- Mr J. Brown
From the moment we are born, it is our instinct to begin to explore the world around us with all our senses. At Milton Primary, we feel it is important to nurture and encourage this natural curiosity, to shape and direct it as our children become inquisitive, questioning learners who look closely at our environment and begin to interpret what they see. With this in mind, our geography curriculum aims to foster curiosity, prompt fascination and develop the next generation of explorers. The teaching and learning of geography therefore features significantly in many of our curriculum projects at Milton Primary, as we aim to instil an understanding of different cultures and make exploration a truly tantalising prospect.
Principles of Outstanding Geography
These are the ‘Principles of Outstanding Geography’ at Milton Primary Academy. They were devised and agreed by the children and staff in November 2019, informed by the way we feel that geography should be taught across the Academy.
Principle 1: Children are excited and enthusiastic about Geography and have a desire to explore the world around them.
Principle 2: Children understand and interpret local, national and global environments, making comparisons between them.
Principle 3: Children develop a knowledge and understanding of geography and they apply this confidently when questioning and investigating.
Principle 4: Teachers use a range of effective assessment strategies to inform the planning and teaching of geography.
Principle 5: Teachers introduce children to a range of geographical terminology, which they use confidently in their questions and answers.
Principle 6: Children and adults appreciate the awe and wonder of the natural world, making links to how, where and why it forms part of their everyday lives.
Principle 7: Children have opportunities to experience and conduct fieldwork in environments beyond their immediate locality.
Principle 8: Children use a wide range of primary and secondary sources, including ICT, to inform their developing understanding of the world around us.
Geography Subject Leader
My name is Mr Brown and I am the geography subject leader at Milton Primary Academy. I love nothing more than the great outdoors and truly believe that each of our children deserve the best possible opportunities to explore the world them, developing a secure understanding of what makes it so special. To do this, I am proud of the curriculum that we have developed at Milton Primary; not only is it relevant to the children in our care but it also allows them to travel the world from the comfort of their classrooms, and regular educational visits. For example, how amazing is it that children in Year 6 are able to take a virtual reality tour of the Amazon Rainforest, whilst those in Year 2 compare the searing heat in Ghana to the physical geography of our local area!
To foster a love of geography at Milton, we have taken the key content from the National Curriculum and considered how this may best be used to ensure exploration of the world around us and the identification of similarities and differences between our immediate environment and others around the world. To ensure seamless progression in geographical knowledge and skills, our project-based learning initially focusses on Milton and Stoke-on-Trent, the areas with which children are familiar. As they move through the academy, exploration then widens to include countries and continents as far away as Egypt and South America, and this gives me a great sense of pride as I see our children truly immerse themselves in their learning of other cultures and contexts.
As with any subject in our academy, we strive to ensure that our geography curriculum allows children to reach their full potential. To achieve this shared goal, I continually aim to develop my own practice and through participation in local networks, continue to pursue excellence and stimulate the children’s interest in our local, national and global environments.
At Milton Primary Academy we aim to provide a geography curriculum that is creative, inclusive, challenging and inspired by the real-world. It inspires future thinkers, innovators and problem solvers in an immersive environment that stimulates curiosity and supports high-quality learning, allowing each and every learner to fulfill their potential.
In the Early Years Foundation Stage, we teach geography through the Understanding the World strand of the Early Years Framework.
Ongoing experiences and opportunities linking to children’s developing understanding of the world are planned from the objectives set out in the Early Years Framework, which underpin the curriculum planning for children aged 3-5 at Milton Primary Academy.
The experiences that we provide ensure that children develop a secure understanding of the world around them. By the end of the Reception year, they will be able to:
- Identify similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things.
- Talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another.
- Explain why some things occur.
KS1 and KS2:
The Primary National Curriculum for Geography aims to ensure that all pupils:
- Develop contextual knowledge of the location of globally significant places – both terrestrial and marine – including their defining physical and human characteristics and how these provide a geographical context for understanding the actions of processes.
- Understand the processes that give rise to key physical and human geographical features of the world, how these are interdependent and how they bring about spatial variation and change over time
- Are competent in the geographical skills needed to:
- Collect, analyse and communicate with a range of data gathered through experiences of fieldwork that deepen their understanding of geographical processes.
- Interpret a range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes, aerial photographs and Geographical Information Systems (GIS).
- Communicate geographical information in a variety of ways, including through maps, numerical and quantitative skills and writing at length.
With this in mind, our programme of study for geography clearly sets out which matters, skills and process that pupils are expected to know, apply and understand at each point in the year for all groups.
Cross Curricular Links with Geography
Fundamentally, everyone’s experience of the world is cross curricular, as everything that surrounds us can be seen and understood from multiple perspectives. Our geography curriculum at Milton Primary therefore aims to take advantage of a range of opportunities for children to make links between different subject areas, supporting the use and application of what has already been taught and learned in new and different ways and providing opportunities for deep, meaningful learning.
English (inc. Reading): The ability to communicate and share ideas is underpinned by the ability to write, read, articulate and listen to others. To ensure that every child has the chance to access our geography curriculum, it is of paramount importance that these core skills feature prominently throughout each and every project that we complete. We start each project by introducing children to key terminology about the given area of study, before allowing them to ask questions that afford them the opportunity to lead their own learning. To immerse the children further, class texts are carefully chosen so that the children learn even more about the world during their English lessons, and have the opportunity to read, write and articulate their developing understanding.
In their classrooms, children also have a range of opportunities to read both for pleasure and to develop newfound knowledge, with a carefully selected range of both fiction and non-fiction texts, linked to each unit of learning, always accessible.
During the children’s project work, a range of writing opportunities are also planned for and these enable children to practice their skills in a range of different contexts; this gives the children a fantastic opportunity to showcase what they have learnt.
Mathematics: There are a range of different areas where mathematics skills can be applied to the children’s learning of the natural world. For example, children in Year 2 draw bar chats when comparing the temperature and rainfall in Ghana to that in Milton, whilst children in Year 4 deepen their understanding of geometry as they produce replica Roman mosaics. These opportunities allow the children to apply their mathematical knowledge to a range of real world contexts and to fully grasp how important maths is in the wider world.
Computing: The use of a range of digital technology is vital for our pupils to be able to explore the world without the need to travel thousands of miles by rail, road, air or sea. Children therefore have the opportunity to use iPads and laptops in a range of different ways, such as when taking photos, presenting data (using software such as Microsoft Excel), recording results, and researching using secondary sources, all of which ensure increased exposure to a range of geographical enquiries. One of the children’s favourite resources to use is Google Earth, as it offers them a fantastic insight into what the world looks like from above, and they love to zoom in and out as they explore new areas and environments.
SMSC and British Values: Opportunities for children to experience and understand SMSC and British Values can be found in many aspects of our geography curriculum at Milton Primary, no more so than when we reflect on the amazing wonders of our natural world. Specific examples of this include:
- Spiritual: In every lesson, children have opportunities to use evidence to make sense of the world around them. By gaining an understanding of the fact that every place is different, this allows our children to ask questions and find out about the hidden mysteries of the areas that we study!
- Moral: By gaining a greater understanding of the world around them, our children understand the importance of taking responsibility for our environment. For example, children in Year 6 have shown how devastating deforestation can be and our Academy Parliament have recently raised money to help those affected by the fires that destroyed parts of Australia in early 2020.
- Social: Throughout their learning of the world around us, we encourage children to ask questions of both themselves and one another. We wholeheartedly believe that the best geographers are collaborators; they share their ideas and challenge those shared by others, and it is this that helps ensure that our learning is both deep and meaningful.
- Cultural: Cultural diversity is what makes our world so special. By learning about different cultures and environments, we allow the children at Milton Primary to ask questions about the world around them and celebrate the things that make all who we are.
- British Values: Children are exposed to a range of fundamental British values though the teaching and learning of geography at Milton Primary. These include, but are not restricted to, the individual liberty to make choices and share their own opinions, the mutual respect required to discuss findings with others, and the rule of law associated with following safety rules when conducting fieldwork.
History: History and geography go hand-in-hand as they allow children to experience the world around us, and that as it was before. By teaching the children the history of different locations and localities, it allows them to talk about how environments can change over time. What’s more, when teaching history and geography together, we are able to make links between the complexities and challenges that the land posed, and continues to pose, both in the past and the present day.
Assessment in Geography
At Milton Primary Academy we all agree that the effective assessment of children’s learning helps us to ensure that each child makes good or better progress so that ‘Together We Achieve Our Best.’ This section therefore outlines the various assessment methods and practices that we use to monitor pupil progress and attainment in geography at Milton Primary, and also ensure that the activities that we plan for our children are suitably matched to their ability and level of development.
Formative Assessment (AfL): At the beginning of each project, the children are asked what they believe a range of subject specific vocabulary means and also to share any questions that they may have. This information is used by class teachers to inform the planning and teaching of each project, and again at the end of the project to ascertain how much new knowledge and vocabulary each child has learnt.
In every project lesson, the children are also given feedback to help them achieve their best. This may be in the form of written marking or through discussions with members of staff. What’s more, each term the children have the opportunity to partake in a one-to-one conference with their teacher, during which they are able to talk in detail about progress and attainment in all aspects of the curriculum.
Summative Assessment: By the end of each project, all of the children at Milton Primary should show an improved understanding of the National Curriculum content that has been taught and learned. In the front of their project book, children therefore have a ‘core knowledge overview’ and this is used to track their understanding of National Curriculum objectives.
Educational Visits and Enrichment
At Milton Primary Academy we place great emphasis on the importance of educational visits and visitors to enhance the teaching and learning of geography. These visits and visitors, which provide valuable opportunities for learning through first-hand experience, are therefore an integral part of the curriculum and allow our children to make valuable connections between what they have learned in class and their first hand experiences in the real-world.
Whole School Enrichment and Clubs: During their time at Milton, all pupils have access to extra-curricular clubs and enrichment opportunities that link to one or more aspects of the geography curriculum. These range from ‘Gardening Club’ to ‘Eco Club’, and this one in particular is led by our Academy Parliament.
To enrich our curriculum, we have also carefully chosen experiences that allow our children to enjoy hands-on activities linked to their projects. Children travel to Telford Exotic Zoo, where they hold a variety of animals from around the world; visit the seaside and play on the beach; see the meerkats at Peak Wildlife Park; learn about the journey of the cocoa bean at Cadbury World; and explore international landmarks at Tate Liverpool.
Fieldwork is also integral to geographical enquiry and in order to ensure that these skills are given a practical context, we offer 2 residential visits to our children throughout their time at our academy. At the beginning of Year 4, they are given the opportunity to visit Stanley Head for a two night stay. Here, they get to take part in a range of activities that ensure every child develops a love of their environment and that they love to explore. When they reach Year 5, we offer a 5 day residential to Kingswood Peak Venture, which is an amazing opportunity for children to develop these skills further and also conduct a river study, following a river’s journey from source to mouth; it is this trip in particular that is quite often our children’s favourite memory when they look back on their time at Milton.
At Milton Primary Academy we believe that the view of every pupil is important to ensure that we provide the best education possible. Here is a selection of pupil voice collected during the 2019/20 academic year, and in some cases, what we are doing / have done to improve the geography education that we provide.
Penelope in Reception said… “I liked learning about how cold it gets in other countries and we made some ice melt.”
Lennon in Year 1 said.. “I want to know about one country in lots of detail and learn who lives there.”
Lennon said it… we did it!! As a part of multicultural week at Milton, you will get the opportunity to explore a country in a lot more detail. We will give you an idea about what life is like there, how people live and what the environment is like. When you learn about the seaside at the end of the year, you will also have lots of opportunities to talk about how the seaside in England might be different to seasides around the world!
Charlie in Year 2 said… “I learnt lots from Mrs Dean when she came to tell us all about life in Ghana.”
Taylen in Year 3 said… “We have learnt lots about how Stoke-on-Trent has changed because of the pottery industry.”
Kayden in Year 4 said… “I would like to learn more about how to use a compass and how to use an atlas.”
Kayden said it… we did it!! As part of Year Four’s trip to Stanley Head, we have planned some amazing orienteering experiences to allow you to explore an unfamiliar area using a compass, OS map and six-figure grid references.
Freddie in Year 5 said… “I have enjoyed being able to use coordinates and I cannot wait to go to Kingswood to learn even more about the environment.”
Grace in Year 6 said… “I have really enjoyed being able to showcase my learning about the rainforest by creating a vlog, which is now on Facebook. Hopefully, we can stop deforestation.”
Please see below a selection of documents that relate to the intent, implementation, and impact of geography teaching and learning at Milton Primary Academy. If you require any additional information relating to this subject, then please contact the subject leader, Mr J. Brown, via the academy office (firstname.lastname@example.org).