At Thorney Close, we believe that a high quality geography education should inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. We believe that there can be few things more fundamental than learning about the ‘earth as our home’. Geography, when taught well, should fascinate and inspire children and nourish curiosity. Geography also deepens understanding of many contemporary challenges – climate change, food security, energy choices. As a subject, it impacts upon every aspect of our children’s lives and plays a crucial role in developing caring and understanding citizens of tomorrow. We want children to realise that geography is about them, growing up in their world. We want to build on children’s interests and experiences but also find ways to challenge and excite them with content that might be beyond their immediate horizon. We carefully selected units which reflect the needs of our children: units which take them beyond the local area to explore the UK and the wider world, to develop a passion for learning so that they leave us excited about geography as a subject.
How we plan and teach Geography
Although we make meaningful links to other curriculum areas, we believe that children should see geography as a subject in its own right. When planning our curriculum, we have thought about its distinctive character as a discipline and ensured that we have woven the concepts that are fundamental to geographical thinking into our curriculum. Skills needed to be a geographer are taught progressively. Concepts are built upon, learning is revisited and children’s locational knowledge is built on year on year. Children complete three Geography units over a year. Teachers are clear about what they need children to learn and how this builds on prior learning. We draw on the expertise of The Geographical Association to ensure our units are well planned and use this organisation to develop our teachers’ subject knowledge. Fieldwork is a statutory part of the national curriculum and is undertaken on a regular basis. Our geography curriculum ensures children engage regularly with the outside world and develop skills in meaningful and current contexts. First hand experiences are really important for our children at Thorney Close. Fieldwork ensures children are engaging with the world around them, managing risks, navigating real landscapes and gathering data for real purposes. Through our geography curriculum, we have thought about key threads that run through units. These threads of Location, Physical Features, Human Features and Diversity are revisited over time and add to the cohesiveness of our curriculum.
How we evaluate learning in Geography
The impact of our geography curriculum can be seen in work in children’s books. Children have knowledge organisers for each unit, which outline what they will be learning, how this builds on previous learning and what the next steps in learning are. Leaders identify key assessment targets and children complete a short assessment (POP task) at the end of each unit. Teachers use these assessments to evaluate whether a child is working at the expected standard and to plan for next steps. Learning is revisited regularly. When teachers start new units, they recap on prior learning and use our threads to deepen children’s understanding and knowledge of geography.