We believe that at the core of teaching Geography is the ability to give pupils the feeling of identity, humanity and connectedness.
Through learning Geography, all pupils at St. Mary’s Priory schools will develop their understanding of their place in the world, learn how they interact with the world and the impact that they make around them.
We aim to facilitate our pupils to become Geographers at an age-appropriate level through the use of enquiry. Our enquiries focus on people, places and processes progressively at a local, national and global level; building a pupil’s sense of spatial awareness beginning with their immediate surroundings in EYFS.
Our pupils are taught about the importance of sustainability and how human actions and interactions make an impact locally, nationally and globally.
Our Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) are early adopters of the new EYFS. Our youngest pupils will experience provision linking to Understanding of the World. Learning will include the use of simple maps, exploring the natural world as well as learning about people, culture and communities. Pupils will learn Geography through playing, exploring, active learning, creating and thinking critically (the Characteristics of Effective Learning). There are many opportunities for cross curricular learning, such as linking Geography to Science when learning about the seasons.
From Year 1 to Year 6, staff at St. Mary’s Priory Schools teach the aims and subject content of the National Curriculum 2014. Geography is taught discretely once per week in alternate terms (a total of 3 enquiries per academic year). To support our young Geographers, we use ‘The Connected Curriculum’ by David Weatherly. This ensures coverage and progression in all skills and knowledge relating to Geography. We plan an opportunity within each session to revisit geographical knowledge, skills and understanding that may need further consolidation or to use new knowledge to enforce prior skills.
In every Geography lesson, it is made explicit to pupils that they are being taught Geography. Specifically named Geography knowledge, skills and understanding are also referred to throughout the enquiries: locational knowledge, place knowledge, human features, physical features, map skills, compass skills and fieldwork skills. It is expected that the pupils will become familiar with these terms as they progress through the school: Each term has its own symbol which is used on displays and in books consistently throughout the schools.
In addition to this, staff understand that the pupils will progress through transferable learning skills in order to develop as Geographers. For example, pupils in Year 1 will be expected to identify, locate and name. Year 2 will describe and begin to explain. A Geographer in Year 6 will compare, contrast and give reasons in their lessons. These are the specific skills that the teachers will assess.
Through the use of the Geography Progression Document, teachers can become familiar with previous and subsequent year groups’ content in order to link learning, close gaps and build on previous knowledge. This document assigns age appropriate vocabulary to be taught explicitly in Geography lessons.
Due to the predicted numbers on roll, we use a rolling programme of planning- this is due to potentially needing to have mixed age classes in the future. When planning each enquiry, teaching staff ensure that the outcome for each year group is pedagogically appropriate, taking all of the above into consideration.
Field Trips are used to enhance cultural capital, particularly of the local area.
There is a named Leader of Geography across the St Mary’s Priory Schools. The Lead, supported by the Senior Leadership Team, regularly monitors, evaluates and reviews the Geography provision. This regular review aims to celebrate and share good practice, contributing to the ongoing improvement of the subject across the schools.
The Geography Lead promotes a high level of consistency across the schools. Each Year Group is expected to use a schema and Knowledge Organiser for each enquiry (stuck into the pupil’s learning books). These documents support pupil’s retention of key knowledge and understanding. All classes are expected to have a Geography working wall whilst the subject is being taught. This further enhances pupil memory as they can see the journey of the enquiry they are following.
Pupils have a growing knowledge and understanding of their place in the world, how they interact with the world and the impact that they make around them. Our pupils are confident Geographers, with the ability to discuss their learning from past and current topics, as well as explain their next steps.
Our pupils gain an increasingly complex range of critical thinking skills that transfer across the curriculum.
Every pupil is challenged to achieve their Geographical potential through carefully planned, motivating enquiries based on a mastery approach.