Henry Cavendish Primary School

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Geography Curriculum Intent

  1. Our Geography curriculum is designed to be rigorous in teaching our children the subject-specific vocabulary they need to discuss, explain, reason about and share their learning about places and issues with a wide variety of audiences. We want the children to be confident and articulate in discussing climate change, sustainability, positive action for change and other issues that are vital in the world in which they will grow up.
  2. Our curriculum presents challenge, in the way the children have to think, the issues they are presented with and the expectations that they will find out their own answers to geographical questions. Although local area study is prominent across the school, from Year 2 onwards, the children learn about places outside of their own personal experiences.
  3. We want our children to love Geography, and be curious and inquisitive about the places and issues they learn about. There is breadth to the topics they study each year, depth to the learning which takes place, and every opportunity is explored to make the learning practical and hands-on. Our curriculum takes advantage of the fact that we are a London school.
  4. Our children’s geographical learning offers them opportunities to be creative in both the way they present it and the ways they devise to pursue their lines of enquiry in fieldwork.  We want the children to appreciate that Geography is a subject area where they can be creative.
  5. Our curriculum is designed to promote the key messages of global citizenship, sustainability and making choices with a positive environmental outcome from the earliest age. It is modern and forward-thinking in its outlook. As a RRS school, we want our children to be passionate about ensuring people can access their rights all around the world.
  6. Our Geography curriculum is coherently planned and sequenced towards cumulatively sufficient knowledge and skills for future learning.


Curriculum Implementation

  1. a) The Progression in Vocabulary sets out the vocabulary to be taught in Geography – this is displayed in the learning environment and taught explicitly in lessons, and also sent home on the Knowledge Organisers each half term.

b) Within their fieldwork, the children discuss and interact with members of the local community in increasingly sophisticated ways.

c) The children are taught to value debate and discussion around geographical issues, and it is seen as a development strength when they can explain and analyse different viewpoints about issues.  

d) Class Assemblies, one per term, give children opportunities to share geographical learning with an audience.  This is an opportunity to use the language they have learnt to a real audience.

  1. a) Our Geography Skills progression sets out the expectations for the skills which are taught in each year group – this ensures that the pitch of learning is progressive between year groups, and informs teachers’ planning.

b) Children are asked open-ended questions during lessons which challenge them to explore their understanding more deeply.

c) As they move through the school, the children are expected to make more decisions about how to pursue answers to geographical enquiry questions, e.g. what data they should collect, how they could present their findings clearly.

  1. a) Geography topics are taught in three half terms. There is breadth and balance to the topics studied as there are three distinct themes in the Curriculum: Local area/Fieldwork study, Contrasting Place overseas, and a Human/Physical Geography aspect. The children study one topic linked to each theme every year.

b) One topic per year is based around fieldwork and practical enquiry, which involves lots of out-of-classroom, hands-on learning.

c) Wherever possible, other topics are supplemented with educational visits or other enrichment experiences for the children.

d) A depth of knowledge is promoted through the use of Knowledge Organisers for topics – the ‘Big Ideas’ are the key ideas that run through the teaching sequence as a whole. The children are expected to learn the key facts and vocabulary from the Knowledge Organiser at home.

e) Geography learning supports the development of cross-curricular skills, e.g. using mathematics learning about measures to take accurate readings during fieldwork studies.

  1. a) At an age-appropriate level, the children are expected to choose how to present their findings from geographical enquiries.

b) Either within lessons or within English lessons, the children are provided with opportunities to write creatively, using their geographical learning as a stimulus.

c) Wherever possible, art or DT outcomes are linked to geographical learning in the half term’s Geography is being taught.

  1. a) At least one unit per year group has a focus on global citizenship or sustainability, from Key Stage 1 onwards.

b) Many of these are field work units, so the children have opportunities to take real action in their communities to help others make more sustainable choices.

c) Learning in wider school initiatives, like Global Goals and RRS schools, is explicitly linked to learning in Geography topics. These links are also promoted in assemblies throughout the school year.

  1. a) Topics are sequenced so that they are initially more based on the children’s immediate surroundings, to incorporate real-life experiences, whilst they are in KS1, and this focus gradually widens.

b) In KS2 there is diversity to the localities studied, so that, by the end of KS2, the children have built up knowledge about places in Asia, Africa, North America, South America and Europe, contributing to a well-rounded view of what places and cultures around the world are like.

c) ‘Big Ideas’ of topics are revisited when a new topic that builds upon them is introduced, so that children understand how they are building on what they have learnt before.

d) Field and map work skills are outlined in our detailed Skills Progression, and covered at an increasingly challenging pitch each year.