The Purpose of studying Geography:
At SSMJ we follow the National Curriculum Programme of Study for Geography. Our Geography topics consider the children’s faith, which is at the centre of our curriculum, their interests, as well as the context of the local area. The Geography curriculum at SSMJ is carefully planned and structured to ensure that current learning is linked to previous learning and that the school’s approaches are informed by current pedagogy.
In line with the national curriculum 2014, the curriculum at SSMJ 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
- 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.
Geography is held in high regard at SSMJ. The teaching of Geography allows children to appreciate, understand and utilise the diverse culture, history and geography of our unique environment, which celebrates the schools’ own geography and the context of the local area. The Geography curriculum at SSMJ makes full use of resources within the immediate and wider local area, including the school field and garden, Clitheroe, local rivers and recycling centres. This enables children to develop a deep understanding of the rich Geography of their locality, making links, where possible, with our faith, which is at the heart of our curriculum.
Geography is taught in blocks throughout the year, so that children achieve depth in their learning. Teachers have identified the key knowledge and skills of each topic and consideration has been given to ensure progression across topics throughout each year group across the school. (See whole school Geography progression document.) By the end of year 6, children will have a knowledge and understanding beyond the local area to include the United Kingdom and Europe, North and South America. This will include the location and characteristics of a range of the world’s most significant human and physical features. They should develop their use of geographical knowledge, understanding and skills to enhance their locational and place knowledge.
Cross curricular outcomes in Geography are specifically planned for with strong links between the Science curriculum, English, Maths, Art, PSHE, R.E and ICT. Where possible teachers use texts to support their Geography study and use the website www.booksfortopics.com to support their planning. We encourage children 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 computing in geography lessons where this serves to enhance their learning. They engage in a wide variety of problem-solving activities. Wherever possible, we involve the children in applied geographical activities, for example research of a local environmental problem, or use of the Internet to investigate a current issue such as natural disasters.
Each year, we revisit Laudato Si’ to encourage children to consider how we can look after God’s creation. For we believe ‘The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.’ Psalm 24:1.
Geography also actively promotes speaking and listening skills. Teachers are encouraged to use discussion, drama and role play to explore Geographical issues. At the end of a Geography unit children answer the line of enquiry through a piece of writing. This could include presenting a report back to the rest of the class.
The local area is also fully utilised to achieve the desired outcomes with extensive opportunities for learning outside the classroom. This includes fieldwork in the school grounds including; observing the weather and measuring rainfall, litter art, using a compass in the local area, building river channels, visits to a local forest and observing the ever changing Clitheroe with new housing developments. Once a year the teachers also plan an ‘Around the World Week’ where the children will investigate and learn about another country. This week further promotes looking at and creating maps, learning about other cultures, trying world foods and investigating and researching famous artists/ sculptors from that country before creating their own. Further celebrating and appreciating diversity and promoting our social, moral and cultural values. Planning is in line with the national curriculum. Teachers’ lesson design is informed by national agencies e.g. through the school’s membership of the Geography Association. Consideration is given to provision for our most able children as well as support for SEND children in line with the school’s commitment to inclusion. Outcomes of work are regularly monitored to ensure that they reflect a sound understanding of the key identified knowledge. Within our knowledge-rich approach, there is a strong emphasis on people and the community of our localbarea.
The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) follows the ‘Development Matters in the EYFS’ guidance which aims for all children in reception to have an ‘Understanding of the World; people and communities, the world and technology’ by the end of the academic year. It is further supported by the Lancashire Document ‘EYFS: A Framework to Support Curriculum Planning’
Outcomes in Geography and Science books evidence a broad and balanced Geography curriculum and demonstrate the children’s acquisition of identified key knowledge. Children review the agreed successes at the end of every session and are actively encouraged to identify their own target areas, with support from their teachers. Children also record what they have learned comparative to their starting points at the end of every topic.
Emphasis is placed on analytical thinking and questioning which helps pupils curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Through this study, pupils learn to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. Our Geography curriculum also engages members of the community in children’s learning and provides positive role models from the community for children to learn from.