Geography and the National Curriculum
The stated purpose of the geography national curriculum is to ‘inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.’ The programme of study outlines the subject content for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, under four headings:
- locational knowledge
- place knowledge
- human and physical geography
- geographical skills and fieldwork
The programme of study has a strong focus on knowledge. Children are required to learn about the United Kingdom throughout the primary years and to develop their knowledge of major geographical features in other parts of the world. In Key Stage 2 children are required undertake studies of the human and physical geography of :
- a region of the UK
- a region in a European country
- a region within North or South America
In terms of skills, children in Key Stage 1 are required to learn how to read and make simple maps. More formal map work skills are specified in Key Stage 2, including the use of Ordnance Survey maps and four and six-grip references. Fieldwork and first – hand observation are identified as an element throughout the primary years.
Geography at Springfield
At Springfield, we believe that a high quality geography education should inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. We believe that there can be few things more fundamental than learning about the ‘earth as our home’. Geography, when taught well, should fascinate and inspire children and nourish curiosity. Geography also deepens understanding of many contemporary challenges – climate change, food security, energy choices. As a subject, it impacts upon every aspect of our children’s lives and plays a crucial role in developing caring and understanding citizens of tomorrow.
At Springfield we want children to realise that geography is ‘about them’, growing up in their world. We want to build on children’s interests and experiences but also find ways to challenge and excite them with content that might be beyond their immediate horizon. The National Curriculum sets out the core knowledge and understanding that all pupils should be expected to acquire in the course of their schooling. At Springfield we believe that a core curriculum is not all that pupils should be taught. Although we follow the national curriculum, we also go beyond what is set out. We use it as a springboard to broaden children’s knowledge of the world, to understand environmental issues, and to engage them in innovative and enjoyable learning that has relevance to their lives while challenging them to think about ‘real world’ issues.
Although we make meaningful links to other curriculum areas, we believe that children should see geography as a subject in its own right. When planning our curriculum, we have thought about its distinctive character as a discipline and ensured that we have woven the concepts that are fundamental to geographical thinking into our curriculum. Skills needed to be a geographer are taught progressively. Concepts are built upon and learning is revisited . Fieldwork is integrated into all topics and children’s locational knowledge is built on year on year.
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