Virtual Primary Geography Subject Leader Network (PGSLN) meeting number 3!

Consultancy

Whilst the weeks when we hold in situ and virtual Primary Geography Subject Leader Network meetings are rather manic, I do enjoy them. Engaging with so many teachers over the course of two days (more than 65 from all areas of the UK), supporting and inspiring them in the process, is extremely rewarding. I also gain an insight into what is happening in different schools, recognising the many successes that have taken place, as well as the challenges that they face. It also provides me with ideas for future CPD and pupil-focused events for the next academic year.

The content of today’s meeting was very much shaped by my recent experiences at the Geographical Association (GA) Annual Conference, held in mid-April at the University of Manchester. After the much-loved, regular ‘educational round-up‘, it was decided to take the Annual Conference’s theme of ‘Geography for everyone‘ a step further; considering how we can ensure the subject is inclusive and accessible for all. Since the National Festival of Fieldwork 2024 was rapidly approaching (3rd to 15th June 2024), it seemed fitting to have a focus on ‘taking learning beyond the classroom‘, exemplifying the difference between fieldwork and simply a trip.

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) (https://geography.org.uk/) and Royal Geographical Society (RGS-IBG) (https://www.rgs.org/), 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. I paused for five 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. We then embarked on an adapted version of the ‘Give one to get one!’ activity in breakout rooms, which generated some lively discussion. I attempted to group individuals based on the Key Stage that they teach to, hopefully, facilitate further networking following our meeting.

Next, we considered ‘Geography for everyone‘: making the subject inclusive and accessible for all. Reference was given to decolonising the curriculum and SEND/scaffolding. A whole day could easily be devoted to the former, but, unfortunately, we did not have such time available. Therefore, I directed individuals towards a number of relevant websites or resources, including a group of geography educators that came together to look at ways to decolonise the curriculum (https://decolonisegeography.com); a slide set produced by Sharon Reilly (https://geography.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/GTE23-C-PPT-Sharon-Reilly-starting-a-conversation-Trainee-teachers-role-in-decolonisation-of-the-curriculum-GTC-2023.pdf), a podcast featuring Alistair Hamill and Iram Sammar (https://www.rgs.org/schools/resources-for-schools/alistair-hamill-and-iram-sammar-on-arcgis-and-decolonising-the-curriculum) and Iram Sammar’s own website and blog, Salaam Geographia (https://salaamgeographia.com/). Daryl Sinclair has produced a thought-provoking poster (‘Questions to ask about our learning today‘) that can be used with teachers and students (https://dsinclairwriting.com/2023/04/23/deij-resources-questions-to-ask-about-our-learning-today/). It presents ten reflective questions to ensure inclusive curriculum and lesson planning and the creation of plenary activities and is customisable to take into account your school’s context, mission, etc. I flagged up a superb article written by Evelyn Corrado in the Geographical Association (GA)’s Primary Geography journal (Number 108, Summer 2022) entitled ‘Decolonising geography to unshackle the representation of Africa‘ (https://portal.geography.org.uk/journal/view/J004641). The Geographical Association (GA) has a Primary Geography CPD Pack (Inclusive Geography: Diversity and difference) available to purchase via its online shop, which some may find beneficial if wishing to explore this theme further with colleagues (https://portal.geography.org.uk/shop/view/P9871783394259).

We also contemplated SEND/scaffolding. At this point, I showcased the content from another of the Geographical Association (GA)’s Primary Geography CPD Pack (Inclusive Geography: Scaffolding and SEND) and worked through some of the activities with delegates (https://portal.geography.org.uk/shop/view/P9781899086031). These encouraged a degree of reflection, interaction and discussion. I also drew their attention to an article that had appeared on Teach Early Year’s website relating to ‘in the moment planning‘ and personalised learning (https://www.teachearlyyears.com/a-unique-child/view/in-the-moment-planning/). We need to think about making learning outside the classroom inclusive as well. Chloe Searl, aka The Island Geography on Twitter/X, presented at the Geographical Association (GA) Annual Conference, sharing ‘Fifty ways to make your fieldwork more inclusive‘ (https://geography.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/50-ways-to-make-your-fieldwork-more-inclusive-handout.pdf); well worth a read. Additionally, I proposed that teachers watched and listened to the Geographical Association (GA) Annual Conference Teach Meet, particularly the contributions from Alice McCaughern, Jo Clarke and Scott Pughsley (https://youtu.be/uIuTlgKaa6I).

I paused for a brief comfort break. Armed with refreshments delegates returned for our focus on fieldwork, which referenced several links and resources, National Festival of Fieldwork 2024 and a local case study. Firstly, I referred to Ofsted‘s latest geography subject report: ‘Getting our bearings, especially its main findings and recommendations (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/subject-report-series-geography/getting-our-bearings-geography-subject-report). Furthermore, I projected a copy of a letter written to The Guardian newspaper by Steve Brace, the new Chief Executive of the Geographical Association (GA), who has a wealth of knowledge and expertise relating to the realm of fieldwork (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2024/apr/08/geography-students-are-losing-access-to-nature-as-fieldwork-falls). I proposed that participants might purchase a copy of the Geographical Association (GA)’s The Everyday Guide to Primary Geography: Local Fieldwork, a book that I have used endlessly over the past few years (https://portal.geography.org.uk/journal/view/P020586). Delegates were directed towards the troll wisdom slide set (an updated version of Barnaby Bear), a recent article about taking learning outside published in Teach Reading and Writing (https://www.teachwire.net/products/teach-reading-writing-issue-19), a Fieldwork Apps Review created by Chloe Searl (https://www.theislandgeographer.co.uk/resources), an episode from GeogPod, the Geographical Association (GA)’s podcast (https://geogpod.podbean.com/e/episode-53-alan-parkinson-and-paula-richardson-fieldwork-a-shared-experience-for-everybody), freely accessible resources on the Royal Geographical Society (RGS-IBG)’s website (https://www.rgs.org/schools/resources-for-schools?filter=key-stage-two-6355&filter=key-stage-one-1396&pageIndex=1&searchTerm=fieldwork) and National Festival of Fieldwork 2024 content (https://geography.org.uk/national-fieldwork/).

Next, we spent a few minutes completing the activity below, which provoked much discussion in breakout rooms:

At our in situ event earlier this week, Amy Coole, Assistant Headteacher at Abbeymead Primary School in Gloucester, talked about progression of fieldwork from EYFS to Year 6 within their setting. Copies of the sheets that she shared with us have also been placed in the meeting’s accompanying folder of resources for attendees to access if they wish to learn more. This is a school that has been awarded an outstanding in all four categories and overall in their recent Ofsted inspection.

Finally, teachers were requested to complete an online evaluation form. Not only does this help me perfect my offerings and gauge where further support is required, but it also gives participants some time to reflect on where they are right now and what their next steps might be.

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

Excellent and informative.

Informative with a wide range of strategies and resources to consider.

Fantastic advice about fieldwork.

Sharing of resources and ideas.

Excellent resources and WGLL progression and road maps.

Informative and inspiring. Great suggestions & ideas.

Very interesting and well resourced.

Informative; helpful; inspiring; jam-packed; well-communicated.

Informative and insightful, especially with fieldwork, which I have found confusing and overwhelming as Geography Lead in my school.

Incredibly informative with lots to take away and implement.

Current; relevant; inspiring; reflective.

A wealth of ideas.

Informative.

Helpful; interesting; inspiring; insightful.

Purposeful; insightful; straight to the point.

Inspiring ideas and resources, emphasising geography for all.

Informative and inspiring.

Knowledgeable; interesting; insightful; worthwhile.

Interesting; thought-provoking; productive; idea sharing; lots of useful information.

Informative regarding how to move geography forwards in our school with focus on geography fieldwork.

Very informative with lots of ideas to take away! Thank you!

Useful; inspiring; relevant; interesting; motivating.

Engaging; insightful; inspirational; thought-provoking.

Really informative and useful – lots of research and ideas to take forward.

Great to connect with other colleagues and loads of fantastic ideas to support the teaching of geography.

Useful and informative resources.

Very informative, lots to go away and read and watch.

Informative.

Amazing! Very informative with lots of information to take back to school and share.

So informative. Breakout rooms were really worthwhile.

Many useful ideas and tips to enhance the teaching and learning of geography.

Thank you for the session. I really enjoyed it.

Thank you, very useful.

Thank you for a very informative session.

Many thanks, Emma, this is a big help and, hopefully, I will be able to join the next meeting.

Thank you for your time this morning.

Thanks so much, Emma!

Thank you for everything you have shared this morning.

Many thanks and looking forward to these meetings next academic year. I find them invaluable as a geography co-ordinator.

Thank you, Emma , this has been really informative and lots of useful resources.

Thank you so much, looking forward to the next one in October.

Thank you, Emma, these meetings are so useful.

Thank you for a great session. Lots of takeaways.

Thank you for a great session.

Thank you, Emma, today was really useful.

Thank you for this morning Emma. An amazing session as always.

Thank you. So useful as always.

Brilliant, thank you.

Thank you. It has been really useful and informative.

Thank you for a very informative session this morning.

Many thanks, Emma. I look forward to catching up with the recording.

Thank you so much for the Primary Geography Subject Leader Network meeting today. 

Thank you for the training this morning.  It was really useful.  I’m always left buzzing after your network meetings.

Really helpful to have like-minded teachers to network with. Great meeting on Thursday, so thank you.

A positive way to end Term 5, it seems!

Our first virtual Primary Geography Subject Leader Network (PGSLN) meeting of 2024-2025 is scheduled for Friday 11th October 2024, from 9.00 am to 11.45 am. Further details will be posted in early-mid September.

Have an enjoyable and restful half-term break and all the best for Term 6. Long may the sun shine!

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