All pupils at The Downley School are immersed in a carefully crafted Geography curriculum that is broad and balanced, deep and rich; relevant to life in modern Britain and our global community. This encourages all pupils to become resilient, lifelong learners whatever their starting point or ability.
Our Geography curriculum enables pupils to learn, grow and succeed together and is underpinned by our six values:
- Children will learn about the physical nature of Geography and will be encouraged to respect their local environment and the wider environment. They will learn that other cultures may have different uses and attitudes towards their environment.
- Children will understand the changes caused by nature and humans and how their actions can impact the environment and lives of others.
- Pupils are resilient learners and learn from their mistakes; they approach Geography with a growth mindset.
- Children will understand that sometimes there is no right or wrong answer in Geography.
- Pupils will have the opportunity to work as individuals, in pairs and groups on challenges and investigations.
- Pupils will work together on field studies of the local area.
- The geography curriculum covers a diverse range of countries, this will expose children to other ways of life. Children from other cultures are encouraged to share their experiences and knowledge with their classmates.
- A variety of visual, audio and kinaesthetic activities are used to appeal to all types of learners.
- Supportive resources are provided to aid learning.
- Children will have the opportunity to use equipment for field studies and will take responsibility for it.
- Pupils will be responsible for respecting the environment when they are out studying and will be able to transfer this respect to places they study that are further afield.
- Pupils will be encouraged to be curious and use their prior knowledge to form an opinion and to reason.
- Pupils will understand the responsibility they have as individuals and collectively as part of a population.
- Pupils will be encouraged to assess the reliability of sources they use.
Our high quality Geography curriculum has clear progression and learning is carefully sequenced, built on and revisited. Lessons are planned to deepen pupils’ knowledge and skills, for future learning and employment as a geographer.
At TDS we use the Kapow Geography scheme of work. Geography is taught for one hour a week for three half terms, alternating with History.
Clear progression of skills and knowledge is provided. Geographical key concepts are woven across all units rather than being taught discretely. The Kapow Primary scheme is a spiral curriculum, with essential knowledge and skills revisited with increasing complexity, allowing pupils to revise and build on their previous learning. Locational knowledge, in particular, will be reviewed in each unit to coincide with our belief that this will consolidate children’s understanding of key concepts, such as scale and place, in Geography. Cross-curricular links are included throughout each unit, allowing children to make connections and apply their Geography skills to other areas of learning. Enquiry based questions form the basis for Key stage 1 and 2 units, meaning that pupils gain a solid understanding of geographical knowledge and skills by applying them to answer enquiry questions. The questions have been designed to be open-ended with no preconceived answers and, therefore, they are genuinely purposeful and engage pupils in generating a real change. In attempting to answer them, children learn how to collect, interpret and represent data using geographical methodologies and make informed decisions by applying their geographical knowledge.
Fieldwork includes smaller opportunities on the school grounds for larger-scale visits to investigate physical and human features. Developing fieldwork skills within the school environment and revisiting them in multiple units enables pupils to consolidate their understanding of various methods. It also gives children the confidence to evaluate methodologies without always having to leave the school grounds and do so within the confines of a familiar place. This makes fieldwork regular and accessible while giving children a thorough understanding of their locality, providing a solid foundation when comparing it with other places. We have extensive ground at Downley which cover a variety of different habitats and uses.
Lessons incorporate various teaching strategies, from independent tasks to paired and group work, including practical hands-on, computer-based and collaborative tasks. This variety means that lessons are engaging and appeal to those with a variety of learning styles. Knowledge organisers for each unit support pupils in building a foundation of factual knowledge by encouraging recall of key facts and vocabulary.
An enquiry-based approach to learning allows teachers to assess children against the National curriculum expectations for Geography. Teachers use assessment to help learners embed and use knowledge fluently, to check understanding, address misconceptions, and inform teaching.
Each unit has a unit quiz and knowledge catcher, which can be used at the start or end of the unit to assess children’s understanding. Opportunities for children to present their findings using their geographical skills will also form part of the assessment process in each unit.
Pupils leave The Downley School with a deep understanding of the academic content of the Geography curriculum. They know more, remember more and can do more; they are prepared for their future aspirations as a geographer.
They understand that when we learn together, we grow together and succeed together.