‘the extent to which the school’s curriculum sets out the knowledge and skills that pupils will gain at each key stage’ [Ofsted EIF 2022]
The geography curriculum at Gifford delivers the aims of the National Curriculum for Geography. Subject matter taught is that specified by the National Curriculum Programmes of Study. The geography curriculum at Gifford also supports delivery of the school’s aims, outlined in its ‘Intent’, which are to:
How the National Curriculum for Geography and the school’s aims have informed selection of content is outlined in the document titled Curriculum Rationale.
The school’s Knowledge, Skills & Understanding Progression Grids for each subject set out the learning pupils will gain as they progress from year to year.
The school’s geography curriculum covers aspects of human, physical and economic geography through studies of the local area, the UK and selected parts of the world. Many of the places studied have been chosen because of the connection the school community has with them. A key focus of the geography curriculum is geographical skills, including information gathering from a range of sources (e.g. maps, data and fieldwork) and the interpretation and communication of information.
The geography curriculum at Gifford strongly supports the development of Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development and understanding of British Values. Separate documents outline how SMSC and British Values are embedded within geography.
'the way that the curriculum developed or adopted by the school is taught and assessed in order to support pupils to build their knowledge and to apply that knowledge as skills’ [Ofsted EIF 2022]
Geography units are taught over three half-terms in each year group. Overarching themes for the units of each half-term (such as ‘Caretaking our Planet’ in Spring 2) give unity and continuity, and support progression from each year to the next.
Pupils are taught to use a range of sources of information to locate places and find out about their physical and human characteristics. These sources include high-quality visuals (photos and video material); carefully researched data in a variety of forms, such as charts and graphs; a range of maps, including digital maps, globes and atlases; surveys and fieldwork.
Links are made between subjects where meaningful and where this helps deepen understanding of the geography. Learning in geography is supported by learning in history in which pupils learn about the location and physical and human characteristics of places of historical interest, such as Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece in order to understand how these civilisations developed. Knowledge of processes, such as the water and rock cycles, studied in science are drawn on in geography units and pupils are also required to apply skills in reading, writing and maths.
Teachers assess pupils’ learning using the school’s assessment framework through questioning in class, book scrutiny and pupil conferencing.
‘the outcomes that pupils achieve as a result of the education they have received’ [Ofsted EIF 2022]
Middle and senior leaders monitor the quality of teaching and learning and outcomes through planning meetings with teachers, lesson observation, book scrutiny and pupil conferencing, often involving external participants (senior leaders from others schools and independent consultants).
Pupils at Gifford are enthusiastic about learning in geography. They are motivated to find out about places with which they are familiar or have a connection with and eager also to find out about places that are unknown to them and very different. Pupils identify human and physical features common to settlements and the relative importance of these features. They are able to make comparisons and express their views, based on knowledge of places studied. Pupils also understand something of the inequalities that exist for people living in different places. They are able to talk about how people’s lives can be improved, by the inclusion of key facilities, recognising the value of green spaces, or through better building design, for example. Pupils develop an awareness of how economic factors shape different places and enable them to thrive. They also understand something of the economic and cultural contribution made by people from around the world to our own locality.
Pupils know about key characteristics of some of the UK’s cities and regions and of places around the world. They know that there are different climate zones and biomes and what the characteristics of the different biomes are. Pupils are able to define and identify key physical features and to explain how some of these change over time as a result of natural processes. Children also consider how human activity impacts the planet, such as logging in tropical rainforest.
Pupils are particularly interested in studying and using maps of all kinds, including digital Ordnance Survey and aerial maps. They are able to use historical maps in Geography and History, to consider changes in land use, for example. Pupils also use specialist maps, such as those showing the location of earthquakes in a given time period and time zones. They are also able to use climate and other graphs and diagrams showing transport networks. Pupils are able to use the points of the compass and grid references to locate places. Experiences of creating their own maps enables them to develop spatial awareness and the ability to spot features and patterns.
Pupils enjoy field trips within the local and London area and the school hopes to introduce trips to contrasting areas further afield in the near future (such as the coast). Visits to specific museum galleries, such as the Earth galleries at the Natural History Museum, also help to inform and consolidate learning in geography.
In the Foundation Stage Geography is covered in Understanding the World. Children learn about places and people. They begin with investigations and discussions focusing on places which are familiar to them before then branching out to explore the wider World. Children are encouraged to develop their sense of belonging, explore differences and similarities between places through role play and books.