Geography - Intent
It is our intention for the Geography curriculum taught at WRPS to inspire a curiosity about the world and its diverse peoples in all of our pupils, which will remain with them throughout their lives.
At WRPS we want all of our pupils to acquire new geographical knowledge whilst developing and strengthening links to prior learning. Through this, they will improve their understanding of Geography by connecting prior knowledge (from across the wider curriculum) to new knowledge and experiences. Our pupils will have frequent opportunities to develop geographical skills through both classroom and outdoor learning experiences. This will allow them to gain a deeper understanding of the World. This exploration will provide children with enjoyable, memorable and rewarding experiences. We endeavour to provide opportunities that have a positive impact on all learners through: problem-solving, teamwork and creativity, while allowing children to appreciate the World and its peoples.
Opportunities are planned which enrich our pupils’ spiritual, moral, cultural and social development. Links are made to our RSE curriculum, for example, considering how we can show respect to others and appreciate diversity. Our whole-school GRACE values are also used to underpin concepts that are experienced in Geography lessons - including our global responsibilities around sustainability and alleviating the effects of plastic pollution.
We intend for our pupils to be passionate and knowledgeable about our local environment and community; learning through practical and fieldwork experiences. These include the special geographical features in our local area: Exmouth Beach, the town centre and the coastal and estuarine environments.
Our pupils are provided with opportunities to consider current events on a local, national and international level and to develop their understanding of new geographical technologies. Links with the Computing curriculum are created through the use of geographical information systems, such as Google Earth, to explore different areas remotely.
In Geography at WRPS, the golden threads of ‘the effects of global climate change’ and ‘where does our food come from?’ are utilised so that our children are able to make connections with their previous learning and see how this has been built upon as they move through their primary education.
Through our teaching of Geography we aspire to provide children with the fundamental knowledge, vocabulary and skill sets required to succeed in the subject during their secondary education.
To ensure high standards of teaching and learning in Geography, we implement a thought-provoking, exciting and progressive curriculum throughout the school.
The WRPS Geography curriculum focuses on building upon pupils’ prior knowledge, understanding and skill development over time. It provides teachers with clear expectations around what pupils should know and be able to do by the end of each teaching unit: our ‘end points’.
Our teachers focus on delivering highly-effective modelling and lessons include ‘assessment for learning’ opportunities and effective, differentiated questioning. Pupils are regularly given the opportunity for self/peer review which then informs teachers’ planning, preparation and any scaffolding of concepts which might be required.
The teaching of Geography at Withycombe utilises Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction (2010). The four strands (Reviewing Material, Questioning, Explaining and Modelling and Practising) suggested by Rosenshine are embedded throughout the Geography curriculum, helping children to avoid overload of their short-term memories and to make connections to prior learning. This allows children to develop their own schema, committing learning to their deep processing and semantic memory. Whenever possible and suitable, our Geography lessons begin with a ‘review’ activity which encourages children to retrieve and recall their prior learning, vocabulary, skills and/or knowledge. This is carefully thought-out and designed by teachers, allowing them to draw upon previous successes and content (whether in the previous lesson, the previous week, the previous term or the previous year), preparing children for what they are about to learn in the current teaching session. We are also careful not to overload children’s thinking by presenting them too much content in one session; using a small steps approach ensures that children can fully understand and access their learning.
Alongside Rosenshine’s Principles, the principles of Cognitive Load Theory (Sweller et. Al., 2011) are used to support children in their ability to know more and remember more, allowing for efficient learning. This is achieved through using teaching and methods which include:
Measuring existing subject knowledge and confidence so as to adapt subsequent teaching accordingly;
Reducing the ‘problem space’ by breaking down problems into parts and by using partially completed problems and worked examples;
Merging together multiple sources of visual information whenever possible;
Extending the capacity of working memory by using both visual and auditory channels;
The use of knowledge organisers which detail some key information, dates and key vocabulary;
The use of quizzes and ‘flashback 4’ to promote retrieval practice.
We ensure the status and importance of Geography as a subject is recognised in WRPS and that appropriate links to the wider school curriculum are made. In order to achieve this, pupils are provided with opportunities to use geographical skills such as map work within other subjects, such as maths; allowing them to become more independent geographical learners. For example, children use the local area when studying map skills in KS1 and learn how to debate the issue of global climate change in UKS2.
Our Geography curriculum is designed so that children use their location and local area as a starting point before progressing on to the UK and then the rest of the World. Locational knowledge and map work are woven throughout all of the Geography units. Educational visits and visitors are planned effectively to enrich all pupils’ learning experiences within the Geography curriculum.
Classroom displays are educational and immersive, helping to create a rich learning environment focused on Geography.
Geography Subject Leads deliver effective CPD in staff meetings and allow all teachers to see standardised practice to ensure that high levels of confidence and subject knowledge are maintained within the staff.
The EYFS curriculum supports pupils’ understanding of peoples and communities through the planning and teaching of ‘Understanding the World’. Pupils learn about features of their own environment through first-hand experiences and explore how environments differ through the sharing of books, poems and stories as well as small world play, role play and visits. Pupils enjoy the valuable experiences gained from our regular trips to places within the local community: the library, parks and local shops. Pupils are given the time to discuss and ask questions about what they observe about the world around them and are encouraged to be active learners who explore their interests further.
The intent and implementation ensures that all pupils at WRPS are equipped with the geographical skills, vocabulary and knowledge which will enable them to be ready for their secondary education and, beyond that, life as a global citizen.
All pupils will be encouraged to explore and develop the ability to enquire, question and debate around geographical topics.
Learners will develop greater confidence and an early fascination about our World in order to undertake new life experiences, both now and in the future.
We want all pupils to thoroughly enjoy Geography and be enthusiastic about their learning. This will be evidenced through pupil voice and conferencing as well as the responses recorded in their books. We want pupils to present their work using a variety of media, including the use of computer technology, in order to reflect the current state of the subject as a modern discipline.
We aim for all pupils to make outstanding progress in the subject from their starting point in the school through to the time they leave.