Geography at Mab Lane
At Mab Lane we are geographers! We want our children to love geography. We want them to have no limits to what their ambitions are and grow up wanting to be cartographers, town planners, conservationists or weather forecasters. The geography curriculum promotes curiosity and a love for learning with our ‘Only the Best’ motto underpinning it. It is ambitious and empowers our children to become independent and resilient – like in all curriculum areas.
Bringing geography alive is important at Mab Lane Primary School. We want our children to remember their geography lessons in our school, to cherish these memories and embrace the geographic opportunities they are presented with!
We want to equip them with not only the minimum statutory requirements of the geography National Curriculum but to prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. To do this, we believe that it is important for the children to love learning both inside and outside the classroom. Educational visits are an extremely important part of our children’s learning and recently, pupils enjoyed a whole-school enrichment trip to Formby Beach. Here, children were able to develop their geographical and fieldwork skills through map work, and enjoyed learning about the physical environment.
We want to provide children learning and experiences that will link to their own lives and instil the idea that individually and together, they can make a difference to the future of our planet.
The geography curriculum has been carefully built and the learning opportunities and assessment milestones for each year group crafted to ensure progression and repetition in terms of embedding key learning, knowledge and skills. We believe that our pupils need to be actively involved in making sense of their learning and therefore an enquiry approach has been implemented, encouraging higher-order thinking and allowing our children to explore in a way that is meaningful to them.
As we believe pupil voice is extremely important throughout our curriculum, pupil interviews are regularly carried out. This ensures that our children know that their voices matter and that they have freedoms of expression and choices within their learning.
Within each year group, geography strands are revisited in a progressive manner. For example, when encouraging an understanding of places and connection, Year 1 focus on observing human and physical features within our local area. This understanding of our place in the world develops through the year groups through comparisons within the UK, Europe and the wider world and then in both Year 6 topics there is an emphasis on understanding how places across the world are interconnected and the position of Liverpool within that.
We empower our staff to organise their own year group curriculums under the guidance of our subject leaders. Teachers are best placed to make these judgements. Staff develop year group specific long-term curriculum maps which identify when the different subjects and topics will be taught across the academic year. The vast majority of subjects are taught discretely but staff make meaningful links across subjects. For example, in Year 3, when the children explore ‘Mountains, Volcanoes & Earthquakes’, links are made in English by creating an information text about volcanoes, as well as in Art when a volcano is created as part of their sculpture topic. This ensures that children are fully immersed in what they are learning in their geography topic. Other links to geography are continually made through activities such as ‘Big Write’ sessions about current geographical affairs like the world’s plastic problem and climate change.
As well as learning through our geography topics, recently, we have set up an Eco-Council with representatives from each year group. These children have completed an environmental review for our school and using the data from this review, have picked 3 topic areas that they feel our school can work on to become more eco-friendly. These decisions have been made entirely by our pupils and have been shared with our whole school to ensure a whole-school approach to striving for these goals.
We believe that by crafting our curriculum this way, we improve the potential for our children to retain what they have been taught, to alter their long-term memory and thus improve the rates of progress they make.
We use both formative and summative assessment information in every geography lesson. Staff use this information to inform their short-term planning and short-term interventions. This helps us provide the best possible support for all of our pupils, including the more able. Staff provide children with both verbal and written feedback after every lesson and ensure always to give the children a ‘next step’ to help them progress in their learning.
The assessment milestones for each phase have been carefully mapped out and further broken down for each year group. This means that skills in geography are progressive and build year on year.
Assessment information is collected frequently and analysed as part of our monitoring. This process provides an accurate and comprehensive understanding of the quality of education in geography. Monitoring in geography includes: book scrutinies, lesson observations and/or learning walks, pupil/parent and/or staff voice.
All of this information is gathered and reviewed. It is used to inform further curriculum developments and provision is adapted accordingly.