St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School – Geography Curriculum Statement
Curriculum Design at St Mary’s Catholic Primary School
Curriculum Area: Geography
Curriculum Leader: Mrs Parlane
Geography is an integral part of our curriculum at St Mary’s and we aim to motivate and inspire children through clearly sequenced schemes of learning so they develop a love of learning in geography. We aim to develop a curiosity and fascination about the world that the children live in and help them to enjoy learning about different global communities and their relationships between these people and their landscapes. Through our curriculum, we equip children to be Global Citizens: to develop an awareness of the wider world and their place within it, encourage them to take an active role in the community and work with others to make our planet more peaceful, sustainable and fairer. We hope that our children will become passionate about the planet and become actively involved in protecting the environment.
Children need to be taught about the complexity of the world they live in. Geography is key to this as it ensures children have an understanding of the world around them, its environments, places near and far, and the processes that create and affect them.
Whilst Geography is taught discretely in school, as we recognise the importance of the subject in its own right but through our school’s curriculum vehicle approach we understand the import role it has to play in strengthening the pupils’ comprehension across other subjects.
Geographical concepts of place, space, scale, interdependence, physical and human processes, environmental impact, sustainable development, cultural awareness and diversity have been used to structure our knowledge and skill progression across the school.
Our curriculum is designed so that substantive and disciplinary knowledge, concepts and units are carefully sequenced for progression and depth both horizontally, over year groups, and vertically, across year groups, allowing children to build on prior learning and prior skills.
For example, the curriculum has been designed to ensure sufficient time is given to pupils in foundation and Key Stage 1 to learn and embed key geographical components, for example, pupils’ focus considerably on their place knowledge. This allows them to secure knowledge at a meaningful level, it is built up over time to allow children to develop knowledge with specific, relatable concepts that enable them to combine different components to gain a fuller conceptual appreciation.
Each unit has also been carefully selected and placed in the curriculum map to also take into account the maturity of the children, their skills and experiences. For example, in Early Years, children have early geography opportunity embedded thorough our Understanding of the World curriculum, which is designed to promote exposure to locational, place, environmental knowledge as well as early geographical skills and fieldwork. For example, by working to expose children to directional and locational information and providing experiences that enabling them to grasp positionality using concepts of near and far, left and right, and behind and in front. We recognise the importance for children to secure the concepts and language by the end of the Reception Year.
Key Stage 1 and 2: children over time develop substantive knowledge with specific, relatable concepts to aid recall of knowledge and to support our children in gaining an understanding of geographical disciplinary knowledge. This curriculum over time is structured so that children have clear direct knowledge within each lesson, are taught each step of the procedure, with scaffolding carefully removed to support children in being able to make more complex connections, practice skills and critical evaluation to lead to automacity and greater long-term memory retention.
The subject rationale clearly reveals that pupils develop ‘automacity’ ie being able to retain key knowledge as well as complete practical subject skills; both components are practised over time starting from the foundation stage and developing in Key Stages 1 and 2.
As they progress into KS2, pupils go through the process of ‘internalisation’ whereby they re-encounter direct knowledge and start to make connections independently and build in complexity and opportunities such as using prior knowledge to pose geographical questions to help form geographical enquiry and carry out geographical investigations – ‘to think like a geographer’ and to go beyond the limitations of their own experience.
Please click here to see our curriculum overview. You will see that we have carefully planned the curriculum to take account of our mixed-age classes. This ensures that children learn geography in a carefully sequenced pattern and that progress is made from year to year.
In Geography, we implement an inclusive curriculum that meets the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum, incorporating the four main areas of learning at each key stage: place, location, human and physical and geographical skills and fieldwork.
At the beginning of each Geography unit, children demonstrate their prior knowledge, which helps to inform planning and teaching. A series of stimulating lessons are planned, with clear knowledge and skills-based learning objectives and subject-specific vocabulary. Post-learning tasks are planned to demonstrate progress, knowledge and understanding. Teachers assess learning in geography against knowledge and skills-based learning objectives within unit overviews.
Our curriculum is delivered through highly effective ‘quality first teaching’. The scheme is ‘knowledge rich’ and provides significant opportunities for enrichment, including outdoor learning, inspirational visitors and geography fieldtrips. Our aim is to bring geography alive!
Our Geography curriculum promotes children’s Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development, ensuring that they are reflective and responsible citizens. Fundamental British Values are actively promoted in geography lessons in order to prepare the children for life in Modern Britain.
Our well-planned Geography curriculum ensures that children are competent in the geographical skills needed to collect, analyse and communicate data, and to interpret a range of geographical sources, including maps, globes and aerial photographs. Children are able to communicate information in a variety of ways including maps, numerical and quantitative skills and a range of literacy skills.
Through the breadth and depth that our Geography curriculum offers, our children are provided with a broad knowledge of the world they live in, and understand, as responsible citizens, how they need to care and preserve the planet for future generations
Geographical knowledge is sequenced in the following link:
The above links demonstrate our aim to ensure that children are prepared for secondary education in the key areas of Location Knowledge, Place Knowledge, Human and Physical Geography, and Geographical skills and Fieldwork.
Implementation – How do we translate our vision into practice?
• The curriculum hours in Geography are non-negotiable and will be followed by all staff in the school. Fixed timetables will be set before the academic year and monitored by the Senior Leadership Team of the school.
• Subject specialists from our partner secondary school, will be integral to the planning process. This will aid transition to Key Stage 3.
• The subject leader for Geography will meet the senior leadership team on a monthly basis to evaluate provision in order to ensure that teaching and learning in Geography is outstanding. Where necessary, staff will receive coaching and training in Geography.
• Carefully designed schemes of learning in Geography ensure consistency and progress of all learners.
• Vehicles drive learning throughout the term. Therefore, Geography is taught through the vehicle.
• Vehicles include guest speakers who are specialists in their field, trips to businesses, fieldwork to relevant places of interest, innovative use of technology such as GPS mapping systems, to name but a few.
• Geography is taught individually but plays a key role in the achievement of the learning aims of the vehicle. For example, a focus on the local housing market may include a visit to the town planning office to enable pupils to conduct a land-use survey of Stafford and identify areas of need. Through discussions with a town planner, pupils will understand the process of an application which could lead to them considering a site for development, conducting local surveys and pitching their idea to the Borough council.
• Success criteria in every Geography lesson are set in order to guide children to achieve their potential. This ensures work is demanding and matches the aims of the curriculum.
• High quality teaching responds to the needs of children. Spiral learning is a key focus of all formative and summative assessment with teachers actively marking work in lessons in order to identify misconceptions early.
• High quality input from experts and educational resources complement the delivery of specialist learning admirably. Children understand how Geography is used in the wider world including careers.
Each lesson will include live marking (as per the Marking and Feedback Policy). Books will be marked fortnightly following the Marking and Feedback Policy. Homework is not formally set in geography, although investigative homework will be given and children are encouraged to take part in enrichment opportunities such as visiting different counties, using compasses on fieldwork and making effective use of the school grounds. High quality teaching responds to the needs of children. Spiral learning is a key focus of all formative and summative assessment with teachers actively marking work in lessons in order to identify misconceptions early. The assessment grids below are used to plan and to formally record an overview of progress of each child:
The children are taught to use specialist geographical vocabulary and terminology confidently, which is recorded using the following record:
Geography is taught through vehicles. This results in excellent cross-curricular opportunities. For example, a vehicle focusing on the creation of a museum of ancient civilisations could result in geography lessons studying the characteristics of the world’s most significant human and physical features in Ancient Greece, Ancient Egypt or Benin. This ensures that children are engaged and interested in the subject through the excitement of the vehicle.
Children will learn about areas of significant geographical interest such as the links between climate, biodiversity and human settlement, the development of cartography and its impact, the work of important geographers both in the past and today, such as Sir David Attenborough.
They will also experience the following during Key Stage 2:
- Meeting and talking to geography specialists including secondary teachers and University professors
- Fieldwork to places of local interest
- Visits to at least one county and city in the UK
- Use computer software to identify places in the world and understand their key physical and human characteristics
- Use GPS systems, OS maps and aerial photographs
- Gain an understanding from business leaders regarding the importance of learning about geography e.g. during zoom meetings, listening to visiting speakers and trips e.g. to Veolia and from economists regarding the key areas in human geography.
Impact – What is the impact of our curriculum on the students?• Children are happy learners within Geography. They experience a wide range of learning challenges within the subject and know appropriate responses to them, such as informed choices regarding current environmental issues e.g. limiting the use of plastics.
• Through Geography, children deepen their appreciation of their faith and fulfil their God-given talents. As followers of Christ, they understand that they are called to look after and protect the world God has given us.
• Visits within Geography have enriched the lives of the children and they are able to discuss how the experience impacted their knowledge and understanding.
• Children of all abilities and backgrounds achieve well in Geography reflected in outstanding progress that reveals a clear learning journey. Children talk enthusiastically about their learning in Geography and are eager to further their learning in the next stages of their education. The objectives of each Year group can be found at:
https://primarysite-prod-sorted.s3.amazonaws.com/st-marys-catholic-stafford/UploadedDocument/afb89fe3a8fd4b7e940dccd99cf1299a/progression-of-skills-in-geography.pdf AND https://www.stmaryscatholicprimarybrewood.org.uk/years-1-6/
• There is a proven track record of test success that reflects the impact of deep learning.
• Clear outcomes focus and guide all Geography development plans and drive improvement.
• Fundamental British Values are evident in Geography and children understand how it can celebrate difference.
• Through wider reading in Geography, children will: develop a deep and consolidated knowledge and understanding of the curriculum with current real-life examples, an understanding of real-world examples of floods; earthquakes etc. within their lifetime, read materials including horrible geographies; BBC bitesize; National Geographic; BBC news along with a range of library books tailored to children’s reading ages and through this exposure, children will produce work that is influenced by the best of the best.
The high-quality geography education at St Mary’s 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.