At Highfields, Geography is a valued part of the curriculum, providing a purposeful means for exploring, appreciating and understanding the world in which we live and how it has evolved. Geography explores the relationship between the Earth and its people through the study of place, space and environment. Geography is concerned with pupils learning about their own locality, whilst becoming aware of and developing knowledge and understanding of the world beyond their own environment.
Geography encourages children to learn through experience, particularly through practical and fieldwork activities. At Highfields Academy we believe it is important to build a geographical curriculum that endorses the importance for outdoor learning to build a curiosity for learning to help them to know more, remember more and understand more.
The strands in Geography are:
- Locational knowledge
- Place knowledge
- Human and physical geography
- Geographical skills and fieldwork
To inspire in pupils about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.
To provide pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments.
To develop a growing knowledge about the world to deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments.
To obtain Geographical knowledge, understanding and skills.
To enable children to learn and explain how the Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and change over time.
To ensure high standards of teaching and learning in geography, we implement a curriculum that is progressive throughout the whole school. Geography is taught as part of half termly topic, focusing on knowledge and skills stated in the National Curriculum. At Highfields Academy, we ensure that Geography has the same importance given to it as the core subjects, as we feel this is important in enabling all children to gain ‘real-life’ experiences.
The Geography curriculum at Highfields Academy is based upon the 2014 Primary National Curriculum in England, which provides a broad framework and outlines the knowledge and skills and taught in each Key Stage. Teachers plan lessons for their class using our progression of knowledge and skills document. Teachers can use this document to plan their geography lessons suitable to their class’s interests and what they want to learn. The progression document ensures the curriculum is covered and the skills/knowledge taught is progressive from year group to year group.
When teaching Geography, the teachers should follow the children’s interests to ensure their learning is engaging, broad and balanced.
Geography teaching focuses on enabling children to think as geographers. A variety of teaching approaches are used based on the teacher’s judgement.
Geography provides excellent opportunities to enhance the learning of more able pupils through the investigations, analysing sources and writing extending pieces. These children will be selected for appropriate enrichment opportunities throughout the year.
At Highfields, we provide a variety of opportunities for geography learning inside and outside the classroom. Each year teachers plan fun, engaging activities linked to history and geography topics for the children to complete. These activities should be guided by the children’s interests.
Educational visits are another opportunity for the teachers to plan for additional geography learning outside the classroom. At Highfields Academy, the children have had many opportunities to experience geography on educational visits. The children have explored the local area including orienteering within the school grounds and conducting river studies. Local museums also provide an opportunity to further geography learning, as well as trips to local woods, castles and using map reading skills during residential trips.
At Highfields, we use a variety of teaching and learning styles in our geography lessons. We believe in whole-class teaching methods and we combine these with enquiry-based research learning opportunities. We encourage children to ask as well as answer geographical questions. We offer them the opportunity to use a variety of data, such as maps, statistics, graphs, pictures, and aerial photographs, and we enable them to use IT through I-Pads in geography lessons where this serves to enhance their learning. Children take part in role-play and discussions, and they present reports to the rest of the class. They engage in a wide variety of problem-solving learning. Wherever possible, we involve the children in ‘real’ geographical opportunities, e.g. research of a local environmental problem or use of the Internet to investigate a current issue
Within the Early Years Foundation Stage, geography is included as part of Understanding the World. The children learn to investigate similarities and differences, the local environment and cultures and beliefs, fostering the skills essential to developing historical understanding. This is set out in the early year’s curriculum as children needing to:
- Observe, find out about, and identify features in the place they live and the natural world;
- Begin to know about their own cultures and beliefs and those of other people;
- Find out about their environment and talk about those features they like and dislike.
Key Stage 1
During Key Stage 1, pupils investigate their local area and a contrasting area in the United Kingdom or abroad, finding out about the environment in both areas and the people who live there. They also begin to learn about the wider world. They carry out geographical enquiry inside and outside the classroom. In doing this, they ask geographical questions about people, places and environments, and use geographical skills and resources, such as maps and photographs.
Key Stage 2
During Key Stage 2, pupils investigate a variety of people, places and environments in the United Kingdom and abroad, and start to make links between different places in the world. They find out how people affect the environment and how they are affected by it. Pupils carry out geographical enquiry inside and outside the classroom. In doing this, they ask geographical questions, and use geographical skills and resources, such as maps, atlases, aerial photographs and ICT. Children will develop geographical enquiry skills, including asking geographical questions, collecting and recording information and identifying different views. They will acquire the appropriate practical skills associated with Geography, including using suitable vocabulary, fieldwork techniques and maps, plans and atlases. Pupils will use secondary sources of information with accuracy, including aerial photographs, satellite images, etc. As well as making its own distinctive contribution to the school curriculum, geography contributes to the wider aims of primary education. Teachers will ensure that links between subjects are maximized, including history, science and computing.
Fieldwork is integral to good geography teaching and we include as many opportunities as we can to involve children in practical geographical research and enquiry. At Key Stage 1 we let all the children carry out an investigation into the local environment and we give them opportunities to observe and record information around the school site. At Key Stage 2 the children do a study of the local area.