Geography

GEOGRAPHY POLICY

 

There are four main purposes to this policy:

The importance of geography to the curriculum

Geography does the following:

 

The aims of geography: 

The school aims to:

Entitlement and curriculum provision

In the Foundation Stage Geography is studied as part of the Area of Learning ‘Knowledge and Understanding of the World’. Children are encouraged to observe, identify and find out about differences between features of the local environment and to use appropriate vocabulary differentiate between them. They are also asked to find out about their environment and to talk about those features they like and dislike. Discussion about where they live, the houses they live in and their journey to school provide a starting point for geographical studies.

At Key Stage 1 pupils investigate Hartlepool and a contrasting locality in the UK or one overseas, to find out about the environment in both areas and the people who live and work there. They learn about the wider world in which they live and carry out simple geographical investigations inside and outside the classroom. Whilst doing this, they are encouraged to ask geographical questions about people, places and environments, and use geographical skills and resources such as maps and photographs.

At Key Stage 2 pupils investigate a variety of places and environments at different scales in the UK and abroad, including more detailed studies of the locality of Hartlepool and make links between it and different places in the world. They find out how people affect the environment and how they are affected by it. They carry out geographical enquiry inside and outside the classroom, ask geographical questions and use geographical skills and resources such as maps, atlases, aerial photographs and ICT.

The curriculum is broad and balanced and ensures that:

Teaching and learning

In line with the school’s teaching and learning policy, in geography teachers:

 

The Curriculum 

Medium-term planning has a clear focus that is based on enquiry. Key questions, which encourage pupils to describe, explain, predict and evaluate, form the main structure of each unit of work. Most planning focuses on real people, places and geographical issues.

Geography can be planned as part of a cross curricular theme or as a discrete subject theme. Its place in the overall planning framework can be seen in the Year 1 and Year 2 medium term planning overviews. There is an expectation that all the Geography skills outlined in the skills curriculum are covered at an appropriate level on an annual basis. QCA schemes of work have been used as a starting point to meet the needs of the school and its pupils’ interests.

Medium-term planning highlights the key skills for each theme, key questions and the activities that pupils will access to acquire those skills. There are regular opportunities within the curriculum to use atlases, maps and globes

 

Assessment and reporting

Assessment focuses on the skills elements of Geography, as contained in the skills curriculum overview.

Assessment is normally continuous with teachers making judgments about pupils’ learning on an ongoing basis in order to inform the next steps in learning for individuals and groups. Verbal feedback in lessons is critical to moving children forward, but some work is annotated with points about what pupils need to do in order to improve and concludes with simple targets for improvement. These assessments need to be done in the light of geographical skills.

During each theme teachers note those children who have either exceeded expectations or fallen below them. This is used to inform what is taught next and supports comments in the reports to parents.

Expectations

By the end of Key Stage 1, the performance of the great majority of the pupils should be within the range of levels 1 to 3. Most pupils are expected to achieve level 2.

By the end of Year 4, the performance of the great majority of pupils should be in the range of levels 1 to 4. Most pupils are expected to achieve level 3.

By the end of Key Stage 2, the performance of the great majority of the pupils should be within the range of levels 3 to 5. Most pupils are expected to achieve level 4.

Continuity and progression

Long-term planning ensures that pupils meet new knowledge, gain new understanding and develop new skills appropriately. In addition, it ensures that pupils have sufficient opportunities to revisit this learning from time to time. Long-term planning gradually extends the content, for example by increasing the number of places and environments studied and through increasing depth of study (moving from simple, concrete ideas centred on our locality to increasingly complex and abstract processes, patterns and relationships). There is also a change in emphasis from local, small scale studies to more distant, regional, national, continental and global scales.

Medium-term plans in Years 5 and 6 encourage pupils to draw on a widening range of geographical skills and apply them selectively, accurately and independently. Progression in fieldwork is achieved by expecting pupils to increase their precision in recording data and use sophisticated methods of data analysis, for example, by using ICT.

Inclusion

No pupils are excluded from geography. We ensure that all pupils take part in fieldwork and that, wherever possible, any individual needs, such as mobility, are tackled in planning. Generally, activities are differentiated in three levels: at a level that all pupils achieve; at a level that most pupils achieve; and at a level that only some achieve. Learning support assistants, where present, give support to pupils with special educational needs.

Organisation

Geography is taught in mixed ability classes and are usually taught by their class teacher, unless the subject is taught during the class teacher’s PPA time.

Learning resources

Resources are kept in the Geography section in the resource room. There are maps of various types and scales; atlases; globes; pictures; satellite images; aerial photographs; artefacts; posters; fieldwork sites; videos, CD ROMs.

The subject leader also keeps copies of ‘Primary Geographer’ for staff to refer to.

These resources are also supported by the central library resources.

Learning environment

Each classroom should focus on using display effectively, to exhibit pupils’ work. Whenever a unit of work is in progress, displays should include information useful to the pupils for their work. The key questions should be displayed alongside appropriate technical vocabulary.

Safe practice and out-of-school opportunities

All fieldwork within and outside of the school grounds is carried out in compliance with statutory requirements and recommendations laid out in the document “Health and Safety of Pupils on Educational Visits” DfEE 1998. Teachers must also take full account of guidance given by the Hartlepool LA.

Homework

Homework is provided in line with the whole-school policy. Very limited geography homework is completed. When it is required, this is usually in the form of research to support greater understanding of the unit of work. Sometimes a teacher may ask a child to complete a task at home, as an extension activity.

Role of parents and carers

Parents and carers have an important role to play in helping their pupils learn geography, discussing the pupils’ experiences in geography, linking these to the home and family environment and, where possible, increasing pupils’ contact with different places and environments.

 

The contribution of geography to other subjects in the curriculum

English

Work in geography provides opportunities for pupils to apply their language and literacy skills. These opportunities are identified in medium-term planning and teachers exploit them fully in lessons. At Key Stage 1 pupils are expected to extend their technical vocabulary; talk about what they see and read and communicate this in different ways. They are expected to look for similarities and differences and engage in finding out answers to questions about where and why. At Key Stage 2 pupils are expected to use technical vocabulary in their talk, reading and writing. They are expected to use the index of atlases in order to locate places. They apply their writing skills in reports and accounts for different audiences. They read fiction and non-fiction to find out about different places and apply their comprehension skills to drawing inferences and locating information which is particularly relevant to the work in hand. They use geographical language and draw maps and diagrams to communicate geographical information.

Maths

Geography provides an excellent context for mathematical investigations. In addition, many tasks in geography require numeracy skills such as collecting numerical information, data processing, data presentation. Pupils apply their numeracy skills in the use of grid references, distances and bearings in mapwork and analysis of data. Medium-term planning identifies clearly where links with maths should be made.

ICT

It is a statutory requirement to use ICT in geography work at Key Stage 2. Planning identifies where this should be included at Key Stage 2 and it includes opportunities where it might be included at Key Stage 1. ICT is used to help pupils find things out, explore things that they would not normally be able to do and analyse and present information in different ways. They apply their ICT skills in exploring the Internet, interrogating databases, locating information in CD-ROMs and videos, e-mails and the Internet

Science

Where relevant, links are made with aspects of science, especially in relation to environmental education, habitats, rocks and soils and knowledge and understanding of the world.

Spiritual development

Geography provides many rich opportunities for spiritual development, for example, to appreciate the beauty and scale of geographical features of the world in which we live, the influence of natural phenomena on our lives and in the lives of others. There are several opportunities included in the planning for pupils to discuss issues of ultimate concern, for example, the need for sustainable development and stewardship of the earth’s resources. In doing this they develop a respect for the environment.

Personal Social and Health Education

Personal development is encouraged through discussion of matters of personal concern relating to local, national and global environmental issues. Pupils are encouraged to express their own points of view and evaluate their own and others’ impact upon places, people and environments. They develop the skills of reflection, observation, analysis and questioning and, in doing so, develop respect for evidence and critically evaluate ideas that may or may not fit the evidence available. PSHE is fostered through activities which investigate the local area, for example how changes in transport locally have affected different groups of people. As a result, pupils develop empathy for other people and start to take into account the values and attitudes of other people and develop their own values and attitudes towards geographical issues. Geography contributes to cultural development by studies about places. Pupils find out about different traditions and activities of people in other places and explore the similarities and differences between their own culture and that of others.

Staff development and training opportunities

To develop staff confidence and competence in teaching geography:

Leadership and Management roles

The subject leader has the responsibility to take a lead in developing geography further across the school within the school’s improvement plan; monitoring the effectiveness of teaching and learning; and the use of resources. Teachers and educational support staff can expect informal support from the subject leader, support arising from the school improvement plan and identified in performance management and induction programmes.

How the subject is monitored and evaluated

All teachers are responsible for monitoring standards but the subject leader, under the direction of the headteacher, takes a lead in this. Monitoring activities are continuous and fall in with the subject co-ordinator’s action plan. In summary these are: the subject leader to analyse teachers’ medium term planning to monitor the coverage and balance of the curriculum planned; subject leader to monitor geography learnt – by interviewing pupils, looking at samples of work and/or by observing lessons; a staff meeting held to feed back to staff the results of the monitoring process and to decide on improvements needed in the teaching of geography; the subject leader to report to the governors on the results of the monitoring process.

 

Review

Governors are free to determine the renewal of this policy at any time, in line with changes in school systems or statutory guidance.