At St James’ we are geographers! We want children to have no limits to what their ambitions are and know that if they want to be, they can be town planners, conservationists or even weather forecasters! We aim to provide a broad and balanced curriculum, ensuring the progressive development of geographical knowledge and skills. Our focus is to provide children with an understanding of the Geographical Capital. Children compare places both in the UK and abroad, allowing them to develop their knowledge of the Earth’s human and physical processes. The curriculum allows children the opportunity to investigate our local area, allowing them to build a sense of who they are and where they come from. We aim to provide memorable experiences that may normally be out of reach, for example, a trip to ‘Brockholes’ to study rivers. We firmly believe that it is not just about what happens in a classroom and that memorable experiences are important to inspire our children. As we go up through the years the geographical content intensifies, equipping children with the knowledge of diverse places, people, resources and natural human environments.
The Geography curriculum has been created to ensure high standards of teaching and learning are taking place across the school. Geography is taught every other week in school, focussing on one topic every term, covering objectives stated in the National Curriculum. We find this works well in comparison with teaching in blocks as it allows adequate time for the subject and ensures knowledge is secure and being retained in long term memory. The scheme of work focuses on Locational knowledge, Place Knowledge, Human and Physical Knowledge across the topics spread across the year. However, Geographical skills and fieldwork have been incorporated into each topic to enhance map reading skills, symbols and keys and grid references as it is something that is lacking in the modern world of technology that children are exposed to. Fieldwork allows children to make observations, record and present data, making links to graphs/charts in maths.
Our Geography curriculum is planned to demonstrate progression. Children will be able to access a curriculum that will allow them to gain a coherent understanding of each unit of work covered throughout the school. Key vocabulary and key learning is supported by a sticky knowledge organiser, sent home in advance, allowing children to make a head start and gaining an insight as to what will be learnt in the following term.
A scheme of work has been created for each topic that highlight the objectives for each lesson, providing engaging activities and resources which will be used to achieve them. Each lesson typically starts with an enquiry question followed by a previous knowledge quiz which is linked to the objective, to enhance learning. Plans are adapted based on children’s’ needs. The vast majority of subjects are taught discretely with meaningful links made across subjects.
Each lesson typically starts with an enquiry question encouraging children to explore and make sense of their own learning. We believe that our pupils need to be actively involved in making sense of their learning. Within each year group, geography strands are revisited in a progressive manner. For example, when encouraging an understanding of Place Knowledge, Year 1 focus on observing the human and physical features of a local green space in comparison with a non- European country. As the knowledge develops over the years, in year 6 there is a focus on the geographical similarities and differences between a European Country (France) and a region in North America (Mexico). Prior knowledge is linked with new learning to deepen children’s understanding.
We measure the impact of our curriculum by assessing termly topics with both a formative and summative approach. These assessments are collected frequently and analysed as part of the monitoring cycle which informs future planning and provision is adapted accordingly. This allows us to provide the best possible support for all children and provides us with an accurate and comprehensive understanding of the quality of education in Geography. Additional assessment tools include Prior Learning quizzes, End of Unit quizzes, Challenges, Pupil Voice, marking of written books and book scrutinies.
By providing a Geography curriculum that ensures progression and repetition, pupils will develop the skills and knowledge needed to meet the end of key stage expectations. Pupils should leave St James’ with an in-depth knowledge of the Earth’s human and physical processes. They should be able to compare places to the UK and in particular to their local area of Blackburn, locating and naming countries, capital cities and key aspects of physical geography from around the world, such as volcanoes, mountain ranges and rivers. They should be able to use fieldwork and observational skills to study the geography of their local area and wider, identifying key human and physical features of the surrounding environment. They should leave with a fondness and love of Geography, remembering their inspiring lessons and experiences in school. Pupils will become resilient and independent leaners having gained the skills and knowledge of diverse places, people, resources and natural human environments.