In EYFS and Key Stage One, the classes lay down the foundation of geographical skills by using familiar locations as a vehicle which can then be linked with any existing knowledge. The child-led theme of ‘Seasides’ in EYFS allows Year 1 to build on builds on a theme from EYFS but looks at local geography of seasides. Year 2 apply their knowledge of continents and oceans from the historical enquiring of ‘Flying’ in a cyclical pattern when they look at a non-European country, which links to our staff decision in Term 6 of using Geographical understanding to underpin other areas of the curriculum.
All KS1 classes carry a local area study:
Year 3: Plant sampling and land use outside the school grounds.
Year 4: Water quality in local streams. (Links made with surviving on board Sir Francis Drakes journey to the Caribbean islands- this also highlighted that we would need a second geographical enquiry after the history here.)
Year 5: Local environment litter study.
Year 6: A traffic study. Safe routes to school – independence on the roads linking to transition points at the end of the year on walking to secondary school which builds on road safety SMSC learning. A second geographical enquiry which explores comparative investigations into deforestation and the building on green belt land in the local area.
The above planning links back to the Pupil Voice Survey and the children’s wish to be much more practical in the geography classroom- we wanted field work studies which were relevant and familiar to children’s lives.
As a staff, we felt it was important to use resources to illustrate progression through the curriculum too. We reviewed our maps, atlas and compasses. For example, in map work progression: Key Stage 1 begin with drawn maps moving onto maps of the local area, country and county outline, with Lower Key Stage 2 utilising maps for orienteering work and using keys and the subject specific terminology of ordinance survey maps in Upper Key Stage 2. Our atlases consist of infant, junior, Key Stage 3 and ‘real’ atlases, to provide children with challenging vocabulary to explain geographical issues.
We looked at our own geographical knowledge, joining the Geography Association and signing up for webinar course on specific concepts being taught through the school. This will aid our understanding of the depth and breath of the enquiry being led in specific year groups. Our skills progression document breaks down the National Curriculum expectations into pupil ‘I can’ statements in order for pupils to be able to speak about their learning confidently. We also felt that geographical was an excellent opportunity to challenge worldwide stereotypes: when planning we made links to Global Learning P research that the school undertook eighteen months ago which was lead by our Inclusion Manager.