The geography curriculum at Swallownest has been carefully designed to ensure pupils develop a good understanding of the world around them and use this knowledge to become active and engaged citizens who care for the environment and cultures at varying scales: locally, nationally and globally. The curriculum equips pupils with key knowledge about the diverse world we live in, focusing on places, people and different environments and equips them with the tools to make links between these. To be well rounded and active citizens, we believe pupils need to understand the differences and interconnectedness between places and their cultures and be able to recognise how these change over time. Our curriculum ensures that there are carefully planned opportunities to help pupils understand this.
The curriculum progressively builds upon pupils’ previous knowledge starting with the pupils’ personal geography and their immediate locality, before branching out and examining the national and international world.
A geography module is taught in each term. The Autumn and Spring modules focus on gaining new substantive and disciplinary knowledge, enabling children to develop their fieldwork and mapping skills, and to gain and make links between knowledge and understanding of location, place, human and physical processes which has been carefully selected so that it is progressive and meets the needs of the National Curriculum. In the summer term, children undertake a geographical inquiry which enables them to put into practice the substantive and disciplinary knowledge they have gained and developed so far. The module focuses on the work of one of a diverse range of geographers who have taken action to improve their environment in response to global climate change. Taking inspiration from these individuals, children work collaboratively within an inquiry focussed teaching sequence to gather and interpret data locally, present findings and take an active role in improving our local environment in response to the same global challenges.
To ensure rigour, validity and challenge, a range of trusted sources are used to plan and deliver the geography curriculum:
- Geographical Association,
- Royal Geographical Society,
- Earth Heroes,
- Digimaps for Schools,
- Oxford School Atlases,
- Collins Primary Atlases,
- High-quality learning outside the classroom, e.g. Moorland Discovery Centre (National Trust), Weston Park Museum.
During FS, pupils explore the locational and positional understanding of their classroom and school developing key mapping skills in this environment. Towards the end of the summer term, FS2 explore the local community and complete a field trip to visit key places.
Learning in Key Stage One encourages pupils to develop a good understanding of what is special about Swallownest in terms of its weather, climate and built environment, Sheffield and the United Kingdom. Children explore the continents and oceans of our world and discover what life is like for school children in Bangladesh and people living in a suburb of Nairobi, Kenya whose scale is comparable to Swallownest
Key Stage Two builds upon this knowledge developing pupils’ understanding of a variety of places in the wider world, including Portugal & the Mediterranean, India, New Zealand, Canada and Mexico as well as locations closer to home. Pupils also develop their understanding of physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments, through topics such as living in a natural hazard zone, water processes and river processes, and settlements. Children learn about biomes and vegetation and about trade and natural resources within and between regions and countries.
At Swallownest, we seek to broaden pupils’ real-life experience both inside and outside school through high-quality educational visits and fieldwork projects in a variety of locations. Pupils have the opportunity to collect, analyse and communicate data gathered on these field trips to enhance their understanding as well as then comparing and contrasting the places they have learnt about. Throughout school, pupils are given the opportunities to develop their mapping skills and interpret a range of geographical sources, including maps at a range of scales and perspectives, diagrams, globes, atlases, aerial photographs, Geographical Information Systems and digital mapping (Google Earth and Digimaps).
Regular, lesson-by-lesson assessment and feedback is undertaken by teachers in all year groups and two assessment points are utilised in the year to check pupils’ understanding of key substantive and disciplinary knowledge. An ambitious, open-ended synoptic task is used whereby children can apply the knowledge they have developed in each module, phase and key stage to a challenging geographical task.
Swallownest learners are encouraged to be inquisitive to pose questions and seek answers. In each year group children work collaboratively to pose and answer geographical enquiry questions and design projects that encompass the knowledge they have acquired throughout the term, year, phase and key stage. We aim for geography at Swallownest to be creative, fun and above all be relevant and meaningful to the pupils’ own lives and experiences.