At St. Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, we aim to provide all our pupils with a high quality geography education that inspires their curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. We will equip our pupils with the knowledge of the local area then extending to diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. They will acquire the geographical skills needed to make secure and lasting connections, become independent thinkers and also build on what they have previously learnt as they progress through their school lives. We want our pupils to develop a critical awareness of the environmental issues which face us in a modern world. We believe that enabling them to develop these skills will help them to become more confident and conscientious members of society both today and in the future.
We use the national curriculum statutory requirements in geography to create our long term plans. These plans outline the geographical themes each year group will cover over the course of the academic year. Our long term plans also include some of the non-statutory geography topics and objectives, which we have carefully selected to help build, deepen and compliment the statutory units that make up our curriculum. This is to make our pupils’ learning not only more meaningful but also to become part of their long term geographical memory.
We also create and use short term plans for the delivery of our geography curriculum. We use these plans to break down the statutory and non-statutory objectives into a sequence of well thought-out lessons which build on our pupils’ previous learning. Our short term plans contain detailed, age appropriate, content to be taught that will enable our pupils to meet the key objectives. These plans also set out the particular knowledge and skills foci for each session. We use a separate progression in geography skills document to identify which particular skills are to be taught within each unit and across the key stages.
When delivering our geography curriculum we make links, when appropriate, to work in other subjects such as history, English, R.E. and science. In a typical geography lesson our pupils are provided with time to:
- review and consolidate previous knowledge
- discuss objectives, key vocabulary and success criteria
- identify and develop (build on) their geographical knowledge and key skills
- take part in independent and collaborative tasks
- self-evaluate and review their learning and that of others
Throughout the year we also provide opportunities for our pupils to increase their cultural capital by arranging educational visits to places within and beyond the locality which are used to develop children’s understanding of the world in which they live and bring geography to life. In Years 5 and 6 our pupils have the chance to go on a residential field trip which enables the pupils to use, apply and build on previously acquired knowledge and skills in this subject.
The impact of our geography curriculum on our pupils means that the majority of children:
- achieve age related expectations in Geography at the end of the academic year
- retain and retrieve the knowledge and skills that are pertinent to geography with a real life context
- understand how geography ‘happens’ in their local area
- build on and maintain a good understanding about the world around them and how it has been shaped
- begin to understand the wider world and their role within it and how this impacts on climate change and other environmental issues
- be inspired by what they have learnt and continue to develop their love of Geography
- work collaboratively and independently to solve problems and explain the processes that they have taken and observed within a real life context.
We also conduct formal assessments on key aspects of the topic at the end of each unit and use this information to help form part of our monitoring of the progress made within geography by each pupil. Although these assessments are carried out on a termly basis, teachers evaluate pupils’ knowledge and understanding within lessons and on a week by week basis and adjust short term plans and activities accordingly to meet the needs of our pupils. Having this approach not only enables our pupils to learn, know and remember more but also helps to prepare them for the curriculum at Key Stage 3 and for life as an adult in the wider world.