At Norton we believe that Geography helps to provoke and provide answers to questions about the natural and human aspects of the world. Children are encouraged to develop a greater understanding and knowledge of the world, as well as their place in it. The geography curriculum at Norton enables children to develop knowledge and skills that are transferable to other curriculum areas and which can and are used to promote their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Geography is, by nature, an investigative subject, which develops and understanding of concepts, knowledge and skills. We seek to inspire in children a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people which will remain with them for the rest of their lives; to promote the children’s interest and understanding of diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes.
Our whole curriculum is shaped by our school vision 'Learn, Believe, Achieve: hand in hand with God and each other'. It aims to enable all children, regardless of background, ability, or additional needs, to flourish to become the very best version of themselves they can possibly be. We follow the National Curriculum, supported by a clear skills and knowledge progression. This ensures that skills and knowledge are built on year by year and sequenced appropriately to maximise learning for all children. It is important that children develop the skills of a geographer by fully immersing them in all areas of the subject. The local area is fully utilised to achieve desired outcomes, with opportunities for learning outside the classroom embedded in practise. School trips and fieldwork are provided to give first hand experiences, which enhance children’s understanding of the world beyond their locality. Although Geography is taught predominantly as a discrete subject, it is often planned to link in with other curriculum areas: where this is the case, long term planning for each year group identifies where the different geography topics or studies fit into the bigger picture. Geography is taught weekly in some year groups but may also be blocked.
Following a review of our provision for geography across the 2019-2020 academic year, we rewrote our curriculum offer for the children at this school. This redesign involved the consideration of recent research and information available on how children learn most effectively, and especially within the subject of geography.
Learning can be defined as a change to the long-term memory. This means that the way we implement our curriculum involves carefully structured teaching of the key knowledge, skills and concepts in geography. Units of study provide opportunities to revisit, retrieve and reinforce key concepts to ensure these ‘stick’ in the long-term memory. To do this, we teach geography in meaningful, engaging and inter-connected contexts.
National Curriculum Coverage
Geography teaching in the school is based on the development of the following geographical principles, taken directly from the National Curriculum document (September 2013):
Units in Key Stage 1 lay the groundwork for what comes later, with introductions to the concepts of physical and human geography, location and place knowledge, and the British Isles. Key Stage 2 units see location and place knowledge develop, from the UK, through Europe to the Americas and the wider world in Years 5 and 6. The study of human and physical geographical concepts, such as settlement, land use, countries, cities and oceans, similarly widen in scope throughout KS2, again from the UK, through Europe and the Americas to the wider world.
Moving from the studies of seasonal weather patterns, hot and cold parts of the world, and contrasting localities in Key Stage 1, Year 3 sees the introduction of the terms climate zone and biome: the children will study different biomes as they progress through the key stage, including the ocean biome, forests, deserts and savannah.
Local studies and fieldwork units will take place in Year 4 and Year 6. Year 4 will explore the Black Bourn River which runs through Norton, while Year 6 will investigate Norton’s traffic situation.
Throughout the key stages, the children will be given the chance to explore topical issues such as the threats to our oceans, climate change and deforestation, culminating with a study of global energy production: this will include the issues we face in the future relating to the conservation of natural resources and the damage we are causing the earth. With the ongoing implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and last year’s COP26 summit in Glasgow, this learning has never been more critical.
All units are study are designed to build on prior learning and are clearly defined by high expectations of knowledge, skills and understanding. Key themes, such as ‘settlement’ and ‘physical geography’ run through both key stages, as does the necessary geographical vocabulary. As a result of this careful sequencing, we are confident that the children’s ‘journey’ in the subject will be coherent and exciting, instilling in them a love of and a fascination for the world around us. In addition, the intent behind geography is to contribute towards the cultural capital for children in terms of the knowledge and skills they need to be successful learners and in life. Cultural capital in geography has been identified in terms of the knowledge useful to our lives. Powerful knowledge will put children at an advantage.
Assessment in Geography
Teachers assess progress at regular intervals throughout the year, typically on completion of each unit of study or when an ongoing or transferrable skill has been observed or revisited. Statements that describe key performance indicators have been identified and mapped to curriculum plans. The following document maps these key performance indicators throughout KS1 and KS2.*
Please note that Early Years pupils are assessed using the Foundation Stage Profile, in the context of Geography skills, against the 'Knowledge of the World' statements.
Priorities for Geography at Norton CEVC Primary
Each year, subject leaders identify priorities for the development of provision in their subjects.
This year, we are working on:
- creating a digital portfolio of children's work in each unit of Geography
- developing the use of pupil conferencing to better gauge understanding in the subject and the extent to which taught content in 'remembered'
- adding impact through the use of school trips, visitors and enrichment activities
- developing the use of knowledge organisers