theme. I provided suggestions for possible speakers/visitors, as well as organisations and businesses to approach for support. At this point, I reiterated some of the comments made by Ofsted in their recent geography subject report: ‘Getting our bearingswith regard to fieldwork (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/subject-report-series-geography/getting-our-bearings-geography-subject-report). I drew attention to their findings and recommendations in particular (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/subject-report-series-geography/getting-our-bearings-geography-subject-report#main-findings and https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/subject-report-series-geography/getting-our-bearings-geography-subject-report#main-findings). I also shared a number of points made recently about fieldwork at the Geographical Association’s Annual Conference and Exhibition, which took the theme of ‘Geography for everyone‘ (https://geography.org.uk/events-cpd/ga-annual-conference-and-exhibition/). It is important to make sure that fieldwork is inclusive and accessible for all. Children with SEND often find unfamiliar environments difficult and I linked to a couple of very thought-provoking contributions made at the Geographical Association’s Annual Conference Teach Meet relating to this (https://youtu.be/uIuTlgKaa6I).

I proposed a number of ideas for local fieldwork and directed teachers towards a range of useful websites and resources to support these. We also talked about how we might successfully integrate fieldwork into the study of more remote themes or places, e.g. climate zones, biomes and vegetation belts; North America and South America. There might be a virtual element to this. Alternatively, there is room to be creative and conduct an activity that facilitates a degree of comparison between the local surroundings and an environment further afield. We looked at two rapidly developing initiatives as well, namely the National Education Nature Park (https://www.educationnaturepark.org.uk/) and the National Festival of Fieldwork approaching in June 2024 (https://geography.org.uk/national-fieldwork/).

By the end of the session, it was clear that we had addressed the initial objectives comprehensively and staff had a wealth of ideas and resources to now trial. Be brave and have a go! Do keep me updated too.

‘ … thank you so much for all your help. We will take some time and have a look at all of the resources you have mentioned.’

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