Why do we teach Geography?
The new National Curriculum for 2014 sets out why we teach Geography:
'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. Teaching should equip pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth's key physical and human processes. As pupils progress, their growing knowledge about the world should help them to deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments. Geographical knowledge, understanding and skills provide the frameworks and approaches that explain how the Earth's features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and change over time.'
The aims of Geography in our school are:
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
Children learn to be 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.
Curriculum & School Organisation
Medium term planning is incorporated into termly holistic plans. Evidence of the teaching and learning in geography is seen in children's Learning Journey books, class and school displays and photographs. Coverage and progression are monitored by the Subject Leader. The Geography Subject Leader ensures policy is in practice and is implemented across the school.
As a Foundation subject, Geography is part of a broad and balanced curriculum where the time allocation for teaching will be accordance to coverage across the school year.
Geography and the EYFS
We endeavour to give all of our learners a well-planned and well-organised environment that gives children rich, stimulating experiences. The Early Years Foundation Stage of learning begins when the child is three at Wrenbury and extends until the end of the Reception year.
As with the KS1 and KS2 curriculum there are strong cross-curricular links in relation to the teaching and learning of Geography e.g. through role play, art, reading, writing, speaking and listening for example but the key Early Years Outcomes for Geography are included within Understanding of the world:
Enjoys playing with small-world models such as a farm, a garage, or a train track.
Notices detailed features of objects in their environment.
Comments and asks questions about aspects of their familiar world such as the place where they live or the natural world.
Can talk about some of the things they have observed such as plants, animals, natural and found objects.
Talks about why things happen and how things work.
Developing an understanding of growth, decay and changes over time.
Shows care and concern for living things and the environment.
Looks closely at similarities, differences, patterns and change.
Early Learning Outcomes
Children know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things. They talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another. They make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.
Find out about past and present events in their own life, and in those of family members and other people they know
Find out about and identify the uses of everyday technology and use IT and programmable toys to support their learning
Build and construct with a wide range of objects, selecting appropriate resources, tools and techniques and adapting their work where necessary
Observe, find out about and identify features in the place they live and the natural world
Begin to know about their own cultures and beliefs and those of other people
Find out about their environment and talk about those features they like and dislike
Ask questions about why things happen and how things work.
The continuous and enhanced provision will also support learning linked to Geography.
Key stage 1
Pupils should develop knowledge about the world, the United Kingdom and their locality. They should understand basic subject-specific vocabulary relating to human and physical geography and begin to use geographical skills, including first-hand observation, to enhance their locational awareness.
Pupils should be taught through different aspects of geography to:
name and locate the world's seven continents and five oceans
name, locate and identify characteristics of the four countries and capital cities of the United Kingdom and its surrounding seas
understand geographical similarities and differences through studying the human and physical geography of a small area of the United Kingdom, and of a small area in a contrasting non-European country
Human and physical geography
identify seasonal and daily weather patterns in the United Kingdom and the location of hot and cold areas of the world in relation to the Equator and the North and South Poles
use basic geographical vocabulary to refer to:
Key physical features, including: beach, cliff, coast, forest, hill, mountain, sea, ocean, river, soil, valley, vegetation, season and weather
Key human features, including: city, town, village, factory, farm, house, office, port, harbour and shop
Geographical skills and fieldwork
use world maps, atlases and globes to identify the United Kingdom and its countries, as well as the countries, continents and oceans studied at this key stage
use simple compass directions (North, South, East and West) and locational and directional language for example, near and far; left and right, to describe the location of features and routes on a map
use aerial photographs and plan perspectives to recognise landmarks and basic human and physical features; devise a simple map; and use and construct basic symbols in a key
use simple fieldwork and observational skills to study the geography of their school and its grounds and the key human and physical features of its surrounding environment.
Key stage 2
Pupils should extend their knowledge and understanding beyond the local area to include the United Kingdom and Europe, North and South America. This will include the location and characteristics of a range of the world's most significant human and physical features. They should develop their use of geographical knowledge, understanding and skills to enhance their locational and place knowledge. With a link to a Kenyan school, it is felt that understanding Africa as a diverse continent should be part of the children's geographical knowledge and understanding.
Pupils should be taught to:
locate the world's countries, using maps to focus on Europe (including the location of Russia) and North and South America, concentrating on their environmental regions, key physical and human characteristics, countries, and major cities
name and locate counties and cities of the United Kingdom, geographical regions and their identifying human and physical characteristics, key topographical features (including hills, mountains, coasts and rivers), and land-use patterns; and understand how some of these aspects have changed over time
identify the position and significance of latitude, longitude, Equator, Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere, the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, Arctic and Antarctic Circle, the Prime/Greenwich Meridian and time zones (including day and night)
understand geographical similarities and differences through the study of human and physical geography of a region of the United Kingdom, a region in a European country, and a region within North or South
Human and physical geography
describe and understand key aspects of:
Physical geography, including: climate zones, biomes and vegetation belts, rivers, mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes, and the water cycle
Human geography including: types of settlement and land use, economic activity including trade links, and the distribution of natural resources including energy, food, minerals and water
Geographical skills and fieldwork
use maps, atlases, globes and digital/computer mapping to locate countries and describe features studied use the eight points of a compass, four and six-figure grid references, symbols and key (including the use of Ordnance Survey maps) to build their knowledge of the United Kingdom and the wider world
use fieldwork to observe, measure, record and present the human and physical features in the local area using a range of methods, including sketch maps, plans and graphs, and digital technologies.
Teaching and learning style
At Wrenbury, we use a variety of teaching and learning styles to teach Geography. We believe that this can be achieved by working on their knowledge, skills and inquiries which are familiar to the children. We encourage children to ask as well as answer geographical questions. We offer the opportunity to use a variety of data, such as maps, statistics, graphs, pictures, and aerial photographs, and we incorporate the use of IT in Geography lessons where this serves to enhance their learning. Wherever possible, we involve the children in 'real' geographical activities, e.g. research of the local environment through field studies, through a local environmental problem or use of the Internet to investigate a current issue.
The learning environment
We promote the subject of Geography through displays within the classroom and in shared settings in the school.
Curriculum enhancement opportunities
Wrenbury provides children with the opportunity to maintain curiosity beyond the classroom through outdoor areas, educational visits, homework tasks and, wherever possible, through visitors to school. This can be seen within the Geography Curriculum.
Assessment, Recording and Reporting
We currently assess children's learning at the end of a series of lessons through class teacher's judgments, AfL and an assessment task. The children are assessed as 'above expectation', 'online' or 'below expectation'. This information is collated annually by class teachers.
The Geography Subject Leader monitors coverage, standards and progression in knowledge, skills and understanding through collating evidence from Learning Journey books, displays with classrooms, cohort assessments, lesson observations and pupil voice. The Geography Subject Leader produces a curriculum review at year end and this feeds into action plans and an annual report to governors.
Monitoring, review and evaluation
Monitoring the standard of children's work and the quality of teaching in Geography is the responsibility of the Geography Subject Leader. The Geography Subject Leader is also responsible for supporting colleagues in the teaching of Geography, informing staff of developments in the subject and for providing a strategic lead and direction for the subject in the school.
The Geography Subject Leader provides an annual curriculum review and feedback form which will be shared with Governors at the Teaching and Learning and Asssessment committee meeting. The professional development needs of staff are assessed through monitoring and where necessary further training is provided. This may be provided internally or externally as appropriate.
Our Critical Friend (member of the Governing Body) will also be invited into school to monitor Geography. This may be to talk to children, observe Geography taking place and meet with the Geography subject-leader to discuss the standing of Geography in school. Each year the Critical Friend will complete feedback which will inform future monitoring.
The school buys into the Education Library Service and is able to acquire a wide range of resources to support the teaching of geography in school. Teachers are also proactive in sourcing other resources eg maps and use of websites /IT to support and enhance the teaching and learning within this subject. Local study is a key element of the geography teaching and learning in school and the local area offers a huge resource.
The Geography Subject Leader attends CPD meetings and liaises with colleagues from other schools for the latest developments in Geography and this is shared with staff formally (staff meetings) and informally (ongoing professional dialogue). Good practice is shared with staff through professional skills dialogue and sharing and through subject leaders working alongside colleagues. Where staff request further CPD, the subject Leader will arrange in liaison with the head.
Curriculum Risk Assessment
Staff are asked to use professional judgment with regard to pupil safety in individual lessons. Where it is deemed necessary, individual lesson risk assessments will be completed.
Links with other subjects
Our Holistic approach enables our teachers to create a range of cross curricular links with other NC subjects. The evidence of this can be seen on our termly Holistic Learning Journey plans. As part of our teaching of Geography there will be opportunities to develop environmental education and an awareness of global citizenship.