Wistaston Academy endeavours to create a love for Geography for all children. Geography intends 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. Geography is, by nature, an investigative subject which develops an understanding of concepts, knowledge and skills. We believe that Geography helps to provoke and provide answers to questions about the physical and human features of the world. Lessons aim to promote children’s interest and understanding of diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. Our curriculum is designed to develop knowledge and skills that are progressive, as well as transferrable, throughout their time at Wistaston Academy and also to their future education and beyond.
We have designed our inclusive Geography curriculum based on the 2014 National Curriculum with the intent that our pupils will:
- Develop contextual knowledge of the location of globally significant places.
- Understand the processes that give rise to key physical and human geographical features of the world.
- Are confident in the geographical skills needed to: collect and analyse data gathered through fieldwork; interpret a range of sources of geographical information, including maps and globes; and communicate geographical information in a variety of ways.
Wistaston Academy encourages children to develop a great knowledge of the world, as well as understanding the importance of their place in it. If children are passionate about the world that they live in, perhaps one day they can be the ones who make a difference in it.
At Wistaston Academy, the progression of skills is set out in order to build and develop the following:
- Geographical knowledge: the UK and local area; the world and continents
- Geographical understanding: physical and human themes; understanding places and connections
- Geographical skills and enquiry: map and atlas work; fieldwork and investigation
Throughout their time in the Early Years Foundation Stage, children are introduced to the foundations of geographical skills and knowledge taught through Understanding the World: The World and Communication and Language: Speaking. Children learn about the features of different settings: school; houses; gardens; and places in their local area. They learn about and experience seasonal changes within the school setting and explore the features of their local area on learning walks. At this stage, we encourage the early development of geographical skills by using maps and globes to discover places in the United Kingdom and the North and South Pole.
In KS1, the Geography curriculum is taught through half-termly topics. At this stage, pupils begin to develop their knowledge about the world, the United Kingdom and their locality. They are taught basic subject-specific vocabulary relating to human and physical geography and continue to use geographical skills, including first-hand observation, to enhance their locational awareness. Children will begin to learn about the human and physical geographical features of the world and their importance. They will use both political and physical maps and globes to locate the Earth’s continents, oceans and the Equator. They will develop key geographical skills by studying maps and understanding how to read and follow them including their symbols. Locational knowledge will begin to develop at this stage as children continue to study their local area in great depth and will broaden their place knowledge by studying a coastal region of the UK and exploring its geographical features on an educational visit. Children will also develop their understanding of geographical similarities and differences in the world through comparing an area in the UK to a contrasting non-European country.
In KS2, the curriculum is taught through stand-alone lessons. Each year group from Years 3 to 6 teach three Geography topics per year. At this stage, pupils extend their knowledge and understanding beyond the local area to include the United Kingdom, Europe and North and South America. This includes the location and characteristics of a range of the world’s most significant human and physical features. Pupils develop their use of geographical knowledge, understanding and skills to enhance their locational and place knowledge. Children will understand the Earth better by studying 2D and 3D representations to identify the position and significance of lines of latitude and longitude. They will explore the concept of biomes and climate zones and will develop their understanding of coasts around the UK and the world. Children will study key topographical features of the world including earthquakes, volcanoes, rivers and mountains. Locational knowledge will be enhanced at this stage as children will study North and South America in depth. In Upper KS2, children’s geographical skills and understanding will continue to develop as they study changes and developments in the UK and the wider world. They will learn about global trade links, energy production, the oceans, climate change and how our world will look in the future.
Teacher knowledge, confidence and enthusiasm about Geography ensures that high quality lessons are planned throughout the school. Teachers plan engaging enrichment activities including fieldwork and educational visits to support learning and develop long term memory. Teaching ensures that pupils are able to make use of their prior learning and develop their geographical knowledge, understanding and skills throughout the key stages. The teaching of reading and vocabulary is prioritised in the subject with tiers 2 and 3 vocabulary being taught within each unit and reinforced throughout the year. Geography lessons throughout the school incorporate many cross-curricular links and activities: ICT is regularly used to support map work and compass skills; the Arts are embedded into lessons to encourage creativity; and Maths skills are developed through fieldwork and gathering data.
Through our enriched curriculum, children will acquire the key geographical knowledge, understanding and skills needed to prepare them for the next steps of their educational careers. Outcomes in books evidence a broad and balanced Geography curriculum and demonstrate children’s acquisition of identified key knowledge. Children review their successes in achieving the lesson objectives at the end of every session and are actively encouraged to identify their own target areas, with these being identified, shared and verified by teachers as necessary. Children also record what they have learned comparative to their starting points at the end of every topic which shows good progression across both key stages. Within the subject, children are reading at an age appropriate level to further develop their knowledge and understanding, leading to fluency, comprehension and enjoyment. Children will retain prior-learning and will continuously develop that knowledge throughout the school making connections between what they have previously learned and what they are currently learning.
As children progress throughout the school, they will develop a deep knowledge, understanding and appreciation of their local area and its place within the wider geographical context. Children will also become increasingly aware of important features of the world they live in. They will also develop enquiry skills to pursue their own interests within a topic and further questioning. Where applicable, enrichment activities and fieldwork will enhance children’s life skills, life experiences and cultural capital. As a result of this, pupil standards will be raised throughout the school and termly teacher assessments will show that most children will be working at the expected standard for Geography.