Another bespoke CPD session before the academic year is out!

Consultancy

It was rather tight, but we managed it! Last week, a bespoke CPD session was requested by the Geography Subject Leader at Milton Road Primary School in Cambridge (https://www.miltonroadschool.org.uk/) and, with only a few free dates left in my diary before schools break up for the summer, we were very fortunate to be able to earmark a mutually convenient time. Whilst I usually suggest that teachers have a couple of shorter sessions a fortnight apart to enable a degree of perusal, as well as discussion and reflection with colleagues, it was not really feasible this time and hence why we opted for one, half day virtual meeting.

The Geography Subject Leader had only regained responsibility for the subject a couple of weeks ago following staffing changes. Although she was familiar with the role and responsibilities of a subject leader having been in charge of history for a while now, she felt it was time to get to grips with geography to ensure that she could talk about it confidently and advise colleagues accordingly.

We began by conducting a SWOT analysis of the school’s current geography curriculum (identifying its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). This initiated much discussion and provided me with an insight into their present offering, as well as the Geography Subject Leader’s thoughts and feelings. We were able to pull out many positive attributes, but also realised that there were some flaws, further opportunities to be exploited and several obstacles that would need to be overcome.

Next, we delved into the EYFS statutory framework (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/65aa5e42ed27ca001327b2c7/EYFS_statutory_framework_for_group_and_school_based_providers.pdf), Development Matters documentation (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/64e6002a20ae890014f26cbc/DfE_Development_Matters_Report_Sep2023.pdf) and National Curriculum programmes of study for geography at Key Stages 1 and 2 (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5a7c1ecae5274a1f5cc75e97/PRIMARY_national_curriculum_-_Geography.pdf) to refresh ourselves with their content. At this point, I emphasised that progression must start from EYFS. Afterwards, I projected a copy of their whole school curriculum map for geography and we ticked off themes that were covered and circled items that had been overlooked. We discussed sequencing and progression in some depth and determined a more logical structure. There was some overlap between units and others went beyond the National Curriculum; all well and good if the basics are being addressed. It was agreed to omit certain unnecessary aspects and replace them with those that were missing. I shared many links to useful (and FREE) websites and resources and individuals/organisations to contact to support with ‘taking learning beyond the classroom’.

We touched upon geographical skills and fieldwork, equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), decolonising the curriculum, SEND, transition, reading across the curriculum, subject-specific vocabulary, as well as potential cross-curricular links. In addition, I referred to points raised in Ofsted’s latest geography subject report, ‘Getting our bearings’ (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/subject-report-series-geography/getting-our-bearings-geography-subject-report). These are all extremely important facets and each requires time and attention beyond what we had remaining; things to discuss in another session. Furthermore, I was conscious not to leave the Geography Subject Leader feeling overwhelmed. There is only so much that can be achieved in the time that she has; I advised her to break things down into small, manageable steps and appreciate that curriculum planning and development is an ongoing process.

The Geography Subject Leader thanked me for my support, which went ‘above and beyond’ what was expected.

Thank you for all your time and help, it’s very much appreciated.

Enjoy the forthcoming summer break and feel free to fire any further questions at me via e-mail. I look forward to working with the Geography Subject Leader again during the next academic year.

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