Next Review: September 2016
Geography is the study of our physical and human environment through the processes which shape it and the people who live in it. It is a crucial subject to help pupils understand their links with and effects on, the natural world and their links with other people in the wider world. It provides a key context in which to involve pupils with environmental sustainability and help them to grow up as responsible citizens. It helps shape thinking about the future.
We have worked to raise the profile of geography from a marginalised foundation subject to one which is seen as a practical, topical, problem solving subject which helps pupils prepare for the future. Our 2012/13 review seeks to continue this route. ICT is a key resource for this subject. We want to bring a greater focus on the awareness of our responsibility to our world in our curriculum. We also seek to bring greater creativity to geography and to reinforce the links we already had with other subject areas.
The implementation of this policy is the responsibility of all teaching staff.
These are to assist pupils to:
- Develop the skills which enable them to find out about places.
- Develop a sense of place through knowing about the features and characteristics of places, contrasts and relationships between people and places and how people live in them.
- Develop an understanding of the physical and human patterns and processes which enable us to make sense of places.
- Develop a simple understanding of environmental sustainability and how they can be actively involved in living as sustainably as possible.
- Develop a sense of their own identity and place in this world, whilst appreciating the wonder which can be inspired by both natural and built environments.
These identify how we intend to achieve our aims. They guide, through cross-curricular planning and a creative approach, what we want pupils to have done in the classroom.
Skills enable them to find out about places and the people who live in them and are the key to the subject, with places and themes providing the context.
- Undertake studies which focus on geographical questions and carry out systematic geographical enquiries with an increasing degree of independence.
- Undertake fieldwork using a variety of skills, instruments and techniques.
- Make, use and interpret maps and plans at a variety of scales.
- Use plans, maps, atlases and globes to build a locational framework of the size and position of places and how they fit together.
- Use ICT as a tool or resource to assist in obtaining, handling, sorting and presenting evidence.
- Find out about a variety of real people’s lives through meeting and talking with them and through carefully chosen case studies, using video, text and/or photographs, artefacts, relevant music and the internet.
Knowledge and a ‘sense of place’
- Undertake studies of places and themes in localities and broader brush scales in different parts of the world.
- Visit a variety of places so that they may share in first hand sensory experiences and language of what those places are like.
- Use a variety of up-to-date secondary sources which help them to learn about the nature of other places they cannot visit.
Understanding in order to make sense of places
- Collect, sort and present data in diagrams and maps so that they can recognise and explain patterns relationships within and between places.
- Find out about physical and human geographical processes through their first hand geographical enquiries, through direct teaching and through geographical written and visual resources which both they and the teacher have chosen.
Understanding and practicing environmental sustainability and appreciating environmental relationships and issues. (Often such issues may be local, but some distant or global ones may be included)
- Undertake studies that focus on the way environmental, social and political issues have influenced the character of places and continue to influence the way places are changing.
- Engage in learning activities, for example role play, which explore the significance of people’s beliefs, values and attitudes on the geography of the world in which they live.
- Focus on the importance of evidence when drawing conclusions about enquiries or arguing a point of view about an issue.
A sense of identity and citizenship, local and global.
- Carry out geographical studies about the nature of familiar places to which they belong and about their own role within those places.
- Investigate the ways that they are connected and linked with other places and people, and the interdependence of peoples throughout the world.
- Engage in learning activities which reinforce the development of positive values and attitudes towards other people and towards the world on which they depend.
- Have the opportunity through visits and/or the use of visual materials to be amazed at the qualities of natural and human-influenced landscapes.
Principles of teaching and learning
- We plan our classroom activities to challenge and involve all pupils appropriately, according to age and capability, ethnic diversity, gender and language background.
- We are aware of different learning styles and the need to allow pupils to be able to work in their preferred learning styles for some of the time.
- We use materials for teaching which avoid stereo-typing, and bias, towards race, gender, role or disability.
- We deal with such issues clearly and sensitively when they arise.
Differentiation and AEN
We use a range of strategies to support pupils. A few of these, particularly relevant to geography are:
- An adult to accompany pupils with aural or visual impairments on visits.
- The use of large scale maps, always colour highlighted for pupils with particular additional needs.
- Awareness of the problems colour keys provide for colour-blind pupils.
- The use of several levels of difficulty of vocabulary in class lessons by the teacher, e.g. areas of housing/residential areas.
- Modified text passages as expected in other curriculum areas.
- Different levels of written or oral questions for pupils investigating photographic or other visual materials.
- Modified graphs, e.g. the use of ICT to graph data, axes provided and labelled.
- Careful use of support for pupils with English as an additional language.
For our gifted and talented pupils we will expect:
- A greater range of resources to be used.
- Extension and/or different, more challenging tasks to be provided.
- Greater independence in working, e.g. a pupil to be able to carry out their own simple geographical enquiry by year 6, partly through homework.
- Opportunities to make the school more environmentally sustainable.
Breadth and Balance
In our school we teach the National Curriculum skills for geography through cross-curricular, topic-based themes. These themes are chosen by teaching staff for their own classrooms, and it is the responsibility of teaching staff and the subject leader to ensure that the National Curriculum is delivered fully.
In the Foundation Stage, geography is developed through the Knowledge and Understanding of Place p96, 97, 98 and 99 of Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage.
In Key Stage One, geography is taught in a clearly identified way through topics, to a notional time of 30 hours, although it is likely to amount to more than this, because of the cross-curricular nature, e.g. literacy and geography objectives can often be addressed together.
Some aspects in both Key Stages One and Two are delivered through the literacy hour.
In Key Stage Two we teach cross-curricular units, which encompass more creative links with other foundation subjects, e.g. art and history, but where the objectives of each subject are clear.
Some aspects of geography like weather measurement and atlas work related to topical issues will be ongoing as the need arises. To stimulate the subject we may build in a geography day or geography week in some years, increasing the amount of geography topics we cover in a year.
Continuity and Progression
Geographical skills are identified in each topic covered, and are the methodology for teaching and learning about the subject. For example, map skills are not taught in isolation but always relate to real places. Each year group is aware of the map and atlas skills it seeks to address and those dealt with in other years.
To assist pupils’ progress into Key Stage Three, there is a programme of teacher exchange visits to local secondary schools to observe a year seven geography lesson.
Pupils will be engaged in active learning based around the development of geographical enquiry and its related information finding and analysing skills, as expressed in our aims and outcomes.
We want pupils to use a range of thinking skills to:
- Ask geographical questions
- Collect data through fieldwork and/or classwork to help answer these
- Process the data
- Present what they find
- Comment accurately or analyse their findings and reflect on them
We allow for children’s different learning styles in designing our teaching and learning activities.
- The subject is a very visual one but also offers many practical and speaking and listening opportunities.
- We use our pupils’ own geographical experiences to involve and motivate them.
- We use topical events in a rigorous geographical way (e.g. pupils’ holiday destinations, global or continental sporting or environmental events, and natural disasters and people’s response to them).
- We work through practical activities in the classroom, school grounds and locally as much as possible.
- We motivate pupils to learn about other people’s cultures through relating to children’s lives, visiting adults and using artefacts.
Key Skills – Literacy, Numeracy and ICT
- English (including literacy) – geography is an excellent subject for promoting speaking and listening, reading and writing. We focus on the key vocabulary of the subject and use writing frames as appropriate. Big books used in KS1 literacy are often geography ones.
- Numeracy – our fieldwork investigations develop data handling and geographical skills. The spatial dimension of map-work is mathematical too, through direction and locational work.
- ICT – data handling, information retrieval and Internet use are highlighted. We use the digital camera for fieldwork and classroom follow up.
We use the interactive whiteboard as a resource and a teaching tool and pupils use computers as individuals.
- Thinking Skills – we consciously teach thinking through geography as it livens up activities and raises standards.
Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Aspects
Some of our objectives explicitly develop social, moral, cultural and spiritual education. Environmental sustainability and citizenship are integral to the subject. We are an ECO school of green flag status, which we have earned three times, and will renew in July 2013.
Dealing with attitudes and values are an integral part of geography and may link directly with PSHE.
Assessment, Recording and Reporting
- Summative (assessment of learning) and formative (assessment for learning) focuses on the four aspects of the geography N.C. programme of study.
- Progress in the use and application of skills, especially enquiry, is the key focus of summative assessment.
- In each year teachers use both formative and summative assessment to record a judgement about skill development.
- Each topic relates to different key skills from the geography National Curriculum, related to levels which we have compiled, against which each pupil is assessed. Their performance is recorded on a staff list, which is passed on to the next teacher at the end of the year and should be acted on.
- In lessons teachers assess progress towards the learning objectives they have set pupils and shared with them, and use their judgements to adjust future work or set targets.
- We use both formative and summative assessments related to the National Curriculum aspects and level descriptions to help us with wording our reports to parents.
Health and Safety
Please refer to our school health and safety guidelines. Hazard perception is crucial for geography visits. We must walk our route or visit distant sites to assess potential hazards (from road-works to tides) and plan how to deal with them. Pupil supervision guidance must be followed. A written risk-assessment must be done for each visit. E.g. river visit, farm visit. For visits to specialist centres, we send for copies of their risk assessments and modify it if necessary. The risks are reassessed on arrival with centre officers.
The geography subject manager leads the maintenance and development of the subject.
He/She is responsible for assuring quality and standards in the subject by:
- Taking the lead in the development, evaluation and amendment of schemes of work as and when necessary.
- Acting as a consultant to colleagues on resources, fieldwork possibilities, curriculum changes, classroom teaching and learning ideas.
- Advising on staff matters, e.g. specialist teaching, swapping classes, team teaching.
- Monitoring and evaluating pupils’ work, pupils’ views about the subject, display, teachers’ planning and (when the school improvement plan requires) classroom teaching.
The subject manager holds a budget for the subject, in line with the subject action plan and school improvement plan. Resources are centrally stored, largely in geographical theme boxes. All staff have a list of resources and may access them. They are responsible to the subject manager for their correct and orderly return.
The outcomes of monitoring and evaluation, the annual subject and performance management review will prioritise the needs for reviewing or adding to resources and meeting staff’s identified personal development and training needs.
Monitoring and evaluation done by the senior management and subject manager, in line with the school improvement plan, inform curriculum and resource development and staff support.
National changes will be taken into account, matched with whole school priorities. Many aspects of Every Child Matters are addressed through geographical contexts. We are preparing to apply for the Geographical Association’s Silver Level Quality Mark Award during 2012/13.
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