Our Geography curriculum is based on what we know is best for our pupils. We believe that Geography should allow all pupils, regardless of their unique and differing needs the ability and skills to grow and succeed. We aspire for our pupils to develop a greater understanding and knowledge of the world around them and their place within not only their local area, but their place in the wider world.
Geography provides pupils with a knowledge and skills based curriculum that is progressive year on year, allowing pupils to transfer these skills to a variety of other curricular areas. We believe in allowing pupils to become resilient independent and investigative enquirers from an early age by instilling them with curiosity of our world and the people who inhabit it.
We aim to provide pupils with a confident understanding of the diversity of people, places, resources and the natural and human features of our environment. This allows pupils to propose and answer questions about the natural and human aspects of the world around them and preparing them for further education and adulthood.
Coverage and progression
We have recently revised our curriculum to ensure we have good progression of skills throughout the school. This increase of our Geographical skills allows us as staff to ensure children have clear progression throughout their school lives and that past lessons impact and build on the children prior knowledge to supply them with a wealth of knowledge regarding a number of different geographical places and an understanding of the world around them.
The aims of Geography are:
- To develop the geographical skills and vocabulary necessary to carry out effective geographical enquiry.
- To develop an interest and enjoyment of geographical experiences.
- To make sense of their own surroundings through learning about their own locality, and the interaction between people and environment.
- To extend interest and knowledge and understanding of places in Britain, Europe and the World.
- To increase their knowledge of other cultures and in doing so, teach a respect and understanding of what it means to be a positive citizen in a multi-cultural country.
- To allow children to learn geographical skills, including how to use, draw and interpret maps.
- To develop knowledge and understanding of the human and physical processes which shape places.
- To enable children to know and understand environmental problems at a local, regional and global level.
- To encourage in children a commitment to sustainable development and an appreciation of what ‘global citizenship’ means.
- To develop a variety of other skills, including those of enquiry, problem solving, ICT and investigation.
Teaching and Learning
We use a variety of teaching and learning styles in our Geography lessons. We believe in whole-class or small group teaching methods and we combine these with enquiry-based research activities. We encourage children to ask as well as answer geographical questions. We offer them the opportunity to use a variety of data, such as maps, statistics, graphs, pictures, and aerial photographs, and we enable them to use ICT in Geography lessons where this serves to enhance their learning. Digimaps has been purchased to help our fieldwork teaching, and to help us understand how areas have changed overtime. Children take part in role-play and discussions, and they present reports to the rest of the class. They engage in a wide variety of problem-solving activities. Wherever possible, we involve the children in ‘real’ geographical activities, e.g. research of a local environmental problem or use of the Internet to investigate a current issue.
We recognise the fact that there are children of widely different abilities in all classes and we provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child. We achieve this by providing differentiated learning activities and ‘steps to success’ that allow the children to develop their own learning.
Enrichment within Geography
As part of the Geography curriculum we believe it is important for children to have the best learning experiences while they are with us. In order to give children these experiences we provide them with WOW days, this is a day off timetable and linked to their topic, we also encourage trips, visitors, as well as inviting our parents into school to share our learning and enjoy our topics with us.
Geography curriculum planning
We teach Geography in the Foundation Stage as an integral part of the topic work covered during the year. We relate the geographical aspects of the children’s work to the objectives set out in the Early Learning Goals (ELGs), which underpin the curriculum planning for children aged three to five. Geography makes a significant contribution to the ELG objectives, particularly those linked to ‘understanding the world’. Two main Geographical focus areas for children in the Foundation Stage include, ‘people and communities’ and ‘the world’. Children celebrate lots of different festivals and this is linked to learning about different countries. They learn about their local area by going on local walks to the postbox etc. Children are assessed at the end of the year as ’emerging’ ‘expected’ or ‘exceeding’ the Early Learning Goals and this is reported to parents.
Key Stage 1 and 2
We are currently using the National Curriculum document in order to teach core Geography skills to our children. The subject leader has created a progression map for Geography for the whole school with reference to previous learning and keywords. Teaching staff use this document to create and adapt lessons to meet the objectives and the needs of our children We plan cross-curricular themes which allow the children to develop their Geographical skills and provide interesting and engaging opportunities for learning. Children of all abilities have the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge and through planned progression, we offer them an increasing challenge as they move through the school.
Our long/medium-term plans are based on the progression maps, which gives details of the specific Geographical skills required in each year group, as well as more challenging skills for higher ability children. These plans are created using these skills, to ensure progressive coverage throughout the school. The skills requirements for each year group have been audited by the Geography leader to ensure a spread of skills throughout the year and to ensure that all skills have been covered in the appropriate termly topic.
Short term plans are written by class teachers for individual Geography lessons. These plans list specific learning objectives (Walt) and how these objectives are to be achieved through differentiated and extended learning opportunities (Steps to success).
Teaching History to children with special educational needs (SEN), inclusion and differentiation to all
At our school we teach Geography to all children, whatever their ability. Geography forms part of the school curriculum policy to provide a broad and balanced education to all children. Through our Geography teaching we provide learning opportunities that enable all pupils to make progress. We do this by setting suitable learning challenges and responding to each child’s different needs.
When progress falls significantly outside the expected range, a child may have Special Educational Needs. As teachers, we aim to ensure that our First Quality Teaching matches the needs of the child and enables all children to have access to an exciting and engaging curriculum regardless of their ability. We plan activities to ensure that all children have the opportunity to progress and develop their geographical skills accordingly.
We enable pupils to have access to the full range of activities involved in learning Geography. Where children are to participate in activities outside the classroom, for example, a field trip, we carry out a risk assessment prior to the activity, to ensure that the activity is safe and appropriate for all pupils.
Greater depth children will be given work appropriate to their level. They will be challenged and provided with extension activities where and when necessary.
Teachers in their planning must ensure that all pupils are able to participate as fully and effectively as possible.
We have a clear view that every child should be exposed to a full range of activities and experiences irrespective of gender, race, or ability.
To ensure that pupils of all abilities make worthwhile progress in Geography:
- Teachers provide suitable ways for pupils with different abilities to access difficult ideas.
- Teachers should challenge more able children by expecting them to work with greater independence and by raising expectations about how they might communicate their ideas.
- Teachers may also give more able children a problem to solve independently or ask them to carry out enquiry based research on a geographical issue.
There are sufficient resources for teaching Geography in the school. Some general resources are held in a central store, some are kept with the lead, more specific resources are kept by individual teachers as appropriate to the topics they teach. The resources are audited and staff are asked if they require any new resources to carry out the teaching of Geography. In the library we have a good supply of Geography topic books and new atlases and maps have been purchased to support our teaching of Geography and the skills required. There is a range of educational software to support the children’s individual research in classes and children have access to laptops, tablets and digital cameras.
Assessment, recording and reporting
We assess children’s work in Geography by making informal judgements as we observe them during each Geography lesson. On completion of work, the teacher marks it and comments as necessary. Feedback is consistent with the school’s Marking and Feedback Policy. Assessments are made against the short term planning; these are used to refine planning so that activities are well differentiated. At the end of the summer term, pupils are assessed as working towards, expected or greater depth against the skills requirements for their year group and this is reported to parents on the annual report. All data is held on the central assessment system of Otrack.
Monitoring and Review
Monitoring the standards of children’s work and the quality of teaching in Geography is the responsibility of the class teacher and Geography subject leader. The work of the subject leader also involves providing a lead and direction for the subject within the school. The subject leader evaluates the strengths and weaknesses in the subject and indicates areas for further development. The subject leader reviews samples of children’s work and monitors planning.