At Larwood School, our geography curriculum is intended to be ambitious and designed to give all pupils, regardless of background, the equal opportunity to gain the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life and in future education. Our geography topics are based on the fundamentals outlined within the Chris Quigley Essentials Curriculum which follows the National Curriculum (2014) and are designed to provide broad and balanced opportunities that are differentiated appropriately to ensure the progressive development of geographical concepts, knowledge and skills. Furthermore, we strive to promote an appetite and fascination about their planet that will carry them through future studies and provide all children with the skills and knowledge to understand and engage with both the human and physical aspects of life on Earth. The geography curriculum through the school is designed to build every year on children’s previous learning with each geography topic linking to and reinforcing understanding of our planet, its people and its environment.
To ensure high standards of teaching and learning in geography, we implement a curriculum that is progressive throughout the whole school and therefore designed to help the children to build upon and recall previous knowledge and skills in the long term. Geography is taught as a cornerstone of one of three topics in each year group; in addition to this, it is also taught as a smaller component within the other two topics. In both events, the content of the teaching is focused on the knowledge and skills stated in the National Curriculum.
The curriculum leader ensures that teachers’ subject knowledge is appropriate through regularly evaluating planning and outcomes from pupil conferencing and book/file scrutinises as well as discussions with colleagues. This results in the leader working closely with any member of staff who needs assistance or support with their subject knowledge and/or improving and adapting the curriculum where needed. The leader also provides pointers, ideas and relevant resource pools for all members of staff to ease workload and assist with planning and engagement with the subject knowledge they are being asked to teach.
As aforementioned, the geography curriculum at Larwood School is based upon the Chris Quigley curriculum, which provides a broad framework and outlines the knowledge and skills taught in each milestone. Teachers plan lessons for their classes using our sequencing document, matching each piece of knowledge to a lesson where the children’s understanding of their current topic area is built upon. Alongside this, teachers consider how to include transferable skills – such as reading fluency and numeracy skills (such as interpreting and creating graphs) – within their planning.
At our school, geography is challenging yet accessible to all – including SEN and gifted and talented children. We differentiate our lessons and activities to suit a range of abilities ensuring that all children can learn at a pace and level that is appropriate to their needs, whether that means extending and stretching gifted and talented children through the use of investigations, creating and then answering their own enquiry questions and writing extended pieces or scaffolding learning and providing more adult support for with children with additional needs.
Opportunities for geography learning take place both inside and outside the classroom at Larwood School. Every class books trips and organises fieldwork appropriate to their topic that sparks curiosity and engagement in the study of geography. As well as this, teachers are encouraged to plan fun, intriguing activities for their topics that take the children away from their desks and out of their classrooms. Each topic starts with a ‘Stunning Start’ that should pique the children’s interest and ends with a ‘Fantastic Finish’ that in some way shows off or demonstrates the children’s learning within the topic.
The geography curriculum at Larwood is of a high quality, well planned and demonstrates progression. The impact of this is measured through the following methods: assessing children’s understanding of topic vocabulary through pupil conferencing with the subject lead, images and videos of the children’s practical learning, moderation of children’s work within their books – ‘book scrutinises, staff meetings with an opportunity to scrutinise and discuss children’s progress and outcomes, marking of written work in books and annual reporting of standards across the geography curriculum. Children will leave Larwood School with a good understanding of the geography of the United Kingdom alongside the continents and countries of the world. They will also be able to talk with confidence about physical and human geography; their locality compared to others around the world; use both online and paper maps effectively; and sustainability including the climate crisis. This will give them a good foundation for their secondary learning alongside their understanding of the world around them and how people live across our planet.