New to the Role of Subject Leader in General or Swapping Subjects?

It is now more than halfway though the summer holidays (sorry to remind you!) and inevitably for some people return-to-school thoughts will soon start infiltrating your dreams, if not your waking hours. Having, hopefully, spent the last few weeks relaxing and recharging your batteries you may be gearing up to preparing for the acadmic year ahead and for some this will involve additional roles and responsibilities.

A previous Headteacher of mine, once stated that you don’t necessarily have to be an expert in a subject in order to be a great subject leader of said subject!

Whilst I agree to some extent, I would definitely argue that if you want to be a great role model and champion a subject with your colleagues, it definitely helps to at least have some passion for the subject in question!

That said, you may recently have been asked/coerced/persuaded (*delete as appropriate) to take on the role of subject leader for a subject that is not your degree specialism and/or a subject that you either lack confidence in, or have very little prior interest. Regardless, it is now your role to actively promote and champion this subject and to encourage/support other teachers to deliver engaging lessons. You might also want to ensure that you are able to “talk the talk” through intent, implementation and impact with regards to your subject within the school’s curriculum should the “Big O” come visiting (but let’s not dwell on that ;-)). 

Here are some ways LGfL can help as you establish yourself within the role:

Firstly, take advantage of the free LGfL training you have access to as part of your “Let’s Get Digital” subscription to explore LGfL resources further and think about how they can be used to enhance your school’s curriculum.

During any of our training you will not only have the time to explore the wide range of resources available to support your subject but, and perhaps more valuable, you will be able to expand your PLN (Personal Learning Network) by talking to colleagues from other schools and Local Authorities/MATs about their experiences with leading a subject.

Visit training.lgfl.net for more information on what courses we offer. 

 

Book a school visit from an LGfL Learning Resource Consultant (LRC):

We offer a range of flexible sessions in your school at no extra cost (ie they come as part of LGfL subscription package, currently). These sessions are designed to ensure that you are maximising the use of the resources available on the LGfL grid. 

The sessions we can offer are as follows:

  • General introduction to LGfL for teachers: An insight to energising teaching and learning within your school using LGfL curriculum content, with guided supported time to explore LGfL curriculum content with some top tips and recommendations. (This can fit in to an hour but can be longer, during a twilight or an INSET session).
  • General introduction to LGfL for TAs/LSAs: A focused look at how to support teaching and learning within your school using LGfL curriculum content with guided supported time to explore LGfL curriculum content with some top tips and recommendations for Teaching Assistants, HLTAs and LSAs. (This can fit in to an hour but can be longer and can also be during school hours, a twilight or INSET session).
  • Focused training: This is normally booked in after the first school visit and is decided by the teachers’ needs and wants. (This can fit in to an hour but can be longer and can be during the school day or after).
  • Curriculum mapping (for Curriculum or Computing Leaders): This could be during the school day and involves one of our experienced Learning Resource Consultants helping the School Leaders to map LGfL content to your school’s existing curriculum map.

Subject and Topic Related Resources:

At LGfL, we host a wealth of online resources which may be relevant depending on the subject you are leading. Both Busy Things and J2eToolsuite have been the focus of many of our Curriculum blogs and are fantastic for delivering subject related content, but also as a tool for the pupils to present their work. Do remember to visit the ‘Special Events’ tab on BusyThings to check for resources for day/weeks such as National Poetry Day, World Space Week etc, should you be considering such an event across your school.

We also host many more subject specific resources for you and your colleagues to discover…

Our expanding LGfL 5 Ways Series  promotes a wide variety of LGfL materials to use for different subjects (and indeed within different school roles). Some of the 5 Ways Series documents are also supported with previously posted blogs: History, Computing, Science and English.

The EYFS Spotlight Series resource is ideal for use in primary schools and Early Years settings. Within each category you’ll find a variety of links to LGfL resources and suggested teaching ideas on how to use them within your Early Years setting. As some settings may have variations in naming of topics, please see the topic descriptions to help you search for the related content. [There are currently 8 typical topics with plans to add at least four more to be added early autumn]. 

Humanities Subject Leaders:

LGfL has many resources written in-house, to support the teaching and learning of humanities. I have summarised a few of these below:

LGfL worked with the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University in creating this comprehensive resource, which provides a unique insight into the ‘Polar Exploration in the Heroic Age of Scientific Discovery’. Featuring exclusive access to the historic archive of the most famous polar expeditions of the 20th Century, the resource includes:

  • Video footage of equipment and artefacts from the most famous expeditions, complete with text transcripts of the expert explanations
  • High-resolution photographs of objects featured in the video footage
  • Journal extracts read by a descendant of a member of Captain Scott’s Discovery expedition
  • Interactive map of the Polar Regions with plotted locations of the multimedia assets
  • The opportunity to meet a modern-day polar explorer and hear of his experiences living for extended periods of time in some of the world’s most extreme environments. A wide range of learning materials to support all images, video and audio recordings.

Refer back to a previous blog posted in January 2019, entitled ‘Take a Walk in the Footsteps of the Great Explorers of the Past’ for further insight in to this resource.

The Romans in London produced in association with the Museum of London, this resource features unique video explanations at locations around the City of London and of Roman objects used and found in London and a range of Roman images for you to use in your study of The Romans in London. The resource is divided into 6 thematic ‘lessons’, each one having a mix of filmed explanations of surviving remains and of objects, both real and replica. This offers a large amount of resource material to enable teachers to tell the story of Londinium without leaving the classroom and for students to access information to enable further research when learning from home. LGfL has worked with virtual and augmented-reality experts at Computeam Ltd to create a series of artefacts and experiences that complement this learning resource by bringing it to life in a way that is otherwise unimaginable.

Tudors in London also produced in association with the Museum of London, aims to develop an understanding of a historical context in which to appreciate how events of 500 Years ago still impact London life today.  featuring over 140 high-quality video clips and over 60 high resolution images from the Museum of London Archaeological Archive, Royal Collection Trust and key Tudor locations in London, the extensive digital collection is further enhanced by a framework of curriculum-linked materials.

Queen Victoria as you’ve never seen her before, this resource transports pupils into the regal world of Victoria the girl, the princess, the new queen and longest reigning monarch. What’s in a picture? Quite a lot in fact and thanks to this collection of paintings and photographs from Royal Collection Trust, you will find even more.  56 carefully collated images tell the story of one of Britain’s favourite monarchs, and is accompanied by lesson plans and curriculum notes to create memorable learning experiences for pupils. All the images are available as high-resolution downloads, ideal for studying details – even on a large screen and licensed for educational use. They are divided into four themes, each with lesson plans and general guidance to inspire teaching through images:

  • Palace in Waiting
  • Albert’s Arrival
  • All Change
  • Becoming Royal

The River Thames in London resource helps pupils to understand more about this iconic river and how it has influenced and continues to influence life in and far beyond London. The resource has lesson plans and stand alone assets for Key Stages 1-3, with high-quality materials provided by the Royal Collection Trust, Museum of London and the British Library helping to uncover the river’s secrets through paintings, maps and photographs.

Regardless of subject and age range, most teachers need to incorporate a sense of place relating to location in their everyday teaching. LGfL is working in partnership with ESRI to bring the ARC Geographical Information System to all LGfL schools to provide a comprehensive mapping tool and locational analysis. Keep an eye out for the new LGfL portal featuring the following:

  • USO log in sync to the ARC GiS system
  • Support for fieldwork through the Survey 1-2-3 tool.
  • Curriculum linked datasets to overlay on the Arc GiS system
  • Comprehensive video support for how to maximise the platform across the curriculum and age ranges

Also in development with ESRI and the Museum of London Archaeological Archive is a location based app that will allow LGfL schools to understand the history of the exact location they are in at any point in time. For further details about this new partnership contact content support@lgfl.net

Explore Geography aims to demonstrate geographical concepts that are studied at KS2, KS3 and KS4 in a visual and interactive way making use of the latest technology. The national curriculum for geography at all Key Stages states that: A high-quality geography education should inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.  This statement is at the heart of this resource, Augmented Reality can help convey a complex concept like no other technology and Explore Geography does this with nine different concepts.  We believe in blending technology seamlessly into the learning experience, ensuring that when technology is used in the classroom, it enhances pupils’ learning whilst still providing the engagement and wow factor.

The ‘Active Worksheets’ have the AR triggers embedded so they can be printed out and distributed to students to support group or individual investigations. They cover a range of topics and concepts within both KS2 and KS3 curriculum and are perfect for using to cover specifications of the GCSE curriculum with students.

‘Spinning Planet’ looks at the Coriolis Effect and is an interactive 3D model of the globe with students able to observe Hurricanes, Cyclones and Typhoons in action across the globe. With a ‘Divided Planet’, an interactive 3D model of the Earth enables pupils to examine lines of longitude and latitude alongside the Tropics and Equator; these can be switched on and off and highlighted, something you cannot do when using a physical globe or hard copy diagram.

Remember Explore Geography is only one of the many mixed reality resources to be found on LGfL; visit the portal or refer back to the blog posted in November 2018 entitled ‘Inspyro VR and AR Content on the Class VR LGfL Portal’ to discover more.

Computing Subject Leader:

The Computing Resource Centre is a showcase of all the computing resources that LGfL have to offer, alongside other (free) outside resources that can support the computing curriculum within your school. These have been grouped into the following categories:

  • Information Technology
  • Digital Literacy
  • Computing Science
  • External resources
  • Research

‘Computing in the national curriculum – A guide for primary teachers’ is a benchmark document produced by the Computing at School (CAS) Organisation for schools delivering the computing national curriculum. At LGfL we have created an enhanced, media-rich, interactive version that uses the power of the web to bring it to life with hyperlinks to definitions of key terms and other useful sites, plus videos deomonstrating key concepts and links to research and resources. 

Remember that LGfL is also part of the CAS Community; Bradley Dardis (one of LGfL’s LRCs) is running a Barefoot Programming Workshop on behalf of CAS – this would be a great event to meet colleagues in a similar situation. He also offers a ‘Creative Computing’ and Ipad training (all listed on the training portal previously mentioned).

Science Subject Leader:

Ensure your teachers know that Switched on Science offers full coverage across Key Stage 1 and 2. It is a flexible and creative investigation-based programme with a clear focus on working scientifically  a core assessable element of the science curriculum. It is packed with best-practice CPD videos and supportive lessons to ensure every teacher can deliver the programmes of study with confidence. The package comes with a video for each unit, teacher guide, interactive exercises, pupil workbooks, ideas for differentiation and much more.

 

 

Recently, I heard a Primary Science Teaching Trust (PSTT) fellow talking about the support they offer to increase “science capital” within primary schools. The PSTT are a charitable trust and their ultimate aim is to see excellent teaching of science in every primary classroom across the UK. They have a network of outstanding and award-winning primary science teachers who are working to develop and disseminate excellence in primary science across the UK. They offer free advice and support to teachers wishing to improve primary science and many of their resources are free.

As a new Science Leader you may find The Teacher Assessment in Primary Science (TAPS) pyramid tool a supportive structure to evaluate and develop the science assessment processes further within your school (the section also contains a growing database of updated focused assessment plans and work samples).

They also encourage and support schools to join up into clusters so that staff across schools can support one another in the development of science teaching and learning.

In General:

Whatever subject you find yourself leading on within your school, please remember there are many teachers in the same position as you and Twitter can be a great place to find support and advice as you grow and evolve as a subject leader. 

The LGfL Community are also a very supportive bunch and you can view case studies from schools about how they have used LGfL resources as part of the daily diet they offer their pupils. The case studies  can be found on LGfL TV; additionally you can view the Keynote Speakers’ presentations from the many LGfL Annual Conferences included are the likes of Chris Dyson (@chrisdysonHT) and Ross McGill (@TeacherToolkit) from the Curriculum Conference 2019.

 

Please let us know the impact the resources have had on your pupils and colleagues or indeed suggestions for what else you would like to see from LGfL by posting on LGfL’s Twitter or Facebook.