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What does Geography look like at Rosa Street?

At Rosa Street we believe that studying an effective geography curriculum will help to shape the future of our children, and generations that follow. We want our children to develop their own sense of place, in their immediate locality in Spennymoor, but to also have an insight into wider geography, and the complexities of the world around them. We want our children to make informed decisions about how their life choices affect the world, by studying essential topics, such as climate change and fair trade. We have developed a curriculum that is bespoke to Rosa Street, which allows children to discover the geography of their local area. We have also carefully planned a progression of knowledge and skills that will help children to understand the wider world, and how human and physical geography interact. We want children to develop an understanding of local, national, and international geography, and to understand how the geography of places has changed over time. This knowledge and understanding has been designed to support progression in learning from the EYFS right through to Year 6. We have also carefully thought out the geographical vocabulary that children should use and understand in different year groups; this too is progressive across the school.

We have developed cohesion across school by making sure our planning is closely aligned with The National Curriculum. As with history, we have used an enquiry-based model, so each year group has a question as the starting point of every sequence of learning. This ensures we have high-quality endpoints for our pupils, as they will be working towards answering the enquiry question and demonstrating their geographical knowledge throughout. We have used key ‘golden threads’ across year groups to make sure geographical coverage is robust. These are directly from the National Curriculum and are: Location Knowledge, Place Knowledge, Human and Physical Geography and Geographical Skills and Fieldwork. These, like the vocabulary, will be progressive, and children’s understanding of these key skills and concepts will deepen over time. We also cross-reference our planning documents with the latest Ofsted subject reviews, to make sure that our curriculum is in line with the latest guidance. We have developed knowledge organisers for each enquiry question; containing an overview of the sequence of learning, the ‘golden threads,’ relating to the skills and concepts, and key vocabulary. The organisers are available in each lesson, to help children throughout their learning, as an independent spelling and information tool.

We have woven the awards we have achieved at Rosa Steet into our curriculum and have made clear links on our cohesion plan to Rights Respecting Schools. We aim to empower our children by teaching them to become independent learners, so they can make their own informed choices. We have made links to Educate and Celebrate during all geographical studies. We always aim to show male and female role models and teach the importance of equal opportunities. Geography is also a fitting subject to promote and support our Eco School status, for example, we have a study of local weather patterns in Year 1, and a sustainability study in Year 5. We also have an invaluable opportunity through connections with our partnership schools in Kenya, Gran Canaria and Sri Lanka. Children will have the opportunity to visit, or to learn from someone who has visited, a place with contrasting geography to that of our locality, here in Britain.

Raising aspirations is a key focus when making curriculum choices at Rosa Street, as a high proportion of our children come from disadvantaged backgrounds. We have thought about the significant factors we will include, to help us with this aim. For example, children from Spennymoor need to understand how their town has evolved over time, as mining and industry declined, and land use and jobs adapted and changed over time. We will also endeavor to introduce children to career ideas and opportunities that are associated with geography, particularly at a time when climate change and environmental factors are so important in our children’s future. We want children to understand the opportunities in their local area, but also to know that the wider world is there to be explored.

Children’s understanding will be evidenced in a range of ways. Written work will be showcased in books, and photographs and spoken evidence will be put into class floor books. Videos and photographs will also be captured and saved as evidence of practical lessons, trips and spoken evidence. We have oracy links across our curriculum. We feel that spoken evidence is as important as written, as it gives equal opportunities, for children of all abilities, to demonstrate their geographical understanding. Because we have started each sequence of learning with an enquiry question, the lessons will be spent investigating and finding information that will help to form the answer. The endpoints for each sequence of learning are clear; children will be expected to demonstrate their geographical understanding, by answering the enquiry question. This could be in a range of forms, depending upon the task and the year group, which has been designed to be progressive across school. Pupils in Key Stage 2 will be expected to answer in detail, and to write at length to answer the question. There will also be an expectation of the accurate use of geographical vocabulary, and a detailed discussion, weighing up the information they have discovered.

As children reach the end of their time with us at Rosa Street, they will have a deep understanding of geographical skills and concepts and will have developed a sound geographical vocabulary. They will be able to talk about the different areas of the world they have studied, and take part in discussions, putting forward their own informed views. We have developed a curriculum that will help children to become geographers, and to develop ‘sticky’ knowledge that can be taken on into their next steps of learning. By taking responsibility for their own learning, and being able to make informed decisions, our children will be able to engage with the issues they are studying and remember what they have learned. They will develop a sense of place in Spennymoor, and in the world.