"The study of geography is about more than just memorising places on a map. It’s about understanding the complexity of our world, appreciating the diversity of cultures that exists across continents. And in the end, it’s about using all that knowledge to help bridge divides and bring people together." - President Barack Obama, 2012
What does Geography look like at Cubitt Town Primary School?
At Cubitt Town our geography curriculum is curated in an outward looking manner, placing our children’s lived experience within the wider world. We aim to compare the local to the global, covering geographical issues and themes within our own borough, city and country, alongside regular studies of other countries and regions around the world.
As with our curriculum more broadly, we want to engender the belief in our children that they have the capacity to shape the world in which they live, that they can be change makers. Children study a range of geographical issues both locally and globally, discuss these and identify ways in which people can effect change.
Oracy drives learning at Cubitt Town, and in geography we ensure that children are empowered to use their voice to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments and develop perspective and judgement. We want the study of geography to be as immersive as possible and take advantage of our location in London to undertake frequent educational visits to bring geography to life.
Our geography teaching starts in the Early Years where children explore the foundational geographical themes through the ‘Understanding of the World’ strand of the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum. As pupils progress, their growing knowledge about the world helps them to deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes.
Geography is taught in units throughout the academic year so that children can learn in depth. Geographical skills are developed year-on-year in a progressive manner, so that our children develop confidence with geographical themes and concepts, and develop their geographical skill set, as outlined in our geography progression overview.
At Cubitt Town, our learning is sequenced so that locational and place knowledge and understanding starts with the our school and its immediate environment in Nursery and Reception, then expands to our local area in Year 1, London in Year 2, the U.K. in Year 3 and then other continents in Year 4, 5 and 6.
This year we will launch our exciting new Cubitt Town Goes International project, each year group will study a continent and one of its countries in depth, learning the countries, capital cities and key facts; explore art, food and language from that part of the world; and celebrate our own global village with an international evening with our families.
Children’s geographical skills development and fieldwork starts from the Early Years with children observing their immediate surroundings and representing them using a range of materials, then in Year 1 and Year 2 children carry out simple observations and present data through tally charts and then in Key Stage 2, children begin to present data using a range of methods and devise their own fieldwork explorations.
Children explore sustainability as part of their geographical and scientific learning, to learn how the natural world has evolved, and consider the impact of human activity on nature to understand how our choices can make a difference.
Alongside the geographical skills, we also believe that there is a bank of geographical facts all our children should know prior to transition to secondary school. These are clearly documented in our geography curriculum progression overview. Geography units are sequenced so that each lesson builds upon the previous one.
Teachers are supported to ensure they have the subject knowledge and skills foundations they need for each unit and understand that each unit in every year group builds upon previous learning and how it feeds into future learning. Continuous professional development is given to staff across the school through for planning, team teaching, and ongoing CPD led by the geography subject lead.
We are an inclusive school, and we adapt the geography curriculum for our SEND pupils. Some of these adaptations include: use of visuals to support subject vocabulary; pre-labelled maps; and talk for geography with use of oracy tasks with sentence openers to support understanding; pre-teaching key facts and concepts, including through guided reading texts.
We assess children’s work in geography by making informal judgements as we observe lessons and mark children’s work. Regular oral recall of learnt knowledge is used to help understanding and retention, including a recap of the previous learning as the beginning activity of every lesson. Tests, quizzes and spoken accounts are used to assess children’s progress and retention. Children also recap and deepen their geographical knowledge through the use of geographical texts in guided reading sessions. An assessment is recorded in the pupils’ end of year report. Formative assessments are made against the end of key stage objectives.
The impact of our geography curriculum is monitored by our geography subject lead and school leaders using our annual monitoring cycle which evaluates history teaching and learning, outcomes, and pupil voice. These outcomes feed into action planning to continually evaluate and improve our teaching and learning in geography.
Monitoring and evaluation can include:
- a review of learning in children’s geography books
- ‘drop ins’ to lessons
- evaluation of the impact of staff professional development
- reviewing medium-term planning
- pupil voice.