'Geography is, in the broadest sense, an education for life and for living. Learning through geography – whether gained through formal learning or experientially through travel, fieldwork and expeditions – helps us all to be more socially and environmentally sensitive, better informed, and more responsible as citizens and employees.' Royal Geographical Society
At Gislingham, we believe that Geography plays a key role in preparing our pupils to become global citizens. We aim to develop pupils’ knowledge of our world and their place in it, strongly advocating that Geography should inspire curiosity and challenge stereotypes as pupils learn more about the diversity of people and places. Geography is, by nature, an investigative subject, and, as well as building a strong foundation of knowledge, our pupils are given the skills to become ‘Geographers’ with critical thinking, debate and questioning forming a key part of our curriculum. We ensure that skills are progressive so that pupils are well-prepared for the next stage of their education and life beyond the classroom. Our topic-based teaching of Geography ensures that links are made with other curriculum areas, deepening pupils’ understanding and providing relevant contexts for learning. Fieldwork forms a fundamental aspect of our curriculum and we value open-ended enquiry which allows children to develop their curiosity and a strong sense of place. Our aim is for each of our pupils to be fascinated by the world we live in, to understand how it is changing and to invest in how we create a sustainable future for the world and its people.
Geography is taught in blocks throughout the year, focusing on the knowledge and skills stated in the National Curriculum. Long term plans ensure pupils acquire content knowledge in an order that secures progression. Concrete experiences gained through fieldwork are used to support more abstract learning as pupils broaden their knowledge of a widening range of places. Teachers plan lessons for their class using our ‘progression of knowledge and skills document’ ensuring children are gradually building up a more complex set of skills.
We ensure that pupils are given the opportunity to build on their prior knowledge and make links with previous learning. A strong sense of place is developed for all pupils as they contribute new knowledge to a ‘map sack’ which physically moves up the school with the class, allowing collaborative revision of learning to occur regularly. A ‘zoom lens’ approach is taken to focus on new areas for learning, always making sure it is placed in context of what pupils already know. Our focus on provoking questions and using open-ended enquiry allows children to play an active role in the learning process and follow their own interests.
We make full use of the school grounds and the local area with opportunities for learning outside the classroom planned into our practice. Each Geography unit includes focused fieldwork which directly adds to pupils’ understanding of their Geography topic. Enrichment activities such as orienteering and a residential visit to a Field Study Centre are built into the curriculum alongside engagement in national events such as ‘Fairtrade Fortnight’ and ‘Refugee Week.’
Our curriculum ensures that our pupils will have developed the geographical knowledge and skills to help them explore, navigate and understand the world around them and their place in it. We ensure each of our pupils leaves their primary education as a ‘Geographer’ with the tools they need to succeed in the next stage of their education and beyond whilst giving them a passion for outdoor learning and a drive to make our world a fairer place.