Geography at Overleigh St Mary’s C of E Primary School
Through our Geography curriculum, we endeavour to provide a fully inclusive curriculum, that inspires children’s curiosity and interest to explore the world that we live in and its people. We aim to provoke and offer answers to questions about the natural and human aspects of our world. Through the teaching of geography, we encourage children to develop a greater understanding and knowledge of their own environment and that of others, as well as recognising the significant impact they can make.
The geography curriculum adopted by Overleigh St. Mary’s enables children to develop their knowledge and skills, which can then be transferred and adapted to other areas of the curriculum. These skills can also be used to stimulate their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Geography, instinctively, is an investigative subject and so it develops a greater awareness of concepts, knowledge and skills. As children progress through the school, their growing perception about the world around them, helps to deepen their understanding of the interaction between the physical and human processes and of the formation of and use of landscapes and environment.
At Overleigh St. Mary’s, we are guided by the National Curriculum for Geography (2014). This aims to ensure that all pupils:
- develop contextual knowledge of the location of globally significant places – both terrestrial and marine – including their defining physical and human characteristics and how these provide a geographical context for understanding the actions of processes
- understand the processes that give rise to key physical and human geographical features of the world, how these are interdependent and how they bring about spatial variation and change over time
- are competent in the geographical skills needed to:
- collect, analyse and communicate with a range of data gathered through experiences of fieldwork that deepen their understanding of geographical processes
- interpret a range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes, aerial photographs and Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
- communicate geographical information in a variety of ways, including through maps, numerical and quantitative skills and writing at length.
We seek to inspire in our children a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people. We achieve this through real-life experiences and through hands-on and practical events, in an active and creative way. Therefore, visitors, trips and cross-curricular links form a fundamental part of our curriculum.
In order to foster our children’s curiosity about the world, their interest and creativity, we inspire children to constantly explore and ask questions. Our curriculum is designed to stimulate and be taught in blocks, this way children initially develop their immediate geographical awareness, utilising their local area to achieve the desired outcomes. Additionally, we offer extensive opportunities for learning outside the classroom, embedded in practice. Building on both opportunities and learning over time, helps to achieve a depth of understanding that can be transferred through the key stages.
Our curriculum will be mapped out in EYFS and built upon as they enter Key Stage 1. Once this is consolidated, they will gain a wider experience of global geography. As a child moves through our school, their geographical knowledge and understanding will deepen progressively and their skills will develop systematically. We will continue to build on their experiences year-on-year to the end of Key Stage 2. The key concepts are explored and are revisited in different units, allowing children to apply new knowledge to the concept, in order to prepare them for future learning and life.
We teach geography as a discrete subject. Where it benefits learning, we use opportunities to apply in other areas, for example, maths, science and English through writing linked to humanities. Our key vocabulary for each unit is identified in our medium term planning, and children will learn 6-8 subject and topic specific pieces of vocabulary per unit. The children will also develop knowledge of key facts in each unit, beginning with five key pieces of information in Year 1, building up to 30 pieces of key information in Year 6.
In Key stage 1, children will develop their knowledge about the world, the United Kingdom and their locality. In Key Stage 2, children will extend their knowledge and understanding beyond the local area to include the United Kingdom and Europe, North and South America. This will be achieved through the four core strands:
- Locational knowledge
- Place knowledge
- Human and physical geography
- Geography skills and fieldwork
At Overleigh St. Mary’s we ensure that geography has the same importance given to it as the core subjects, as we feel this is crucial in enabling children to gain tangible experiences. Lessons are planned using our progression of knowledge and skills document. Teachers can plan their geography lessons using this document to inform and guide their children’s interests, this helps to produce lessons that are engaging, broad and balanced.
Our Geography Curriculum is well-thought through and of a high quality, it is planned to ensure progression. Our teachers measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:
- A knowledge check at the beginning of each unit to see what the children already know.
- Link each of our core strands to previous learning, to compare and contrast and to review understanding.
- Start lessons with a recap of key knowledge and understanding from the previous session.
- Provide opportunities each lesson to use the key vocabulary.
- Focus a minimum of one lesson in each unit on fieldwork, mapping and observational skills.
- Provide opportunities for open-ended tasks, to allow the more-able to demonstrate their greater knowledge.
- Assess children at the end of the unit against key knowledge and learning.
The leadership team check that this impact is being secured through monitoring the subject on a regular and frequent basis. The method of monitoring supports the ongoing development of the curriculum. This includes:
- Staff subject knowledge, which is audited each year to ensure knowledge is secure, and additional support provided if necessary.
- Termly staff meetings to discuss and evaluate the effectiveness of topics with the subject leaders. From this, medium term planning is amended and adapted to ensure the curriculum remains relevant for the children.
- A ‘pupil voice’, which is conducted at the beginning and end of each year to allow pupils to contribute to their curriculum content.
- Bi-termly monitoring of work against the medium-term plans, so that inconsistencies can be addressed.
- Tracking of content against the long-term plan of the school, to ensure the full breadth of the curriculum is met.
The impact of this is to ensure that children at Overleigh St. Mary’s are equipped with geographical skills and knowledge, which will enable them to be ready for the curriculum at Key Stage 3 and for life as an adult in the wider world.