At Leamington Community Primary School we aim to teach Geography in a fun, engaging and immersive way. Our Geography curriculum stimulates a sense of wonder and promotes curiosity about the world around us and aims to inspire children to become Geographers!
We teach the children a knowledge about diverse people, places, resources and natural and human environments as well as the Earth’s key physical and human processes. Throughout our Geography curriculum, the children learn about their local area and compare their life in this area with that in other regions in the United Kingdom and in the rest of the world. Children also learn how to draw and interpret maps and they develop the skills of research, investigation, analysis and problem-solving.
Bringing Geography alive is important to us at Leamington Community Primary School! Our focus is on providing enrichment opportunities therefore we make it a priority to provide every year group with the opportunity to take part in fieldwork experiences outside of our school grounds. For example Year 2 take a trip into Liverpool city centre to investigate places to visit which provides our pupils with the opportunity to use their knowledge, understanding and skills to interpret OS maps, make simple comparisons and use Geographical vocabulary.
To ensure we are providing the children with the best possible experience while they are at Leamington, we use the National Curriculum as a starting point and design a bespoke, engaging Geography curriculum that teaches children Geographical knowledge, understanding and skills with the aim to empower children to take on the role of Geographers.
We empower our staff to organise their own year group curriculum under the guidance of our subject leader. Staff develop year group specific long-term curriculum maps which identify when the different topics will be taught across the academic year. Our themes and topics begin with and enquiry question and are progressive throughout the whole school Geography curriculum. For example Year 1 study our school and local area with a focus on investigating how we can improve our local area, Year 2 study the Liverpool city centre and use OS maps to plan a visit for a tourist, Year 3 investigate land use on Norris Green, Year 4 study settlements across Merseyside, while Year 5 investigate the topographical maps of the UK.
At Leamington we aim to design every lesson to be memorable and immersive and believe the best way of teaching children are through experiences. For example, recently, the whole school took part in rapping workshops which focused on environmental issues such as:
- Single use plastics in the oceans,
- Reduce / Reuse / Recycle,
- Litter Picking,
- Flowers and trees for oxygen and bees
- Walking / cycling and public transport
The children were inspired by these our visiting rapper who worked with them to create a freestyle rap about and environmental issue before the children performed theirs to each class.
Our Geography lessons are often linked to our literary texts which enables us to create fully immersive lessons in which children learn about a cultures, features of a location, the impact of an event on a place or person, all whilst learning within a classroom that has been transformed into another location.
For example in Year 5 when the children are studying ‘Why should rainforests be important to us all? They also study the text Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson and the classroom is physically transformed into a rainforest. The staff will also regularly teach in role as a person from a different culture, which enables the children to learn about other cultures, lifestyles, place knowledge and learn about the impact of events on people. These immersive experiences are valuable in providing children with the opportunity to use their Geography knowledge, understanding and skills throughout the curriculum and within unfamiliar contexts therefore developing children’s appreciation of life in other cultures.
At Leamington, we also promote children’s use of Geographical vocabulary and focus on ensuring children enjoy learning and using Geographical vocabulary within every topic. Every classroom displays a glossary with key vocabulary and definitions while the pupils from Y2- Y6 also create their own glossary in the back of their Geography books. It is an expectation that vocabulary games are planned throughout the Geography curriculum at Leamington in order to build on our pupil’s bank of Geographical vocabulary. We use games to consolidate prior learning as well as engage children in new learning.
We also focus on providing opportunities to use our Geographical knowledge within unfamiliar contexts. For example when Year 4 design a pavilion for our local park within their Design and Technology topic, they use their previous Geography knowledge and skills to choose a suitable location for their design. They plan their visit using the Digimap programme and when at the location they identify human and physical features which may affect their design, sketch potential land/ space to use and annotate OS maps of the area before designing their pavilion.
At Leamington Community Primary School we use both formative and summative assessment information throughout our Geography curriculum. Staff use this information to inform their short-term planning and this enables the staff to provide the best possible support to cater to special educational needs and opportunities to provide challenge for our more able children.
The teachers use our Knowledge, Understanding and Skills assessment sheets to identify children as ‘Working towards’, ‘Expected’ or ‘Greater Depth’ in each individual Geographical skill. This provides the staff with the opportunity to identify areas to support and when opportunities to excel are needed to meet the needs of our children.
The children are also assessed at the end of each topic through a Reflection Task. This provides an opportunity our pupils to showcase their knowledge and understanding and use their Geographical skills. The tasks are planned in a variety of formats throughout the whole school so that children can present their learning in a variety of contexts. For example one of Year 6 reflection tasks is to make a Geographical board game based on questions about WW2 Geography, while Year 4 draw a map of a settlement they created using OS symbols and co-ordinates and Year 5 write an information text about South Africa.
Assessment is collected frequently and analysed by the subject leader throughout the school year. Monitoring of the Geography curriculum includes, learning walks, book scrutinies, pupil voice interviews and staff questionnaires. This enables the subject leaders to triangulate between outcomes in books, pupils knowledge and data as well as provide the staff with a voice to identify their confidence teaching the subject, strengths and possible areas for support. All this information is gathered and reviewed and informs further planning. For example after moderating Geography in 2019, the need for training in fieldwork was identified, therefore the curriculum lead planned a training session with Enrich Education which upskilled the staff therefore increased staff confidence and increases the school’s fieldwork resources.
We believe that our Geography curriculum provides our children with engaging, memorable and exciting opportunities to explore the world around us. We work hard as a staff to provide the best Geography curriculum for our pupils, which is reflected in our pupil voice interviews, the children’s knowledge and progress in this area.
- Leamington Geography Progression of skills
- PRIMARY National Curriculum – Geography
- Geography Policy 2021
We like to use games and interactive resources to teach our children about the world and key geographical issues. Below are some links to websites with geographical games or websites to help children research and explore the world around them.
How has the pandemic affected the Geography Curriculum at Leamington Primary?
Before the pandemic
Before lockdown, teachers were delivering a broad and balanced curriculum through an immersive approach. We planned a bespoke, immersive and engaging Geography curriculum that teaches children Geographical knowledge, understanding and skills with the aim to empower children to take on the role of Geographers. Throughout our Geography curriculum, the children learn about their local area and compare their life in this area with that in other regions in the United Kingdom and in the rest of the world. Children also learn how to draw and interpret maps and they develop the skills of research, investigation, analysis and problem-solving. We put a strong focus on providing enrichment opportunities and prior to lockdown our priority was to provide every year group with the opportunity to take part in fieldwork experiences outside of our school grounds. For example, Year 2 take a trip into Liverpool city centre to investigate places to visit which provides our pupils with the opportunity to use their knowledge, understanding and skills to interpret OS maps, make simple comparisons and use Geographical vocabulary.
Remote learning during the pandemic
During the first lockdown (March – July 2020), the majority of pupils did not receive a full and balanced education. Children throughout the school were given a pack of workbooks in English, Maths and Science. We did not teach Geography units specifically as there were so few children in school, and those at home where not set up for online learning however some opportunities to complete non-specific Geography tasks were provided on Class Dojo and our school social media outlets.
In preparation for our September 2020 return to school, as the Geography lead I worked alongside the Curriculum Lead to identify knowledge, understanding and skills that needed to be prioritised in order to ensure no further gaps arise in the Geography curriculum. When we returned to school in September 2020, we implemented our Recapture Curriculum which included teachers working from the previous academic year’s planning. The summer term plans were being used as a vehicle for teaching and learning were the most relevant KUS had been selected in order to merge two units of work into one. Each Year Group across the school used the previous year groups Summer term planning alongside the newly created knowledge organisers and previously identified priority KUS, to lessen the gaps in the Geography curriculum.
During the second lockdown (Jan – March 2021), we continued to deliver the full primary curriculum online and to the children of key workers that were in school. We provided laptops and Wifi dongles to ensure as many children as possible had access to our lessons. Our staff continued to teach the Geography curriculum both to the key worker children working in school throughout lockdown and the remote learners working at home. Throughout the second lockdown, our teachers filmed weekly Geography lessons that would’ve been taught if we were in school. Teachers filmed lesson inputs and uploaded the videos and differentiated tasks onto Class Dojo. This gave the children access to high quality teaching while at home and the opportunity to complete the tasks, add them to their portfolio and receive feedback from their teacher.
Returning to school post lockdown
When we returned to school in September 2020, after the first lockdown, we taught the units from the previous year group that had been missed in the first lockdown. For example, Year 4 children completed tasks from the Year 3 Summer curriculum. As these units were taught in a shorter time as a catch-up curriculum, some of the key skills and knowledge may have been missed.
Having previously identified priority KUS before the September 2020 return to school, the staff continued to lessen the gap through the through the Recapture Curriculum. As the subject leader I am aware of arising gaps in the Geography curriculum and need to identify actions to lessen these gaps as the children continue progress throughout the school. In subject leader monitoring, I will identify continuing or developing gaps in the Geography curriculum, looking for any skills and knowledge that may need to be covered as the children progress through the school. Our Geography curriculum has always highlighted the importance of providing enrichment opportunities to every year group with the opportunity to take part in fieldwork experiences outside of our school grounds. We normally have several year groups taking part in residential trips which provide children with opportunities to complete fieldwork and to use their knowledge, understanding and skills and work as a true Geographer.
I have already identified the lack of field work experiences and enrichment opportunities that our children have missed out on throughout both the previous and current academic year and I’m aware of the need to ensure these enriching field work opportunities are implemented throughout our future Geography curriculum.
When we returned to school in March 2021, after the second lockdown, we continued to teach the curriculum from where we had left the last online lesson however our fieldwork and enrichment opportunities are currently limited by Covid restrictions and risk assessments.
What does the future look like?
We will continue to deliver Geography units through the Spring and Summer Terms of 2021 as we would any other year. In Summer term, I will be monitoring the Geography curriculum and will be able to identify the areas for development throughout the curriculum and gain pupil feedback in order to identify their needs. As Amanda Spielman stated ‘We know that most children have learned less than usual over the past year.’ However we need to assess their progress for an honest overview and ‘teach them from where they are, not where you would have liked them to be’ (Amanda Spielman, ASCL Annual Conference 2021 ). On reflection, not every child at home accessed the online Geography lessons provided by their teachers and unfortunately, there is no provision in place for interventions that could cover these skills therefore teachers need to be aware of the ongoing impact of this on some pupils progress.
As part of our Recapture Curriculum, our teachers will complete the academic year teaching the planned Geography curriculum during the Spring and Summer term. After the subject leader review in the Summer term, I will share an updated gaps and KUS analysis with staff. This will ensure teachers are aware when teaching new skills of previous gaps in this area and possible need to address previous content.
As the restrictions ease, we are looking forward to providing opportunities for our young Geographers to get back into the environment to explore the world around them. Our teachers are eager to carry out investigations outside of the school grounds, complete fieldwork activities and enjoy enriching opportunities to support our pupils’ curiosity of the world and broaden their Geographical experiences.