Intent

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.

Many children would have missed opportunities for travel due to the pandemic. However, due to the restrictions, families have been becoming more familiar with their local area through regular walks. During our home learning provision, we planned activities, such as creating personal maps, which encouraged children to further explore the local area.

Implementation

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. A glossary of key terms that children are exposed to and use can be found in the appendices.

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.

Fieldwork

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)

Impact

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.

Next Steps

The Geography Subject Lead conducted surveys of teaching staff to measure teachers’ confidence with subject knowledge and resources available. A goal for this year is to obtain more quality resources to support map work.

As a school, our priorities in Geography are strengthening locational knowledge across the school and using fieldwork more effectively.

The knowledge surveys for each year group have been introduced this year to address gaps in pupils’ locational and place knowledge. For fieldwork, the teaching staff are working with the Subject Lead to find more meaningful links between their Geography topics and practical work. Within fieldwork, opportunities to apply observation skills, practise map reading and use varied resources will be a priority.