Engaging, exciting and empowering lifelong learners through a creative, mastery-based curriculum

Our curriculum is centred around developing the whole child: from their head, to their heart, to their hand.

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The characteristics of a geographer at East Farleigh:

  • An excellent knowledge of where places are and what they are like.

  • An excellent understanding of the ways in which places are interdependent and interconnected and how much human and physical environments are interrelated.

  • An extensive base of geographical knowledge and vocabulary.

  • Fluency in complex, geographical enquiry and the ability to apply questioning skills and use effective analytical and presentational techniques.

  • The ability to reach clear conclusions and develop a reasoned argument to explain findings.

  • Significant levels of originality, imagination or creativity as shown in interpretations and representations of the subject matter.

  • Highly developed and frequently utilised fieldwork and other geographical skills and techniques.

  • A passion for and commitment to the subject, and a real sense of curiosity to find out about the world and the people who live there.

  • The ability to express well-balanced opinions, rooted in very good knowledge and understanding about current and contemporary issues in society and the environment.

Curriculum Ambition: Geography

At East Farleigh, we believe that it is essential that children have a comprehensive understanding not only of the world but their local area. There are so many rich geographical opportunities right on our doorstep which can be explored by all children. The knowledge and understanding that is needed to become a competent geographer are developed through a mastery approach by revisiting topics in more depth in subsequent years. We actively encourage the children to take a creative approach when presenting their work through the use of learning journals.

Our ambition, is to develop enquiring and curious minds through a practical approach. We will engage and excite children by taking their geography learning outside of the classroom where possible; a field trip, exploring our local area or even our school grounds and through the use of technology to allow them to travel the world albeit in a virtual way. We have a broad depth of knowledge and expertise within our school community and we welcome outside speakers to share their expertise and experiences. As a result, children will not only learn from others but also from their own experiences which will empower them to become global lifelong learners.

Curriculum Design: Geography

The geography curriculum at East Farleigh is structured so that each year group studies a different area of geography. Geography is, by nature an investigative subject and our curriculum has been carefully sequenced to enable pupils to gradually widen their sense of scale from their immediate geography to the global. Key aspects of learning are taken from the National Curriculum and mapped across each year group with vocabulary banks that are specific to that individual year group.

The programme of study for geography encourages full immersion in a topic for one seasonal term each year; this provides children the opportunity to make connections, draw comparisons and develop a knowledge and understanding about places and people; resources in the environment; physical and human processes; formation and use of landscapes. We also want children to develop geographical skills: collecting and analysing data; using maps, globes, aerial photographs and digital mapping to name and identify countries, continents and oceans; and communicating information in a variety of ways across a range of subjects such as Art, D&T, Computing and Science. This approach aims to provide meaningful cross curricular, creative and tangible learning experiences that engage, excite and empower learners in their quest for mastery.

Our geography curriculum strives to promote British Values, build cultural capital and deepen children's spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, with great emphasis being placed upon not just learning about global and national geography but also finding those often locally forgotten places. It is through these opportunities that children will make discoveries that will stay with them for a lifetime.

Curriculum Concepts: Geography

There are three 'big ideas' that drive the teaching and learning of geography at East Farleigh, we know these as 'threshold concepts' and they include:

  • investigating places; understanding the geographical location of places and their physical and human features

  • investigating patterns; understanding the relationships between the physical features of places and the human activity within in them; the appreciation of how the world’s natural resources are used and transported.

  • Communicating geographically; understanding geographical representations, vocabulary and techniques.

In order to master the 'big ideas' of geography, and to secure deep learning over time, we revisit these regularly; this may be discreetly, through making connections with another subject, or explicitly, through a geography focussed topic.

When geography provides the vehicle for learning, seven 'knowledge categories' will be used to enable children to make strong connections between the aspect of geography they are studying (e.g. comparing rivers and mountains in the United Kingdom with those in America) as well as human aspects of geography and how these have changed over time (e.g. land use, transportation and the distribution of natural resources which is revisited from Year 2 to Year 6). We also recognise the importance of vocabulary to support pupils to articulate more complex ideas, and each milestone introduces a range of precise geographical vocabulary which is systematically taught as part of each topic.

Meeting Milestones: Geography

As part of our curriculum philosophy, built on around the concept of mastery and learning being a change to long-term memory, it is impossible to see impact in the short term. We do, however, use assessment based on deliberate practice. This means that we look at the practices taking place to determine whether they are appropriate, related to our goals and likely to produce results in the long run. We use comparative judgement in two ways: in the tasks we set (POP tasks) and in comparing a child's work over time. We also use lesson observations to see if the pedagogical style matches our depth expectations.

Investigate places

Milestone 1

  • Ask and answer geographical questions (such as: What is this place like? What or who will I see in this place? What do people do in this place?).

  • Identify the key features of a location in order to say whether it is a city, town, village, coastal or rural area.

  • Use world maps, atlases and globes to identify the United Kingdom and its countries, as well as the countries, continents and oceans studied.

  • Use simple fieldwork and observational skills to study the geography of the school and the key human and physical features of its surrounding environment.

  • Use aerial images and plan perspectives to recognise landmarks and basic physical features.

  • Name, locate and identify characteristics of the four countries and capital cities of the United Kingdom and its surrounding seas.

  • Name and locate the world’s continents and oceans.

Milestone 2

  • Ask and answer geographical questions about the physical and human characteristics of a location.

  • Explain own views about locations, giving reasons.

  • Use maps, atlases, globes and digital/computer mapping to locate countries and describe features.

  • Use fieldwork to observe and record the human and physical features in the local area using a range of methods including sketch maps, plans and graphs and digital technologies.

  • Use a range of resources to identify the key physical and human features of a location.

  • Name and locate counties and cities of the United Kingdom, geographical regions and their identifying human and physical characteristics, including hills, mountains, cities, rivers, key topographical features and land-use patterns; and understand how some of these aspects have changed over time.

  • Name and locate the countries of Europe and identify their main physical and human characteristics.

Milestone 3

  • Collect and analyse statistics and other information in order to draw clear conclusions about locations.

  • Identify and describe how the physical features affect the human activity within a location.

  • Use a range of geographical resources to give detailed descriptions and opinions of the characteristic features of a location.

  • Use different types of fieldwork sampling (random and systematic) to observe, measure and record the human and physical features in the local area. Record the results in a range of ways.

  • Analyse and give views on the effectiveness of different geographical representations of a location (such as aerial images compared with maps and topological maps - as in London’s Tube map).

  • Name and locate some of the countries and cities of the world and their identifying human and physical characteristics, including hills, mountains, rivers, key topographical features and land-use patterns; and understand how some of these aspects have changed over time.

  • Name and locate the countries of North and South America and identify their main physical and human characteristics.

Investigate patterns

Milestone 1

  • Understand geographical similarities and differences through studying the human and physical geography of a small area of the United Kingdom and of a contrasting non-European country.

  • Identify seasonal and daily weather patterns in the United Kingdom and the location of hot and cold areas of the world in relation to the Equator and the North and South Poles.

  • Identify land use around the school.

Milestone 2

  • Name and locate the Equator, Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere, the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, Arctic and Antarctic Circle and date time zones. Describe some of the characteristics of these geographical areas.

  • Describe geographical similarities and differences between countries.

  • Describe how the locality of the school has changed over time.

Milestone 3

  • Identify and describe the geographical significance of latitude, longitude, Equator, Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere, the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, Arctic and Antarctic Circle, and time zones (including day and night).

  • Understand some of the reasons for geographical similarities and differences between countries.

  • Describe how locations around the world are changing and explain some of the reasons for change.

  • Describe geographical diversity across the world.

  • Describe how countries and geographical regions are interconnected and interdependent.

Communicate geographically

Milestone 1

  • Use basic geographical vocabulary to refer to:

key physical features, including: beach, coast, forest, hill, mountain, ocean, river, soil, valley, vegetation and weather.

key human features, including: city, town, village, factory, farm, house, office and shop.

  • Use compass directions (north, south, east and west) and locational language (e.g. near and far) to describe the location of features and routes on a map.

  • Devise a simple map; and use and construct basic symbols in a key. Use simple grid references (A1, B1).

Milestone 2

  • Describe key aspects of:

physical geography, including: rivers, mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes and the water cycle.

human geography, including: settlements and land use.

  • Use the eight points of a compass, four-figure grid references, symbols and key to communicate knowledge of the United Kingdom and the wider world.

Milestone 3

  • Describe and understand key aspects of:

physical geography, including: climate zones, biomes and vegetation belts, rivers, mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes and the water cycle.

human geography, including: settlements, land use, economic activity including trade links, and the distribution of natural resources including energy, food, minerals, and water supplies.

  • Use the eight points of a compass, four-figure grid references, symbols and a key (that uses standard Ordnance Survey symbols) to communicate knowledge of the United Kingdom and the world.

  • Create maps of locations identifying patterns (such as: land use, climate zones, population densities, height of land).

End of year teacher assessments, which take into account engagement in lessons, quality of outcomes and results from any POP/ summative tasks, help to form a judgement about a child's attainment within the subject. These judgements are made in relation to a child's progress towards mastering biannual milestones against four essential threshold concepts (see above).

What do our pupils think?

Aspirations for the future

Pupils develop an understanding of how subjects and specific skills are linked to future jobs.

As a Geographer, you could become a:

  • Land surveyor

  • Forester

  • Marine Biologist

  • Weather Presenter

  • Tour Guide

For more careers, please visit First Careers

Disclaimer: This has been developed with reflection upon the National Curriculum (2014) and Chris Quigley’s Essential Curriculum.