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GEOGRAPHY and HISTORY

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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 geography curriculum is designed 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 should 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.

Our school’s intent is to offer a high-quality history education that will help pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. It should inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past. Teaching should equip pupils to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement.  History helps pupils to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time.

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Intent

 

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.  Teaching should 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 should 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.

 

At Furness, through our teaching of Geography we aim to ensure that all pupils:

  • develop contextual knowledge of the location of globally significant places – both terrestrial and marine – including their defining physical and human characteristics and how these provide a geographical context for understanding the actions of processes
  • understand the processes that give rise to key physical and human geographical features of the world, how these are interdependent and how they bring about spatial variation and change over time
  • are competent in the geographical skills needed to:
  • collect, analyse and communicate with a range of data gathered through experiences of fieldwork that deepen their understanding of geographical processes
  • interpret a range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes, aerial photographs and Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
  • communicate geographical information in a variety of ways, including through maps, numerical and quantitative skills and writing at length.

 

Implementation

 

The Geography curriculum at Furness has been tailored to meet the requirements of the National Curriculum whilst ensuring a clear progression of knowledge and skills, but also to meet the needs of the pupils at the academy and acknowledge the diverse range of backgrounds that make up the school community.

  • EYFS - Opportunities are provided for our youngest learners to develop their vocabulary start to learn about physical features and processes through topics within the domain of ‘Understanding the World’.  For example, in the summer term children focus on ‘beaches’, which helps familiarise them with vocabulary and features they will also be exposed to in KS1.  The learning is enhanced through exploratory play activities.
  • KS1 – In both Years 1 & 2, Geography topics are sequenced so that they begin with the familiar and use this as a basis for comparison in later topics.  Both year groups study aspects on the UK and London in the Autumn term, with Year 1 focusing more on London in general and its key human and physical features, and Year 2 focusing specifically on Harlesden, the school and the surrounding area.  This provides plenty of opportunities for fieldwork, mapping skills and learning outside the classroom.  The contrasting non-European localities have been selected because they are significant to the makeup of the school community; the aim is to make the learning as relevant to the children as possible and to create opportunities for parents or other relatives to participate by sharing photos, objects or stories with the class.
  • KS2 – To allow for a more in-depth exploration of topics, most year groups in KS2 study just one dedicated Geography topic per year that spans a whole term.  However, it is expected that elements of Geography will be incorporated into all humanities teaching as well as other subject areas.  As with KS1, the countries selected for study not only meet the requirements of the National Curriculum but also have a relevance to the ethnic makeup of the school, thus making the learning more meaningful to the children.  For example, Year 3 compare the UK with Portugal as their contrasting European country because Portugese is the second largest culture in the school community.
  • Cross Curricular Reading – Children are given opportunities to do their own reading/research within each Geography topic, allowing them to see the value of reading to learn and discover.  Children use a variety of reading material to support knowledge acquisition in each topic, including high-quality class reference books, printed resources and websites.  Inference and retrieval skills are also developed through the use of multimedia resources.
  • Cross Curricular Writing – Opportunities for writing are embedded throughout each Geography topic; generally speaking, each lesson should have a written outcome, even if this is a brief summary of the learning or an opportunity to ask geographical questions.  Towards the middle or end of a topic, at least one opportunity to write at length is provided for.  This provides a platform for children to showcase their knowledge of the topic whilst incorporating and consolidating skills being developed in English lessons.  For example, children in Year 6 research and write a non-chronological report about the Danakil Depression in East Africa, an area we chose to study because it has relevance to our children (the largest ethnic group in the school is Somali).
  • Links with Mathematics – Geography provides frequent opportunities to forge connections with mathematics: the use of atlases and other maps develops children’s use directional language, understanding of coordinates and grid references, and also brings in other related concepts such as lines of latitude and longitude further up the school.  Fieldwork activities, particularly in KS1, provide opportunities for collecting data through use of tally charts (for example, tallying the different types of businesses on the Harrow Road), which can then be presented in charts and graphs.  Other forms of data analysis, such as information about temperatures or rainfall in the Year 6 Biomes topic, help to strengthen connectivity between mathematics and Geography.
  • Use of a range of classroom resources to develop Geographical skills – Each class is equipped with a matching set of age-appropriate atlases; opportunities to use them are always incorporated into any Geography unit of work, but they are also utilised when developing contextual and subject knowledge in other subjects.  In History, atlas and map work are essential to provide context for most History topics.  However, atlases are sometimes used in other subjects, for example in English when looking at stories from other cultures or when finding out more about a character or setting from a core text.  Doing so helps to develop children’s sense of connectivity between different areas of learning – they are then able to see how Geography skills can be applied elsewhere, rather than see the subject / skill in isolation.

Use of photo and video sources, leaflets or brochures, high quality class reference books and other printed materials in Geography lessons all contribute to pupils’ growing ability to engage with and analyse different source material, using it for research and to answer given questions.  At the same time, this makes a connection with many key reading skills in English, such as the ability to retrieve information from a variety of differently structured texts, as well as inferencing skills.

  • Fieldwork – Opportunities for fieldwork are provided in some Geography topics, most notably in Year 2 when children practice mapping the school and the local area, as well as carry out surveys of businesses and of other human features in Harlesden.  Doing so enables them to learn vocabulary in practical, ‘real life’ contexts outside of the classroom.  In Year 6, the school residential trip provides great opportunities for fieldwork through orienteering activities and learning about river formation / erosion.
  • Whole school events – European Day of Languages provides a brilliant opportunity for children to appreciate the diversity of languages spoken in Europe, in London and even in the school.  The school also promotes ‘Earth Day’ through organising activities in class linked to raising awareness about environmental issues.
  • Upper KS2 residential trips – Children in Year 6 embark on a week-long residential trip to Gordon Brown activity centre.  For many children, their experiences of the British countryside prior to this are either extremely limited or non-existent.  The residential trip provides them with numerous opportunities for learning in outdoor, practical contexts, and acts as an ideal platform to explore the temperate biome they have learned about in their Geography unit earlier in the term.  As previously mentioned, the residential trip also incorporates several fieldwork based activities.
  • Educational Visits – These form an integral part of the learning experience for children whilst building upon their ‘cultural capital’ by exposing them to sights, locations and activities they may otherwise not have the opportunity to be involved with.  We are fortunate enough to be able to easily take advantage of the wealth of resources that the capital has to offer, for example Kew Gardens, where pupils can experience conditions similar to those in an actual rainforest or desert.    Educational visits also provide a valuable writing opportunity, as the children can recount their experience or write about it using a different format, for example a newspaper report or persuasive advert.  This is another way of strengthening connectivity with other learning areas.
  • IntoUniversity – Classes in KS2 that are involved with the IntoUniversity program often link the learning activities in these sessions to their Humanities topic, which helps to enrich the learning already taking place in class and provide a different perspective.  In Year 6, children visit the HMS Belfast as part of their work with IntoUniversity, which greatly compliments their learning about WW2. 
  • Assessment – We aim to make assessment in the humanities as meaningful as possible whilst still being manageable for the class teacher.  For each topic, class teachers produce a cover sheet that details the key skills and knowledge that will be covered throughout the unit (these objectives are taken from a shared document which covers ‘Progression in Geography’).  The key objectives are used to underpin all learning taking place within that topic, and teachers are able to use them to judge whether individual children are working within, below or above the expected standard for their age.  This data is uploaded to Target Tracker so it can be compiled and analysed by the Subject Lead.

 

Implementation: S-2-O

  • Planning: 6Es – Plans for units of work explicitly make reference to our academy’s pedagogical principal of the 6Es:  Explore, Explain, Examples, Expand, Enrich & Evaluate.  In doing so, this shared common language helps to reinforce children’s approach to learning, allowing them first to draw upon what they know and their own ideas (explore), before the teacher brings new facts and information to the fore (explain & examples) and they are provided with learning opportunities that allow for greater progression and a deeper understanding of the topic at hand (expand & enrich).  To end each lesson, children are given a reflective question as part of their plenary (evaluate) to develop their reasoning and consolidate the learning.
  • Use of Geography games to develop locational knowledge – Developing locational knowledge needs to be recognised by teachers as knowledge that is built up over time through repetition and gradually increasing familiarisation with World, European and UK maps.  Locational knowledge should not be isolated to one or two lessons of map work within a topic; rather, opportunities to constantly reinforce and consolidate locational knowledge need to be embedded into every lesson and even at other times in the day.  This can be done through different game-like approaches, for example throwing an inflatable globe between pupils, who then have to find a country in a given criteria (e.g. somewhere you’d like to visit / somewhere in the northern hemisphere / a country in South America etc.).  Similar games can be done using maps / atlases e.g. find a city in… [the south west of England / north of Liverpool etc.]
  • Involving Parents – The school’s new Geography curriculum has been designed to include specific links to some of the largest cultural groups that make up the school community.  Part of the reason behind this is to create opportunities for parents to be directly involved with lessons in school by coming into the classroom, sharing stories and experiences, and bring photos, videos and/or objects to show the pupils.  Doing so will greatly enrich the learning whilst strengthening parental engagement with the school.

 

  • Fieldwork Opportunities – Although fieldwork activities are present in some year groups’ topic planning, there needs to be a greater emphasis on fieldwork and outdoor learning across the school.  The surrounding area is particularly rich in human features: there are several parks, a prominent high street and the Grand Union Canal, all of which provide a great starting point for fieldwork.  Ideally, every year group should have at least one fieldwork activity and follow up session planned into each Geography unit of work.

 

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  • Revisiting prior learning – teachers need to plan for opportunities to revisit previous topics and make connections with the current one.  The structure of the new Geography curriculum for at least one comparisons between other countries and the UK each year; this should help to consolidate locational knowledge about the UK.  However, deeper connections between topics need to be forged, for example linking vocabulary to different areas of learning or drawing comparisons between countries or locations studied in previous years with the current topic.
  • Home learning projects & exhibitions – Prior to each topic, teachers issue a ‘home learning project’ with both a creative and research aspect to it, in order to help children develop their independent study skills, involve parents in the learning and activate / instill some prior knowledge.  These are normally completed over school holidays to allow enough time and ensure a good end result.  The hard work of children and their parents is then celebrated through a ‘home learning exhibition’ (HLE) in which each class has a stand where their work is displayed, and representatives from the class talk to parents, pupils, staff or other visitors about their projects and learning.  As a further incentive, guests at the HLE are able to vote for their favourite projects, with the top 3 receiving special awards; this reinforces the British Value of democracy and helps to further celebrate and reward those children whose efforts have been exceptional.
  • Topic ‘WOW Days’ – To instill a sense of excitement and create a ‘buzz’ about a new topic, teachers organise a ‘WOW Day’ to kick start the learning in a new topic.  These often involve dressing up in clothing linked to the period being studied, but should also include fun and inspiring learning activities designed to draw upon prior knowledge, make cross-curricular links, or provide an interesting starting point to the topic.

 

Impact

 

The impact of our Geography curriculum is that the majority of children in our school, are able to…

 

  • Talk confidently about how they learn about Geography (skills), as well as what they know (knowledge)
  • Use a wide range of Geographical terms and subject-specific vocabulary
  • Ask geographical questions about their own locality and others in this country, Europe or around the wider world.
  • Select and use relevant source material, including maps and atlases, to answer geographical questions.
  • Show an interest an enthusiasm for finding out about both the physical and human world around them
  • Articulate their understanding of key human and physical processes that shape our planet.
  • (By the end of KS2) Name, locate and describe the 7 continents and examples of countries within them; major oceans and seas; climatic zones, major biomes and their features; and examples of major world human and physical landmarks and processes.

History and Geography Curriculum Map 2019-20

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