"Without Geography - you’re nowhere." - Jimmy Buffett
St Mary’s geography curriculum intent takes into consideration:
- The ethos, vision, and values of our school.
- The specific areas of development for our school.
- Relevant national strategies.
- What we want the children to learn.
Geography at St Mary’s aims to inspire pupils to become curious and explorative thinkers with a diverse knowledge of the world; in other words, to think like a geographer. We want pupils to develop the confidence to question and observe places, measure and record necessary data in various ways, and analyse and present their findings. We aim to build an awareness of how geography shapes our lives at multiple scales and over time. We hope to encourage pupils to become resourceful, active citizens who will have the skills to contribute to and improve the world around them.
Geography at St Mary’s encourages:
- A strong focus on developing both geographical skills and knowledge.
- Critical thinking, with the ability to ask perceptive questions and explain and analyse evidence.
- The development of fieldwork skills across each year group.
- A deep interest and knowledge of pupils’ locality and how it differs from other areas of the world.
- A growing understanding of geographical terms and vocabulary.
Geography at St Mary’s enables pupils to meet the end of key stage attainment targets in the National curriculum. The aims also align with those in the National curriculum.
The National curriculum organises the geography attainment targets under four subheadings or strands:
- Locational knowledge
- Place knowledge
- Human and physical geography
- Geographical skills and fieldwork
Geography at St Mary’s has a clear progression of skills and knowledge within these four strands across each year group. Our Progression of skills and knowledge shows the skills taught within each year group and how these develop to ensure that attainment targets are securely met by the end of each key stage.
Our National Curriculum mapping document shows which of our units cover each of the National Curriculum attainment targets as well as each of the four strands.
We have a spiral curriculum, with essential knowledge and skills revisited with increasing complexity, allowing pupils to revise and build on their previous learning. Locational knowledge, in particular, will be reviewed in each unit to coincide with our belief that this will consolidate children’s understanding of key concepts, such as scale and place, in Geography. Cross-curricular links are included throughout each unit, allowing children to make connections and apply their geography skills to other areas of learning.
Our enquiry questions form the basis for our units, meaning that pupils gain a solid understanding of geographical knowledge and skills by applying them to answer enquiry questions.
We have designed these questions to be open-ended with no preconceived answers and therefore they are genuinely purposeful and engage pupils in generating a real change. In attempting to answer them, children learn how to collect, interpret and present data using geographical methodologies and make informed decisions by applying their geographical knowledge.
Each unit contains elements of geographical skills and fieldwork to ensure that fieldwork skills are practised as often as possible. The units follow an enquiry cycle that maps out the fieldwork process of question, observe, measure, record, and present, to reflect the elements mentioned in the National curriculum. This ensures children will learn how to decide on an area of enquiry, plan to measure data using a range of methods, capture the data and present it to a range of appropriate stakeholders in various formats.
Fieldwork includes smaller opportunities on the school grounds to larger-scale visits to investigate physical and human features. Developing fieldwork skills within the school environment and revisiting them in multiple units enables pupils to consolidate their understanding of various methods. It also gives children the confidence to evaluate methodologies without always having to leave the school grounds and do so within the confines of a familiar place. This makes fieldwork regular and accessible while giving children a thorough understanding of their locality, providing a solid foundation when comparing it with other places.
Lessons incorporate various teaching strategies from independent tasks to paired and group work, including practical hands-on, computer-based and collaborative tasks. This variety means that lessons are engaging and appeal to those with a variety of learning styles. Differentiated guidance is available for every lesson to ensure that all pupils can access learning, and opportunities to stretch pupils’ learning are available when required. Knowledge organisers for each unit support pupils in building a foundation of factual knowledge by encouraging recall of key facts and vocabulary.
An enquiry-based approach to learning allows teachers to assess children against the National curriculum expectations for Geography. The impact of the teaching can be constantly monitored through both formative and summative assessment opportunities.
Each unit has a unit quiz and knowledge catcher, which can be used at the start or end of the unit to assess children’s understanding. Opportunities for children to present their findings using their geographical skills will also form part of the assessment process in each unit.
After undertaking geography at St Mary’s, our pupils should leave school equipped with a range of skills and knowledge to enable them to study Geography with confidence at Key stage 3. We hope to shape children into curious and inspired geographers with respect and appreciation for the world around them alongside an understanding of the interconnection between the human and the physical.
The expected impact of geography at St Mary’s is that children will:
- Compare and contrast human and physical features to describe and understand similarities and differences between various places in the UK, Europe and the Americas.
- Name, locate and understand where and why the physical elements of our world are located and how they interact, including processes over time relating to climate, biomes, natural disasters and the water cycle.
- Understand how humans use the land for economic and trading purposes, including how the distribution of natural resources has shaped this.
- Develop an appreciation for how humans are impacted by and have evolved around the physical geography surrounding them and how humans have had an impact on the environment, both positive and negative.
- Develop a sense of location and place around the UK and some areas of the wider world using the eight-points of a compass, four and six-figure grid references, symbols and keys on maps, globes, atlases, aerial photographs and digital mapping.
- Identify and understand how various elements of our globe create positioning, including latitude, longitude, the hemispheres, the tropics and how time zones work, including night and day.
- Present and answer their own geographical enquiries using planned and specifically chosen methodologies, collected data and digital technologies.
- Meet the end of key stage expectations outlined in the National curriculum for Geography.