Improving the Geography Curriculum - one school at a time
We wanted to share how we’ve been working with schools to help them deliver primary geography which is National Curriculum compliant. Keep reading to find out more and learn how our resources also tie in to the new Ofsted framework (2019).
The Key to the National Curriculum has been developed in line with the Geography National Curriculum. Our new resources help unlock your KS1 and KS2 pupils’ potential with downloadable activities, PowerPoints and other resources (maps, teacher guidance notes) which are accessible from a unique USB key. The original eight units focus on teaching geography through real places, so that the locational knowledge, physical and human geography and the fieldwork skills are taught in a real context. The resources are designed to support the non-specialist geography teacher with their subject knowledge. To allow them to “provide high quality education that will inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world” as the children learn about “diverse places, people and natural and human environments.” (Geography National Curriculum 2014).
We have been working with many primary geography co-ordinators in the West Midlands on strengthening their primary geography curricula to ensure that their geography was compliant with the National Curriculum Key Stage requirements. Many schools seem to have been ‘teaching to the test’ with a narrowed curriculum. We have found that most areas of the geography were being addressed, but not necessarily in a coherent way. Often children did not realise that they were “doing” geography. In some schools geography had been relegated to a ‘tick-box’ exercise.
However, teachers can see the value of teaching their geography through a place which allows the children to build up their subject knowledge and skills rather than just briefly touch upon a series of unrelated attainment targets. As a basis teachers have been using the Keys to the National Curriculum:Geography units, which have gained two national awards - Highly Commended by the Geographical Association and the Teach Primary Geography Award (winners).
The original eight units ensure that teachers are compliant with the Geography National Curriculum in all aspects except for the need to investigate and understand the geography of their own school, its own environment and local area. Working with the geography leads in particular primary schools bespoke units have been developed. For example Peters Hill Primary in Dudley working with us has developed units at KS1 on My School, the School Grounds and the School Environment and at KS2 they have units on the Local Area. Further they have added units on The Global Citizen (for their Rights Respecting Agenda), Globally Significant Places, Geographical Information Systems and Fieldwork. To ensure progression in the subject, geography is taught each half-term.
Further developments include linking, where appropriate, history units (for example the Geography of My School is complimented by the History of My School) and linking their geography with their English texts (for example Michael Morpurgo’s popular book “Adolphus Tips” has been the focus for a unit on SW England).
This concentration on a subject ties in well with the new Ofsted framework (2019). This will raise the importance of subject knowledge and skills, requiring a progressive and well planned programme by those who have subject expertise. Distributed leadership will mean that Ofsted inspectors are liable to ask subject leaders (and children) about their geography provision and how it is implemented and assessed.
The Key to the National Curriculum; Geography series and bespoke options gives teachers a clear INTENT (a quality geography curriculum) and a means of IMPLEMENTATION and to date the IMPACT on children’s learning has been praised.
If you'd like to know more, please get in touch.