Geography at the Skylark Federation
Why do we teach this?
Geography is essentially about understanding the world we live in. It helps to provoke and provide answers to questions about the natural and human aspects of the world. Many of the pupils who now attend our school will live to see the next century and inhabit a world of 11 billion people. The many opportunities and challenges that will arise during their lifetime will be very much about geography at personal, national and global scales. What we intend pupils to learn in geography reflects this throughout the curriculum. At our Skylark federation schools, children are encouraged to develop a greater understanding and knowledge of the world, as well as their place in it. The geography curriculum enables children to develop knowledge and skills that are transferrable to other curriculum areas and which can be used to promote their spiritual, moral and cultural development. Geography is an investigative subject, which develops an understanding of concepts, knowledge and skills. At Skylark our intent, when teaching geography, is to inspire in children a curiosity and fascination about the world and people within it; which will remain with them for the rest of their lives, equipping them well for further education and beyond.
What do we teach? What does this look like?
We adopt an enquiry focused approach to learning and teaching in geography which develops our pupils as young geographers. Through enquiry our pupils not only build subject knowledge and understanding but become increasingly adept at critical thinking, specialised vocabulary and their grasp of subject concepts. Skylark’s revised geography curriculum also fits in with the federation’s approach of themed terms with cross curricular topics. Using the new Jonathan Lear documentation as a basis, teachers have a clearer understanding of how to develop children’s procedural knowledge and progression of skills, through a variety of engaging activities and tasks through newly devised ‘Explore’ projects during the Spring Term. We use the National Curriculum scheme of work as a basis for our curriculum planning and ensure that there are opportunities for children of all abilities to develop their skills and knowledge as well as explore and develop geographical skills and investigative enquiry. Teachers utilise our ‘Progression of Skills’ and ‘Procedural Knowledge’ documents to support them with the planning process to ensure that children build on their prior knowledge and skills as they move through the school. Our ‘Progression of Skills’ document also ensures that children are increasingly challenged as they change year groups. 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.
What will this look like?
At the end of each term we make a summative judgement about the achievement of each pupil against the subject progression of skills for geography in that year. We ensure that when assessing our pupils, evidence is drawn from a wide range of sources to inform the process including interaction with pupils during discussions and related questioning, day to day observations, practical activities such as model making and role play drama, the gathering, presentation and communication of fieldwork data and writing in different genres. At this point we decide upon a ‘best fit’ judgement as to whether the pupil has achieved and embedded the expected learning goals or is still working towards the goals. This decision draws upon the professional knowledge and judgement that teachers possess about the progress of each pupil. By the time children leave Skylark schools they will:
- Use their geographical knowledge and understanding to carry out an investigation.
- Recognise and describe physical and human processes.
- Identify and explain different views, coming to a conclusion.
- Use maps and atlases to locate countries and identify key physical/ human features.
- Use a compass, and maps with a four figure grid references.
- Use OS maps to interpret a place looking at contour lines and symbols.
- Compare aerial photographs to large scale maps.
- Identify questions and selects appropriate ways to gather information and data though detailed sketches, observation, questionnaires, surveys, measuring data.
- Record information using a range of methods and interpret results to look for patterns.
- Describe how a range of physical and human processes change the environment.
- Offer explanations for the ways in which human activities affect the environment and recognise that people attempt to manage to improve environments.