At Parkhead Primary School we are geographers!
We believe a high-quality geography education should inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Our curriculum is designed to give children the opportunity to practise geographical skills through hands-on and engaging activities, which will broaden and raise aspirations as well as support acquisition of new geographical knowledge.
We aim to equip pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. As pupils progress, their growing knowledge about the world will help them to deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments. Geographical knowledge, understanding and skills provide the frameworks and approaches that explain how the Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and change over time.
A key curriculum driver for our school is to be ambitious and as such our children will explore range of careers through our geography curriculum to which our pupils can aspire to including: cartographers, town planners, conservationists and weather forecasters.
The children will build a schema based upon three ‘threshold concepts’. These are the ‘big ideas’ that underpin their geography learning. These concepts will be strengthened through several knowledge categories that will be taught through the breadth of study.
The schema is an appreciation that what the children are learning is not information in isolation, but is linked to other information the children have been taught previously. The geography curriculum, therefore, ensures children are constantly referring back to previous learning and making links with new learning, which will deepen their understanding overall. This approach ensures that the children’s geographical learning is placed into their long-term memory and they are developing their geographical skills alongside this.
Key Threshold Concepts
- Investigate places
- Investigate patterns
- Communicate geographically
These will be covered in the breadth of study.
Thinking geographically – using the threshold concepts to organise the information – enables children and young people to develop an understanding of the following knowledge:
Physical features: The naturally occurring landforms of environments, including hills, mountains, valleys, bodies of water and natural resources.
Human features: The things made by or altered by people, including rural settlements, leisure facilities, transport, urban and suburban settlements.
Diversity/Interdependence: Looking at how physical, human and cultural elements are differentiated from each other. Linking the physical world and human environments and understanding the concept of sustainable development.
Scale (linked to diversity): the ‘zoom lens’ through which the subject matter is ‘seen’, and the significance of local, regional, national, international and global perspectives.
Location: Recognising similarities and differences across the world and developing knowledge and understanding of location, interconnectedness and spatial patterns. Aspects of locational knowledge may include oceans, continents, regions, capital cities and global position.
Physical processes: How the world is shaped through processes that sometimes take millennia to happen and may be ongoing, including erosion, the water cycle, ocean circulation, climate change, earthquakes and volcanoes.
Human processes: Human processes influence, and are also influenced, by the physical features of environments. Some human processes include transport, trade, migration, settlements, travel, leisure and tourism and pollution.
Techniques: A way of finding out geographical information and communicating it. This may include fieldwork, secondary geographical sources such as atlases, map reading and using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). For this knowledge category, a big focus is placed on vocabulary and making it explicit to the children the vocabulary they are learning so as they can communicate what they are learning using the correct and appropriate geographical language.
We want our children to ‘think geographically’, which we hope will bring geography alive at our school. The children ask questions about and investigate their own world.
Our geography curriculum is based on the expectations of the national curriculum and is designed to ensure progress and matched to the needs and interests of our pupils. Each year group will have the opportunity to acquire geographical knowledge and skills through a specific programme of study, which develops knowledge and understanding of geographical concepts. We provide a geographical curriculum which builds upon prior knowledge, skills and understanding previously taught.
In order to support children in their ability to know more and remember more, children constantly recap previous knowledge through retrieval tasks ensuring they commit key geographical knowledge to their long-term memory as well as to make links with new knowledge being taught.
We have identified an agreed set of ‘sticky facts’ which teachers ensure that children retain and these are constantly referred to in subsequent units of work and year groups.
Geography is taught every term. Teachers plan and deliver between seven and nine lessons to cover a full unit of work, and then plan several lessons to assess learning and give the children a chance to revisit, embed and deepen previous learning.
Locational knowledge and map work are woven throughout all geography units. Every unit of work allows children to practise communicating geographically through using maps, globes and atlases.
We have developed a progression of skills within each year group, which enables pupils to build on and develop their knowledge and skills each year.
Knowledge organisers are used to support children with the acquisition of knowledge and vocabulary.
Staff access a range of resources to support teaching including PlanBee and Geographical association planning materials. Staff also use the Chris Quigley Knowledge Organisers, which are organised into Milestones, ensuring there is progression across the units of work, vocabulary, knowledge and skills.
The impact of our curriculum design will lead to children developing the geographical knowledge and skills to help them explore, navigate and understand the world around them and their place in it. Children’s knowledge and skills will develop progressively as they move through the school, not only to enable them to meet the requirements of the National Curriculum but to prepare them to become competent and enthusiastic geography learners evidenced in a range of ways, including pupil voice and their work. Additionally, we aim that our children will have the ability to form opinions, take responsibility and share an understanding about current and contemporary issues in society and the environment.
Within each of the geography units, pupils will be introduced to significant people, both past and present, who have contributed to our understanding and knowledge of the world.
Texts linked to Geography
When studying geography pupils will have access to a range of fiction and non-fiction books that link to their learning.
Geography in the News
In school, we have a news display specifically for Geography, History and Science related news articles. The locations of the news stories are pin-pointed on a world map. We also display Geography magazines, which children can borrow to read at their leisure. ‘First News’ issues are emailed to class teachers for them to share with their class, with a focus on discussing where in the world these events have happened., further deepening the children’s locational knowledge and map-reading skills.