We are delighted to say that geography in primary schools in the 21st century is no longer about long lists of dry and boring facts, rather, at Lynch Hill, it is about understanding the world by: comparing locations; investigating; researching different sources; writing and talking about places; asking and answering questions. Geography plays a significant role in our school, helping pupils to understand their world, their role in it and the responsibilities that come with it.
Geography is, by nature, an investigative subject, which develops an understanding of concepts, knowledge and skills. Here, we seek to inspire in children a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people which will remain with them for the rest of their lives. We want to promote the children’s interest and understanding of diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes.
Our curriculum is knowledge rich and is designed to develop knowledge and skills that are progressive, as well as transferable, such as research, observation, measurement, recording and presentation. We intend for our Geography offer to be an offer for all, where necessary adaptions are planned and implemented so that all children are suitably challenged and can achieve. We teach geography to open up our pupils’ awareness to what is around them locally and globally and explore what connects us.
Geography is taught discretely in our school. Our children learn substantive knowledge including place knowledge, locational knowledge, human and physical and environmental knowledge and geographical skills. Children develop disciplinary knowledge so that they develop the habits of thinking geographically. Formal learning starts in EYFS where our children begin to acquire a wide range of vocabulary that they will build on through the rest of their schooling and develop a sense of place.
Our geography learning is underpinned by these core concepts: Place, space, scale, interdependence, physical and human processes, environmental impact, sustainable development, cultural awareness and cultural diversity. These concepts are important to our geography curriculum as they draw out links between units of work, year group and key stages. They encourage our pupils to divide up their geographical experiences into more manageable chunks.
Progression is clear, we start with looking at what is familiar to our children and building outwards. Children’s geographical learning starts with the familiar and slowly builds outwards, from London, to the UK, to Europe, North America and South America. Their understanding of how their local area fits into the wider world is therefore gradually built upon. Examples are carefully chosen in the curriculum to develop our pupils’ cultural capital. Children are taught to interpret a range of maps, develop spatial thinking and increase their understanding of how places are connected. Fieldwork is being introduced within some year groups to allow learning to take place outside the classroom. The organisation of the curriculum builds knowledge so that pupils can draw on it in future learning.
Learning is broken down into manageable chunks and each lesson addresses a range of key questions, enabling the children to remember the key content within lessons. Knowledge harvests take place at the beginning of each unit and are used to identify pupils’ prior knowledge, so that this can be built upon. Lessons provide ample opportunities for retrieval practice and incorporate ‘flashbacks’ to previous learning, which help to strengthen the connections the pupils are able to make. All learners are expected to access the same curriculum and learning is scaffolded to ensure that pupils are well supported.
Explicit vocabulary is included in all subjects. We believe that language skills and a development of oracy are integral to all elements of our curriculum. Alongside our geography curriculum, we have a selection of age-appropriate, high-quality texts for each unit of work to promote our love of reading and to expose the children to geographical scenarios, providing the children with opportunities to empathise and increase their vocabulary.
Lesson visits, discussions with pupils, informal assessments and outcomes in geography books demonstrate children’s acquisition of identified key knowledge and skills. Displays are used as working walls and map out the pupils’ learning journey, key vocabulary and lesson questions. They are used to reflect upon their learning and aid pupils' memories of the content that has been covered. As they progress through the school, they develop a deeper knowledge, understanding and appreciation of their local area and its place within the wider geographical context.
The units of study also promote clear links with our school values and our pupils are able to recognise the human impact on their local area and the wider world and consider what they can do, as global citizens, to make a more positive impact. Learning presentations showcase to a wider audience the children’s depth of understanding and how they are mastering subject specific vocabulary.
There is a consistent approach to feedback and assessment throughout the school. Knowledge checks at the end of each lesson ensure that the key learning for the lesson is recapped and can be used as an informative assessment. These are presented as low-stake quizzes. Children are able to demonstrate their knowledge through discussion, evidence in their books and assessment against key learning outcomes.
Knowledge organisers for each unit provide pupils and parents with the key vocabulary, knowledge and skills to be developed throughout the unit. These can be used to help the pupils to remember and apply their learning within lessons and reflect upon what they have learnt.
The impact of geography teaching at Lynch Hill is that we have helped to develop people with a strong sense of the world, their place in it and a sense of collective accountability.
Please follow this link to find out which areas of learning are being covered in each year group:
The key texts for each unit can be accessed here: