The intent of our Geography curriculum is:
To inspire children’s curiosity and interest in the world and its people through thought provoking teaching and questioning. To equip children with geographical skills to develop their knowledge through studying places, people and natural and human environments.
At Birkbeck, we believe that Geography is a subject that contributes to children's sense of place and position within their local community as well as their wider national and international communities. As well as providing a unique opportunity to engage with the issues and circumstances facing different communities around the world, it also allows children to reflect on how the world directly around them works and functions and the vital role that geographical considerations play in decisions concerning these areas.
Our curriculum coverage posters provide information about which units are taught in which year groups and the order in which they are taught. You can view the Geography one below:
Our Geography curriculum has been written around the development of key concepts which become threads which are continually revisited throughout a child's journey through the school. This approach enables us to build new knowledge on top of existing knowledge and to therefore enable children to make meaningful connections because of their increased ability to retrieve the old to make sense of the new. You can read about how each of our key concepts are strategically developed below.
Below you can see the development of our key concept threads in grid form so that you can see how each one is progressed and developed as children move through the school.
Because of the nature of our curriculum, the knowledge we teach is planned in precise detail and you can read more about what we cover in each unit of work in the documents below.
Our approach also means that children are more confident and ready to apply their substantive knowledge to the discipline of geography itself when they have the opportunity to do so later on in their units of work each term. This work includes field work, giving children the opportunity to engage in real world geography and enrich their experience and understanding of the practical application of the subject.
You can read more about the content of each unit of work below.
The relationship between History and Geography
We believe that a full understanding of the key threads of our History curriculum is not possible without consideration of the Geographical influences on events throughout History. For example, the Romans' decision to come to Britain in the early part of the first century is crucial to developing children's understanding of cause and consequence. However, children must understand that part of the motivation for the invasion was the physical Geography of the British isles.
Because of this, while one unit of work per year group is driven entirely by Geography (and the other two by History,) some elements of the Geography curriculum are taught as part of units of work that are driven by History. We believe that sequencing our curriculum in this way allows children to not only develop disciplinary knowledge of both subjects but to also cultivate an understanding of the relationship between the two.
Every Geography lesson begins with a retrieval practice starter which has the aim of activating prior knowledge around the concept thread which the lesson to come is focused on.
Every lesson also includes clarification of any technical vocabulary to be used in the lesson. This always takes place before the main lesson content begins.
All Geography lessons are delivered in line with our principles of teaching and learning which are the same for all subjects. These are the principles that we believe underpin truly great teaching and learning. You can read about how these are applied to Geography lessons below:
We assess Geography once per term. Teachers assess children's body of work against a set of descriptors which match the threads of concept that our Geography curriculum is designed by. They also consider fieldwork which is an essential part of the Geography curriculum but is not one of our concept threads itself as we understand it to be a disciplinary activity in its own right and as such, it incommpases all of our concept threads at various times. As such, the curriculum is the model for progression that we follow and assess against. Assessment is reported to parents and carers every term at parents evening.