Merton Bank Primary School

'Never less than our best'

School Roper Street, St. Helens, Merseyside, WA9 1EJ

0174422104

mertonbank@sthelens.org.uk

GEOGRAPHY

Caring          Respect          Empathy          Courage          Resilience 

History Subject Leaders: Mrs Richardson and Mrs Chuard

Geography

Intent

At Merton Bank, we ensure that all children are provided with the opportunity to reach their full potential, within a positive and nurturing environment. Through an engaging and challenging geography curriculum we aim to encourage children to become motivated and resilient learners who are never less than their best. The children undertake a broad and balanced programme of study that takes account of abilities, attitudes and physical, emotional and intellectual development.

This policy reflects Merton Bank Primary School’s values and philosophy in relation to the teaching and learning of geography. It sets out a framework within which teaching and non-teaching staff can work, and gives guidance on planning, teaching and assessment. Through geography the children learn and develop a range of skills, concepts, attitudes and methods of working.

 

During Geography lessons, within Merton Bank, we aim to implement the following:

  • To stimulate children’s interest in their surroundings and develop a knowledge and understanding of the physical and human processes which shape places.
  • To increase children’s knowledge of other cultures and, in doing so, teach a respect and understanding of what it means to be a positive citizen in a multi-cultural country.
  • To provide learning opportunities that enthuse, engage, and motivate children to learn and foster a sense of curiosity and wonder at the beauty of the world around them.
  • To encourage in children a commitment to sustainable development and an appreciation of what ‘global citizenship’ means.
  • To make sense of their own surroundings through learning about their own locality and the interaction between people and the environment.
  • To develop the geographical skills, including how to use, draw and interpret maps of different scales, and the vocabulary necessary to carry out effective geographical enquiry.
  • To be able to apply map reading skills to globes and atlas maps and identify geographical features.
  • To formulate appropriate questions, develop research skills and evaluate material to inform opinions.
  • To enable children to work geographically in a range of appropriate contexts, using a variety of materials and equipment including other people’s experiences and knowledge.

 

Implementation

The before mentioned aims are always considered closely during the planning process for geography across school. At Merton Bank we use the Collins Primary Connected Geography scheme. Teachers plan from a long-term overview, which provides focused, enquiry-based skills questions related to a particular area of geography. When exploring these questions, teachers plan meaningful learning experiences carefully based around age related geography objectives and ancillary questions which correspond to the four strands of learning; locational knowledge, place knowledge, human and physical geography and geographical skills and field work.

 

Geography knowledge and skills will often be taught in a cross-curricular context, enabling children to make links between their skills, knowledge and understanding across a range of subjects. Knowledge Organisers will be stuck in books for the children to refer to throughout each topic. The activities planned for in geography build upon the prior learning of the children. We provide children of all abilities the opportunity to develop their skills, knowledge and understanding, thereby ensuring continuity and progression as they move up through the school. SEND children will access their current year group objectives where appropriate but, on occasion, may be taught prior objectives from a previous year group in order to ensure a secure foundation of knowledge and understanding.

At Merton Bank, assessment is an integral part of the teaching process. Assessment is used to inform planning and to facilitate differentiation. The assessment of children’s work is on-going and responsive to ensure progress is made by all. It is not anticipated that every learning outcome will be assessed in every enquiry but it is recommended that teachers select a sample of outcomes to assess in each enquiry to build up a developing picture of how the pupil is progressing as a young geographer. The focus should be on whether the pupil has shown that they have been able to, identify; describe; compare and contrast; explain; make a judgement or evaluate and record. Feedback is provided to children in a timely fashion and work is marked in accordance with the school’s marking policy; this affords children the opportunity to engage in meaningful dialogue with their teacher about their learning.

 

The role of the geography subject leader is to monitor and support colleagues in the teaching of geography; in order to do so they must be informed about current developments in the subject and provide strategic lead and direction for the subject across school.

Monitoring takes place regularly through bi-annual book scrutinies and lesson observations undertaken by the subject leader. Feedback is given to relevant staff members in a timely and constructive fashion in order to continually improve the teaching of geography at Merton Bank. Furthermore, pupil and staff voice are also taken into consideration via informal bi-annual interviews which enable the subject leader to gain further insight into the impact and quality of geography teaching across school.

 

Impact

By the end of each key stage, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the relevant programmes of study, taken from the national curriculum. The ongoing use of formative assessment strategies will inform the teacher’s planning and will identify any gaps in knowledge.

Through the teaching of the Geography curriculum, pupils at Merton Bank Primary School are enabled to:

  • collect, analyse and communicate with a range of data gathered through experiences of fieldwork that deepen their understanding of geographical processes
  • interpret a range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes, aerial photographs and Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
  • communicate geographical information in a variety of ways, including through maps, numerical and quantitative skills and writing at length.

 

We love maps!

Maps can be found in every classroom in Merton Bank - a map is every Geographer’s most important tool! Maps help students to access geographical ideas and develop spatial thinking. Understanding maps is an important life skill, not just to aid navigation but to understand the world and how maps can present a particular worldview. Many students learn best when accessing data and information that is presented visually – and in geography this can be a map.

Maps can spark curiosity and it has been proven that children are remarkably adept at making maps and appear to develop the spatial awareness required from an early age. Maps are popular with the children of Merton Bank. They maintain their appeal as an intriguing form of communication that offers our children opportunities for systematic learning as well as for imagination and fantasy. Map reading and interpretation, at whatever level, are readily seen by children as skills worth having

Here at Merton Bank, we access Maps in paper form, through Google Earth and create our own maps through drawings, model making and practical activities. We are very aware that on an average day, we will all consult maps dozens of times without even realising! We may: check the A-Z, the road atlas or the sat nav, scan the tube or bus map, conduct a Google online search, watch the weather forecast, plan a walk or a trip, catch up on the news, book a holiday or hotel.

The children at Merton Bank are becoming aware that Maps are everywhere and pepper books, brochures, advertisements, web pages, newspapers and magazine articles and we barely notice them because they do their job so well!

Our Big Question

Within each classroom at Merton Bank, we have a ‘Our Big Question’! Each unit of History has a specific point of discussion surrounding a question on our topic. The children have to vote as to whether they ‘agree’ (YES) ‘disagree’ (NO) or are ‘unsure’ (I DON’T KNOW) about the question up for discussion which fuels so much debate, enthusiasm and chatter about their learning!