Geography at St John’s
We help students make sense of the world. Pupils learn about the world’s physical and human environments. Geography tackles the big issues: environmental responsibility; our global interdependence; cultural understanding and tolerance; commerce, trade and industry. The world in which we live is likely to change more in the next 50 years than it has ever done before. Geography explains why, and helps students prepare for those changes.
Frances Soar (Geographical Association)
- Self – We want our pupils to be aware of their place in the world and the influence they can have on the local environment and how they have a responsibility to understand and improve the world
- Others – We want our pupils to have a cultural understanding and tolerance of different countries and communities around the world, their resources, and natural and human environments
- Wider world – We want our children to have a greater understanding and knowledge of global issues in the world and to help pupils prepare for the future changes that will occur in their lives
TEACHING AND LEARNING STYLE
We use a variety of teaching and learning styles in our geography lessons. We believe in whole-class teaching methods and we combine these with enquiry-based research activities. We encourage pupils to ask as well as answer geographical questions. We offer them the opportunity to use a variety of data, such as maps, statistics, graphs, pictures, and aerial photographs, and we enable them to use ICT in geography lessons where this serves to enhance their learning. Pupils take part in role-play and discussions, and they present reports to the rest of the class. They engage in a wide variety of problem-solving activities. Wherever possible, we involve the pupils in ‘real’ geographical activities, e.g. research of a local environmental problem or use of the Internet to investigate a current issue.
We recognise the fact that there are pupils of widely different geographical abilities in all classes and we provide suitable learning opportunities for all pupils by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child. We achieve this by:
- Setting common tasks which are open-ended and can have a variety of responses;
- Setting tasks of increasing difficulty, some pupils not completing all tasks;
- Grouping pupils by ability in the room and setting different tasks to each ability group;
- Providing resources of different complexity according to the ability of the child;
GEOGRAPHY CURRICULUM PLANNING
We use the objectives set out in the National Curriculum as the basis for our planning in Geography, but we have adapted our Geography schemes of work to the local context. We build planned progression into the scheme of work so that the pupils are increasingly challenged as they move up through the school.
We carry out curriculum planning in Geography in three phases (long-term, medium-term and short-term).
The long-term plan maps out the topics to be covered over the 4 year cycle (KS2) or 3 year cycle (KS1).
The medium-term plans are written by the Key Stage teams under the direction of the head teacher. They address the National Curriculum subject content for each Key Stage. The plans are differentiated so as to address the needs of all the pupils in the Key Stage.
Individual plans are completed by all teachers and outlining the objectives that will be delivered. Geography is a subject which teachers might choose to block over a 2-3 week programme in the term. This allows for sharing of resources and for field trips and special events.
We plan the topics in geography so that they build upon prior learning. Pupils of all abilities have the opportunity to develop their skills and knowledge in each unit and, through planned progression built into the scheme of work, we offer them an increasing challenge as they move up the school.
Assessment is built into our programmes of work. Children’s work is recorded in Humanities books and the red home-school books. Teachers make assessments in through informal judgements of the children's work or through quizzes to check knowledge gained during each topic.
Reception pupils learn about Geography through playful, practical and focused tasks. Their curriculum is guided by the “Understanding of the World” statements found in the Development Matters document for September 2021 that school has chosen to adopt early in September 2020. Reception children are assessed against the Early Learning Goals in Summer with elements of Geography assessed under the new Early Learning Goals titled “People and Communities” and “The Natural World.”
More information about Geography at St John’s can be found here: