At Malborough with South Huish Primary School we aim to promote a lifelong love for learning about the world, equipping children with the knowledge, skills and confidence necessary to enable them to contribute effectively in their rapidly changing world. High quality geography takes children beyond core knowledge, developing a sense of place and an appreciation and respect for life in other cultures and places. We strive to inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about people and places in our wonderful world, enabling them to recognise the importance of sustainable development for the future of mankind. Geography is… ‘a living, breathing subject, constantly adapting itself to change. It is dynamic and relevant…geography is a subject which holds the key to our future.’ (Michael Palin 2011).
We aim for pupils in Malborough with South Huish Primary School to display positive approaches to geography and develop attitudes that embrace challenge. We are constantly striving to improve outcomes for all our pupils and achieve the aims of the National Curriculum: Locational knowledge – Place knowledge – Human and physical geography – Geography skills and fieldwork. As a school we are committed to ensuring that children are able to recognise the importance of geography in the wider world and that they are also able to use their geographical skills and knowledge confidently in their lives in a range of different contexts. We intend to build knowledge, skills and understanding by revisiting at regular intervals and providing pupils with the opportunity to refresh and rehearse them through practise, consolidating and deepening at every age and stage.
The intention of teaching for mastery is to give all pupils (including those with SEND) access to equitable classrooms; classrooms where pupils can all participate and be influential, and classrooms where pupils are encouraged and supported to develop a deep connected and sustained understanding of the geography being explored.
A discursive approach
We are passionate that children should be encouraged to be active and equitable participants in geography lessons. Our intention is for pupils to feel valued as part of a geography community. Pupils feel comfortable to share their thinking and take part even when they feel unsure. Children are encouraged to question one another; agree and disagree by justifying their decisions and work together collaboratively.
Ethos and Growth Mindset
Depth of learning
Cultural capital is about preparing children with the essential knowledge and skills for what comes next. Through the exploration of new skills and experiences we help to nurture resilience, curiosity and creativity. Through this journey children develop new forms of cultural capital that makes a difference in individual mind-sets, which consequently shapes their future.
To ensure our intent works in our day to day classrooms we understand that our implementation needs to be:
“Good quality teaching takes into account all children in the class and plans small enough steps for the vast majority of children to achieve success with scaffolding and support, and for others to be challenged in the same concept to a greater depth of reasoning.” (EEF)
Planning follows the Curriculum Map and is in line with the National Curriculum Programme of Study for each year group. Curriculum coverage as well as depth of learning are key drivers for planning. We ensure carefully planned and clear progression of geographical knowledge and skills across KS1 and KS2. All pupils at Malborough with South Huish Primary School will be working on the same focus with different support provided to enable pupils to access the geography independently. Teaching is responsive and adaptable, with clear progression in steps between lessons that is driven from the children’s learning. Through reflective teaching the vast majority of each cohort will be moving through the content at broadly the same pace.
As a school, we have developed our understanding and use of a variety of pedagogical approaches that focus on how children learn. We believe that these approaches enhance and develop our approach to teaching. We are using the 10 principles of Instruction (Rosenshine) to underpin our planning; specifically carefully planning opportunities for retrieval through the use of carefully scaffolded questioning. We understand that with retrieval practise, regularly visiting areas already learnt before, helps to connect new ideas to ones that are already known. Knowledge organisers are used as a metacognitive tool, making the core knowledge and geographical vocabulary explicit for each topic, whilst developing cultural capital. They are used regularly for formative assessment strategies, including quizzing to help pupils boost their recall of core knowledge and facts.
Small step learning and mastery pedagogy
Pedagogy at Malborough with South Huish Primary school focuses on breaking down learning into small steps and utilising teaching for mastery techniques such as: Carefully chosen examples and representations to draw out the structure and essence of the concept, discussion in the form of mixed ability pairs, talk partners and whole class discussion, mini plenaries – small steps providing sufficient scaffold for all pupils to access, precision in the use of new vocabulary to further develop understanding as well as working alongside the interests and needs of the children in our cohort. Current research on retrieval practise and cognitive load theory are at the forefront of our planning process in these areas.
Questioning and AFL
Teachers will use questioning throughout geography lessons to elicit children’s understanding and promote and challenge children to deepen understanding of concepts. Questions should be precise and develop geographical thinking as well as develop the use of subject – specific vocabulary. Teachers will build opportunity for AFL into lessons and will use regular opportunities for discussion and use strategies to check and deepen their understanding.
Modelling, Discussion and Dialogue
Talk and high quality discussion is encouraged in all geography lessons. As teachers, we encourage children to: articulate their thinking, take responsibility for asking questions of others to clarify understanding, agree and disagree, justifying their thinking and responding in full sentences with the intention that everyone understands them.
Pupils behaving as geographers
There is an explicit focus on developing geographical enquiry skills and ‘working as a geographer’ in all lessons, which is reflected in the children’s books when they record their reflective comment ‘We are geographers because…’. High-level geographical concepts are used as a facilitating tool and are fundamental to structuring and supporting how pupils learn geography. These include: place, space, scale, interdependence, physical and human processes, environmental impact, sustainable development, cultural awareness and cultural diversity.
Challenges for Depth of Learning
Challenge focuses on breadth and depth of understanding and expects the children to apply their knowledge in challenging scenarios. Greater depth tasks are carefully planned for every lesson. Evidence of high attaining pupils being challenged will be evidenced in books.
Responsive Teaching and Feedback
In geography all work is expected to be marked. By studying the EEF document ‘A Marked Improvement’ the use of targets is used to make marking as specific and actionable as possible in order to increase pupil progress. Where necessary teachers will intervene immediately to enable pupils to make progress in their learning. Any intervention/ response from the teacher will be annotated in the child’s book and will consolidate their thinking or encourage them to make progress.
Where children are working significantly below the expected age related requirements of the curriculum scaffolding and targeted work takes place on a regular basis. These activities are planned by the teacher in discussion and collaboration with the SENDCO, parents and the TA working within the class. At Malborough with South Huish Primary School, we believe that it is important that all learners are taught within the classroom with their peers, where interventions are needed teachers and teaching assistants follow a bespoke evidence informed intervention. We also pre-teach children who are at risk of falling behind in certain areas, this develops curiosity and interest as well as gives these children confidence and practise in retrieval before they learn new materials. Each child with specific SEND difficulties will have targets that are agreed and monitored every half term to ensure progression.
Collaborative and Reflective CPD
We are fortunate at Malborough with South Huish Primary school to be part of The South Hams Federation of schools, which gives us an opportunity to reflect and collaborate on all curriculum drivers and keep up to date with current CPD, in addition to participating in external subject-specific continuing professional development.
The most effective way to find out what pupils understand about their geography will be to talk them.
Pupils really understand a geographical concept, idea or technique if they can:
• Describe it in their own words;
• Represent it in a variety of ways;
• Explain it to someone else;
• Make up their own examples (and non-examples) of it;
• See geographical connections between it and other facts or ideas;
• Recognise it in new situations and contexts;
• Make use of it in various ways, including in new situations
Through conversations with pupils we are also able to understand how they learn, if they are able to connect prior learning to the learning they are undertaking as well as investigating whether they understand why they are learning the key concepts and whether they know how they can be used in their future learning.
Effective monitoring and evaluation as well as informed and adaptable planning ensure progress is evident in all books for all learners. Progress can be seen week on week as a teaching sequence is delivered as well as over a whole unit, termly and over the course of the academic year. Timely ‘book looks’, cross federation moderation and learning walks review progress in relation to the progression of skills for each year group and guarantee consistency and high expectations are maintained.
The learning environment seeks to challenge, inspire and aid all learners at Malborough with South Huish Primary School. The working walls in each class showcase the curriculum being taught and the planned sequence of learning for the unit, reflecting active learning and pupil voice. The work on display celebrates the achievements of the learners and the progress they are making.
Recording in Books
The purpose of children recording in books is to allow teachers to measure whether pupils have understood the concept being taught and the level of depth to which they have understood it as well as allowing our children to deepen their understanding of the content by working individually, independently and at greater depth. Our books show a child’s journey through their learning.
We ensure carefully planned and clear progression of geographical knowledge and skills across KS1 and KS2. All planning is adaptable and reviewed in line with Assessment for Learning (AfL). Annotations and AfL monitor the progress for all learners in relation to the learning objectives.