At Whitmore Park, our geography curriculum has been designed and constructed to ignite curiosity and fascination of this subject and promote diversity of people and places. It enables our children to be enriched with both procedural and declarative knowledge alongside developing lifelong skills, ensuring our pupils have cultural capital and become educated citizens of the world. It allows our pupils to become competent with a wide range of geographical skills and to gain and deepen their long-term geographical knowledge of the local area with first hand observation and fieldwork pertinent to them. Building upon their understanding of the local area, they use prior knowledge to facilitate learning about geography on a national level, learning about the UK and comparing geographical features. Pupils are then able to extend their knowledge and apply its principles within the wider world. We combine fieldwork and secondary geography sources to deepen their understanding of the earth’s key physical and human processes, the environments and landscapes. In order to inspire our pupils, we have built our geography curriculum around our main school-drivers to tailor it to our individual needs. These drivers ensure that children have ample opportunities to integrate reading into geography; that our curriculum is very vocabulary-driven and enriched with tiered subject specific vocabulary throughout; to further develop cultural capital and gain first-hand experiences during school visits, trips and fieldwork and encourage and provide guidance to pupils on how to develop their own geography learning outside of the school setting. As well as reading, our children develop writing skills throughout geography. They are given opportunities to apply writing skills with a geography topic focus. We also incorporate cross-curricular links which include SMSC, to allow our pupils to develop tolerance, understanding and empathy towards people, cultures, the environment and celebrate diversity – a crucial skillset within our school community.
To ensure our pupils receive a high quality geography education, topics are taught in units which are sequenced to aid progression. Forming a foundation to geography in early years, this is then built upon throughout each year to ensure they have an in-depth and secure knowledge and understanding of geography by the time they reach the end of Key Stage 2, resulting in acquisition of cultural capital and becoming worldly, educated citizens of the world. Our progressive approach adheres to both the national curriculum as well as implementing the needs of our children. To begin our geography curriculum, children develop locational knowledge, place knowledge, human and physical geography and develop skills and fieldwork about their own locality with first-hand observations and experiences. This is the foundation which is built upon to then lead onto UK geography and then on to world geography.
Retrieval practice is planned into each sequence of lessons to embed key learning, enabling children to remember more. Key skills, such as map reading or identifying human and physical features are taught in lessons and then re-visited within the topic, as well as revisited in other topics taught in different year groups. Knowledge organisers are used to recall critical knowledge. We also embed the key vocabulary. New vocabulary is introduced which is revisited and built upon as they move up the school. Key vocabulary is also found on the knowledge organisers.
To aid curiosity, we start each topic with a ‘wow’ morning to hook the children in and develop mystery to what they will be learning. This excites pupils and promotes enthusiasm to learn. During the planning of each topic, a trip or a visitor will be incorporated to provide our pupils with real life experiences and also encourage outdoor lessons and activities. This also develops powerful knowledge to ensure our children have cultural capital and will create fun, exciting, memorable learning experiences which will develop the key knowledge as part of the learning sequence. For example, Year 6 study the topic of rivers and they study this first-hand by carrying out fieldwork when going to a river in Wales during a residential trip.
Cross-curricular links are also incorporated into the planning. As one of our school drivers is reading, reading opportunities and vocabulary-rich lessons are given to enable children to access reading within geography lessons. For example, children who study the water cycle will read information texts about how the cycle works; this also links to science. Alongside this, children will be given writing opportunities to develop their writing skills which might be writing an explanation text on how volcanoes erupt.
At Whitmore Park, we also encourage children to take some responsibility for their own learning. With guidance from the class teacher, pupils have the opportunity to extend their knowledge by completing optional home-learning which has cross-curricular links and ideas of places to visit to enhance their education. For example, they may visit places of local interest linking to their topic of the local are or undertake their own field work.
Through our carefully structured geography curriculum and high quality-first teaching, we will see the impact of the subject in different ways. Children will be enthusiastic learners and keen to take their learning of geography further by completing homework and working independently. Staff will be confident in teaching this subject which will be monitored and evidenced in staff voices.
Our books will show high quality learning; progress being made across year groups and children taking pride in their work. To show progress, there will be evidence of the different topics taught with a wide range of content and coverage, for example: local geography, such as our school and Coventry; UK geography such as where landscapes differ from Coventry and world geography where there will learn about human and physical geography in South America. There will be evidence in books of geography skills being taught and developed such as use of maps and aerial photographs as well as evidence of fieldwork. Key vocabulary will be learnt by children and they will be able to recall key vocabulary and explain what they mean. They will be applied in books and be evident through questioning and pupil voice.
The impact of our cross-curricular links and our school drivers will raise attainment in reading and writing and will enable pupils to become more independent learners. Evidence of reading, writing and the use of vocabulary in lessons will be seen in teachers’ planning, during lessons and in the children’s books. It will also be evident in conversations and questioning of pupils.
The use of assessment will play a key role in the impact of our geography curriculum. Teachers will use on-going, formative assessment to inform lessons and the end of unit summative assessment. Evidence of key knowledge and skills will be evident in questioning within lessons and in children’s books. The books will be marked each lesson to give purposeful feedback to the pupils. Midway through each topic, teachers will complete a mini assessment to inform the teacher of attainment. This will be done by the use of quizzes or mind maps, for example, to show that key learning has been retained. Children will be assessed against the critical knowledge for each topic as detailed on medium term plans and knowledge organisers. A summative assessment will take place at the end of each unit. Pupils will be assessed by the retainment of key knowledge of that topic. Children will be given key questions to answer based on the key knowledge. This will be recorded and then shared with humanities lead. The assessment of geography skills will be based on the formative assessment of the teacher.
Teachers will record results on DCPRO at the end of each academic year based on the midway and end of topic assessments.