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Geography at St Mary's

'In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.' Genesis 1:1

Our Vision

At St Mary’s, we believe that a high-quality geography education should inspire a pupils’ curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. We believe it is important for children to learn about the world we live in, regardless of their age or stage of learning. Geography, when taught well, should engage pupils in their world, fascinate and inspire them in places and people. This dynamic subject highlights many contemporary issues – climate change, food security, migration. As a subject, it impacts upon every aspect of our children’s lives and plays a vital role in developing caring and understanding citizens for the future.

At St Mary’s, pupils learn that geography is about them, developing each child’s own identity and sense of place in the world. We want to build on pupils’ prior knowledge and experiences but also challenge and excite them about a world that lies beyond their immediate environment. Our chosen topics reflect the diversity and needs of our children: topics that take them beyond the school gates, across the UK and wider world so that, when they leave St Mary’s, they are excited about geography.

How we plan and teach Geography

Geography is taught as a subject in its own right, although, wherever possible, meaningful links are made across the curriculum. Geography skills are taught progressively across the school. Concepts are built upon, learning is revisited and children’s geographical skills and locational knowledge is built on each year.

Geography is taught in the first and second terms of the year. In the fifth and sixth term, geography skills and concepts are taught through more contemporary issues such as climate change and sustainability. Teachers are clear about what each year groups are learning and how this builds on prior learning. Teacher’s subject knowledge is developed through the expertise of organisations such as Digimaps and The Geographical Association.

Our curriculum ensures fieldwork is undertaken on a regular basis as engaging with the outside world, in meaningful contexts, managing risks, navigating real landscapes and collecting data for real purposes is important in the development of children’s geographical skills.

The core theme of ‘Community’ adds cohesiveness to our curriculum and is evident throughout each of the geography topics.

How we evaluate learning in Geography

The impact of our geography curriculum can be seen through the work in children’s books. Children are aware of the curriculum goal. They know what they are learning, how it builds on previous learning and what steps they are taking to achieve the goal. Assessment targets are clear and, at the end of each topic, children complete a final task so that teachers can evaluate whether a child is working at the expected standard and consider next steps.

Learning is continually revisited. At the start of each lesson, teachers recap on prior learning and, where appropriate, the core theme of community is used as part of a discussion to deepen children’s knowledge and understanding in the subject of geography.

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