By the time our pupils leave the school, we hope that they will have a solid basis of geographical knowledge and understanding, relating to their local area of Crowthorne, the UK and the wider world. They should be able to use accurate vocabulary to describe and compare different features, including human and physical characteristics of geography.
Through enquiry questions, our geographers should use their thinking skills to make judgements and justify their ideas. We would like our pupils to be continuously developing their skills of verbal discussion, using understanding and sensitivity around subjects. As they move through the school, we would like pupils to be devising their own geographically valid questions and approaching fieldwork with increasing independence. Through fieldwork, they will be able to apply their practical skills of map reading and presenting their findings coherently.
We hope our pupils develop a genuine interest and curiosity about the world around them and the people in it.
At Oaklands Junior School, our Geography curriculum is designed to encourage curiosity about the world. Alongside the National Curriculum, we use a combination of teacher plans and the Connected Geography scheme to ensure progression of key skills and understanding. The teaching of Geography is blocked, with each year group covering at least 2 topics per academic year. Within these topics, children learn about local and global geography. This includes geographical features, such as rivers, mountains and rainforests as well as settlements and issues surrounding climate change.
The teaching of Geography at Oaklands is underpinned by four key strands of learning:
Locational and Place Knowledge
Across all Geography topics, our lessons build upon the Key Stage 1 knowledge of continents and oceans to expand children’s understanding and put places into a locational context. Starters for Geography lessons include retrieval practice of key knowledge. Occasionally, stand-alone lessons will be used to assess basic knowledge. Children are taught to distinguish between key human and physical characteristics of geography and note changes, contrast and similarities between areas.
Use of Resources and Equipment
Throughout Key Stage 2, children are exposed to Geography through a range of resources, including atlases, Ordnance Survey maps, photographs and written information. Some resources are supported by Connected Geography schemes. Children are taught how to use specific equipment, particularly when pertinent to fieldwork. Lessons also incorporate chances for the children to develop their map reading skills, examine sources of information and use these resources to reach conclusions.
During their time at Oaklands, children will have opportunities to carry out field work, particularly through school trips and exploration of the local area. This includes applying map reading skills in context, taking measurements, and making observations. Children are then supported to present and evaluate their findings. At Oaklands, we recognise that there are many more opportunities to carry out fieldwork and finding meaningful links between first-hand experiences and topics is a priority.
Evaluation and Enquiry
From fieldwork and application of skills, pupils are supported to communicate their findings, conclusions and opinions. The Connected Geography scheme enables children to learn through enquiry. Lessons are planned to incorporate the development of higher-level thinking skills which is in line with our Thinking Schools ethos. In lower school, children are guided through answering questions and reaching answers using relevant resources. By the time they reach Year 6, they are supported in asking their own geographically relevant questions.
Additional Geography Experiences at Oaklands
- River Pang trip (Y5)
- Osmington Bay trip (Y6)
- Ufton Court (Y4)
- Local walk (Y3)
- Living Rainforest (Y5)
At the end of Year 6, Oaklands Junior school children:
- Have gained a wealth of geographical knowledge to apply in a variety of contexts.
- Can use maps and atlases to locate countries and areas of interest.
- Can use and apply geographically accurate vocabulary to discuss features.
- Can use practical skills, such as map reading, in the context of fieldwork.
- Understand the value of their fieldwork and can present and evaluate their observations coherently.
- Are able to have discussions based on their knowledge, interpretation and judgements.
- Have been exposed to a variety of topics and intriguing areas of enquiry to support an enduring interest and curiosity about the world and their place within it.
For Geography, teachers use formative assessment to track pupil progress during each topic. Understanding and application can be seen through contributions to class, approaches to fieldwork, depth and detail of written work and knowledge surveys.
Children at Oaklands with Special Educational Needs are supported through differentiated tasks and adult support where needed.
Through pupil voice surveys, the children showed that they understood some of the reasons as to why Geography is important. Many children noted about the importance of knowing about places and how to get around. They also stated that they enjoy exploring maps and learning about different countries and places, with the rainforest (Year 5) being of particular interest.
Pupils at Oaklands have enjoyed opportunities for fieldwork and “adventuring” and have expressed an interest in more Geography work outside of the classroom.
“Personally, I would enjoy being more adventurous outdoors.” (previous Year 6 pupil).
The Geography Subject Lead is currently working with all teaching staff to develop meaningful fieldwork across the school. The aim is to have purposeful, engaging fieldwork opportunities which show a progression of skills across the school clearly.