Geography Curriculum Statement
At Humberstone Infant and Junior Academies our Geography curriculum is designed to engage and activate children’s curiosity about the world in which we live and the people who inhabit it. This is achieved through developing children’s subject knowledge and applying learning within varied geographical contexts, helping to build cultural capital and an understanding of how the world works. We aim to develop knowledge of the key human and physical processes across the globe, as well as exploring and celebrating the uniqueness, diversity and heritage of Leicester and Leicestershire.
The sequencing of the curriculum builds and links pupils’ geographical knowledge across all units of work, and develops children’s sense of scale by exploring geography at local, regional and global levels, whilst also developing their sense of place. Children’s understanding of their immediate and local Geography allows them to develop knowledge and concepts which they then apply to the wider world, extending their understanding from the familiar and concrete to the unfamiliar and more abstract. All children will undertake purposeful and contextualised geographical fieldwork in order to apply their knowledge and understand the vital importance of Geographers today. This knowledge allows the children to learn the discipline of Geography and the work of Geographers across the world, and encourages them to habitually ask their own geographical questions and learn how geographers reach answers through Geographical fieldwork.
Our Geography curriculum focuses on progressive knowledge and vocabulary across the school and is primarily delivered through projects. Each project allows the children to improve their understanding and sense of the world’s Geography, by organising and connecting information and ideas about people, places, processes and environments.
In KS1, pupils explore the Geography of their school and of their own locality, utilising the knowledge and fieldwork undertaken to then complete a comparative study of Kenya at the end of KS1. This allows children to build strong foundational knowledge of Geographical and related concepts, in order to consider the work of a Geographer in a wider context.
In KS2, pupils begin to explore the physical and cultural significance of changing Geography across time, as well as contemporary issues and current events, so that they apply their knowledge in more challenging and demanding contexts. This careful sequencing allows children, by the end of KS2, to have a strong command of a range of scales and contexts, and make connections between and within contexts, primarily through the substantive concepts of: Place knowledge, Locational knowledge, Geographical skills and field work and Environmental, Physical and Human Geography. These carefully planned Geography-focussed projects, have a challenging and thought-provoking driving question, which provides an authentic and deliberate lens in which to view Geography and Geographical enquiry.
Prior knowledge is made clear in each project to ensure that children are retrieving and utilising previous knowledge, in order to build their Geographical schema and embed their knowledge of Geographical concepts to their long term memory. This builds into explicit and deliberate knowledge defined for each project, as well as Geographical skills and fieldwork objectives, which are clearly and rigorously planned to allow a deep understanding of the substantive concepts as well as develop their ability to work Geographically. Each project has an opportunity to apply the knowledge gained, through purposeful and contextualised fieldwork from within the school grounds, across Leicestershire and Derbyshire, as well as through presentations of their findings to crucial stakeholders in the field. This provides opportunities to apply the classroom-based learning to real life contexts and the wider world and apply technical vocabulary. Teachers utilise adult experts in the different fields of Geography appropriate to the Project, in order for children to understand the discipline, and the importance of the vital work Geographers are undertaking today and the direct impact they have on their futures.
As well as these Geography-focused projects, children’s Geographical knowledge is reviewed and applied across the curriculum, in order to continuously build their schema. For example, in English, all children explore the Geographical contexts of settings and time, to gain a contextual understanding of the text studied and the importance of literary heritage across the world . In History, children explore local history as well as world history, and how place and time interlink to result in historically and geographically significant moments, which change the physical landscape and human relationships across the world, including the rise and fall of Ancient Civilisations, the migration of the Windrush generation, and through concepts such as Invasion, Settlement and Civilisation.
This application and embedding of Geographical knowledge is also supported through the use of prominently displayed classroom maps, whereby children can locate, discuss and build on their Geographical knowledge throughout the curriculum. These classroom maps provide a means for children to make connections within their expanding world and across the curriculum. Each project includes map-work, which is progressive and works in tandem with the knowledge of their project and the fieldwork they will undertake. Deliberate opportunities to use atlases, globes and digital mapping, alongside using locational and directional language, using aerial photographs, devising maps, and using Ordnance Survey maps, allows children to develop their locational knowledge, sense of scale and space, and the discipline of cartography.
Each project works towards high quality final outcomes, which demonstrate the knowledge children have embedded. This ranges from stop-motion videos explaining the purpose and development of canals and locks in the locality, persuasive speeches focussing on the geographical impact of buying fairtrade products, and information booklets highlighting the levels of water pollution across Leicestershire, now displayed in Bradgate Park Visitors Center.
By the end of Key Stage 2, monitoring shows that children have an in-depth understanding of the world and have the knowledge to make connections between the physical landscape, contemporary geographical issues, the discipline of a Geographer and their own experiences. Pupil voice demonstrates that children are encouraged to be curious and fascinated by the word and are confident to work with more complex information, including the relevance of people’s attitudes, values and beliefs. They have comprehensive knowledge of place and space, as well as a high command of technical and subject-specific vocabulary and can articulate their knowledge for a range of audiences and purposes. Children demonstrate map-skills to explore their own locality and the physical and human geographical features of the wider world.
Monitoring and assessment in Geography is a continuous process, whereby teachers evaluate pupils’ security of prior knowledge and the acquisition of new knowledge across time and within individual projects. Assessment is underpinned by the use of an extensive project rubric, specific to each project, which breaks down the essential knowledge and Geographical skills and fieldwork objectives. This is used by teachers to ensure learning addresses misconceptions and gaps in knowledge, and informs planning, marking and questioning of pupils, so that knowledge is committed to long-term memory. It is also a tool used by pupils, to encourage self and peer assessment throughout the project.
The impact of our Geography curriculum and teaching is further measured through learning walks and book scrutinies, which focus on high quality teaching and learning, depth of subject knowledge and purposeful opportunities for application. Additionally, weekly project tuning meetings allow each year group to analyse planning sequences, ensuring learning is rigorous, Geography-focussed, and that the teaching of substantive knowledge and disciplinary knowledge is meticulously integrated through a purposeful Geographical context.