Geography Curriculum at Bellingham Primary School
The purpose of our high-quality geography curriculum at Bellingham Primary School is to inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. We believe that by ensuring pupils have a secure understanding of key geographical knowledge and concepts, we are preparing them for their future studies within our own school, secondary school, college, university and beyond, enabling them to achieve their aspirations as well as having the confidence to use and apply them in all aspects of everyday life.
At Bellingham Primary School we teach our children geography to a high standard in all classes. We equip pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural as well as human environments. This is taught together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. As pupils progress through Bellingham Primary School, their growing knowledge about the world helps deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes. Children understand about the formation and use of landscapes as well as 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.
We ensure our pupils 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. The lessons that we provide at Bellingham Primary School include opportunities for children to interpret a range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes and aerial photographs. Opportunities are planned for children to communicate geographical information in a variety of ways, including through maps, numerical as well as quantitative skills and writing at length.
In Reception children explore the natural world around them and look for similarities and differences between contrasting environments, drawing on their experiences. They learn to understand some important processes and changes in the natural world around them, including the seasons and changing states of matter. In KS1 children develop their knowledge about their locality, the United Kingdom and the world and begin to use geographical skills, including first-hand observation, to enhance their locational awareness. Throughout KS2, we extend pupils’ knowledge and understanding beyond the local area to include the United Kingdom and Europe, North and South America, focusing on the Amazon rainforest. This includes the location and characteristics of a range of the world’s most significant human and physical features. Children develop their use of geographical knowledge, understanding and skills to enhance their locational as well as place knowledge. We also recognise the importance of spoken language in pupils’ development across the whole curriculum. The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are key factors in developing their geographical vocabulary. We ensure children are taught subject-specific vocabulary relating to human and physical geography.
Our geography curriculum is enriched by rich, diverse experiences across the whole school (e.g. forest schools, field trips to different localities; walks within the local area; North Tyne Trust project; regular visits to the local church and residential opportunities across the North East). We believe that geography should be an interactive subject which strives to ignite a child’s natural curiosity. Through our Geography curriculum we want children to develop a key understanding of where Bellingham is located in the world and be proud of where they live.
The geography subject coordinator monitors the subject closely in Bellingham Primary School to ensure children are working at a high standard: book and planning scrutinies, discussions with children, learning walks, lesson observations, evaluation of school data compared to national standards, attending partnership network meetings and courses to ensure they stay abreast of best practice and leading whole-school training for staff members, form a part of this. At Bellingham Primary School we understand that It is vital for children to develop a secure understanding of each key block of knowledge and concepts in order to progress to the next stage. Regular assessments of children’s learning enable us to make appropriate early interventions to ensure every child makes high levels of progress.
In Geography our provision is designed to promote the exploration of the connections between people and places. We aim for our pupils to explore both natural and cultural similarities and differences and to become confident ‘Geographers/ Explorers’. We offer a structure and sequence of lessons to help teachers ensure they have covered the skills required to meet the aims of the national curriculum. The content allows for a broader, deeper understanding of the four areas of geography identified in the curriculum. It will develop contextual knowledge of the location of globally significant places and understanding of the processes that give rise to key physical and human geographical features of the world, along with how they bring about variation and change over time. We intend to develop children’s curiosity and a fascination of the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. The curriculum is organised to offer a range of opportunities for investigating places around the world as well as physical and human processes. We place a great emphasis on practical Geography and on making links with our locality and region wherever possible. Fieldwork is a driving factor in our planning. We want our children to gain confidence and practical experiences of geographical knowledge, understanding and skills. We are committed to providing children with opportunities to investigate and make enquiries about their local area so that they can develop of real sense of who they are, their heritage and what makes our local area unique and special. Our lessons are intended to improve children’s geographical vocabulary, map skills and geographical facts and provide opportunities for consolidation, challenge and variety to ensure interest and good progress in the subject.
When designing our curriculum we have sought to focus on 3 main areas: Knowledge: What do we want our children to learn and remember? Concepts: We have focussed on the seven geographical concepts of place, space, environment, interconnection, sustainability, scale and change which are the key to understanding the places that make up our world. Skills: How will we teach our children to become effective Geographers? What skills do they need to learn to understand the content? In Reception we explore the world around us through Forest School sessions. In KS1, the Geography Curriculum is taught across Year 1 and Year 2. Within the key stage children begin to use maps and recognise physical and human features to do with the local area and building to using maps to explore the continents and oceans of the world. The children will begin to compare where they live to places outside of Europe and ask and answer geographical questions. In KS2, map skills are developed further using digital maps, more keys and symbols and children begin to use more fieldwork skills. Through revisiting and consolidating skills, the children build on prior knowledge alongside introducing new skills and challenge as outlined in our progression of skills document. All children expand on their skills in local knowledge, place knowledge, human and physical geography, geographical skills and fieldwork. Across both key stages, children have a range of opportunities to experience geography through practical engaging tasks beyond the classroom. End of unit assessments and progression trackers give our non-specialist staff who lead geography confidence in the progression of skills and knowledge and that outcomes have been met. Key words are also provided to be used by children to deepen their geographical knowledge.
We believe that the impact of using our personalised Geography curriculum and progressive units will ensure that geography learning is loved by teachers and children across our school. Teachers have higher expectations and more quality evidence can be presented in books. All children will use geographical vocabulary accurately and understand the different strands of geography, with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. Children will begin to make relevant links from geography to other curriculum subjects, such as history and science. They will improve their enquiry skills and inquisitiveness about the world around them, and their impact on the world. All children will realise that they have choices to make in the world, developing a positive commitment to the environment and the future of the planet. Children will become competent in collecting, analysing and communicating a range of data gathered. They will be able to interpret a range of sources of geographical information and they will communicate geographical information in a variety of ways. All children in the school will be able to speak confidently about their geography learning, skills and knowledge.
At Bellingham Primary School we follow the Primary National Curriculum. Miss Newman is the school's Geography leader.
At Bellingham Primary School, history will usually be taught through cross curricular topic links, following the topic timetable.
Purpose of study
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 framework and approaches that explain how the Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and change over time.
- The national curriculum for geography aims 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
Here is the link to the National Curriculum for Geography: Statutory guidance overview: National curriculum in England: history programmes of study - Statutory guidance overview: National curriculum in England: geography programmes of study - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)