Our Geography curriculum is knowledge rich. This means the knowledge children will gain has been carefully specified, ordered coherently and builds over time. As children work through our geography curriculum they will know more, understand more about the world around them. A good geographical understanding relies on firm foundations of knowledge and skills. The skills our curriculum develops, like the knowledge, are specified, ordered coherently and progress over time. This curriculum structure helps pupils to deepen their understanding of physical and human geographical processes, fostering curiosity and fascination for the world we live in.
Approaching primary geography with a knowledge rich focus means that the knowledge children will be taught has been identified, in each year group, in each unit and in each lesson. As children work through the curriculum they will know more and understand more about their local area, the UK, Europe and the World. This rigorous approach, covering and going beyond the requirements of the National Curriculum, leaves nothing to chance, building geographical knowledge and understanding in a way that builds on children’s prior knowledge, allowing them to make meaningful connections and gain an understanding of how our world is connected.
Conceptual understanding is at the heart of our curriculum. Children will learn about key geographical concepts such as place, space, the environment and interconnection. Over time, working through an essential process of elaboration, children will add to their conceptual understanding with many examples of geographical knowledge in context. Children will become more skilled at answering questions such as; what is it like to live in this place? What are the challenges of this environment? How have people changed this landscape over time? Children will gain an understanding of what geographers do, what they look for and what they may say about a place. They will discover explorers such as Ibn Battuta, Roald Amundsen and Captain James Cook. They will look at the migration of both animals and people, studying the impact migration and colonialism had on places such as Australia and New Zealand.
Each year our geography curriculum begins with a ‘Spatial Sense’ unit that explicitly teaches geographical skills such as locating places on a map, positioning items on a map, using symbols in a key, interpreting scale, reading climate graphs, identifying locations using co-ordinates, interpreting population data, identifying elevation on relief maps and more. The spatial sense units for each year group are positioned at the beginning of the year to explicitly teach skills which will then be used in context throughout the rest of the year as children apply those skills to learn more about people, places and the environment. The spatial sense units build on prior knowledge before moving children on as the level of challenges increases from year to year. In Key Stage One the Spatial Sense units require children to undertake fieldwork and use observational skills to study the geography of their school and the surrounding environment. In Year 5 children will study a further unit on local geography where they undertake fieldwork to observe, record and present the human and physical features in the local area, focusing on an issue that the local area faces. The aim of the spatial sense units is to build children’s geographical literacy so that they are able to use an atlas, maps and geographical data with ease to answer questions they may have about the world. Rationale and National Curriculum Coverage
Every year children will study at least one unit of British geography. As with the rest of the geography curriculum, children’s knowledge and understanding of British geography builds incrementally from year to year. Beginning with general understanding of the countries of the UK, children then study units that focus more closely on areas of the UK including the South West, the South East, Yorkshire and Humberside, the Midlands and Northern Ireland. When studying these areas, children look at the defining physical and human characteristics of the regions, key topographical features such as hills, mountains, coasts and rivers, how the landscapes and environments have formed over time and how they are used today.
In years two, three and four, children will study units of European geography that introduce regions of Europe, climate, trade, industry, landmarks, physical features and contrasting environments. Children will interpret a range of geographical information including maps, diagrams and climate graphs. Comparisons will be made between places in Europe and the local area. Areas studied include Mediterranean Europe, Eastern Europe and Western Europe. Studying Europe in detail will not only help children to understand the people, places and environment in the regions, but will provide foundational knowledge for their studies in other subject areas, for example their studies of the Vikings in History.
Alongside their study of the UK and Europe, children will extend their knowledge beyond these regions to study world geography. When studying world geography, children will focus on places such as North and South America, Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific Islands. Applying their knowledge and understanding of the globe, latitude, longitude, the hemispheres and time zones, children will describe and understand physical geography of countries and continents including biomes, vegetation belts, rivers, mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes. They will consider a range of human geographical features such as settlements, land use, trade links and natural resources. At the end of the curriculum, in the summer term of Year 6, children will study globalisation, a unit that requires children to apply knowledge from the geography curriculum they have studied throughout their primary education. Children will use data from around the world, including from Geographical Information Systems, to understand social, economic and political globalisation. Children will have many opportunities to reflect upon the advantages and challenges globalisation brings and will consider the importance of sustainability and equity in relation to human interactions with the physical world.
Our history curriculum has been designed to be both knowledge-rich and coherently sequenced. Knowledge, in the realm of history, means not only substantive knowledge of historical events, dates and people in the past, but also knowledge of substantive concepts in history (such as ‘empire’, ‘monarchy’ and ‘civil war’), and disciplinary historical concepts (such as evidence, causation, significance and interpretation).
Our history curriculum allows children to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of local, British and world history. The substantive knowledge taught in the curriculum has been carefully chosen and sequenced using a largely chronological approach. Each unit of work should not be viewed as a stand-alone topic, but as a chapter in the story of the history of Britain and the wider world. In this sense, the chronological approach provides a solid framework, anchoring each unit within a wider narrative. Understanding in history requires an understanding of causation. Children will be able to understand the causes of significant national and global events, (such as World War I), when they have some background knowledge of what happened before (such as the origins and growth of European empires, including the British Empire).
Knowledge of substantive concepts and disciplinary concepts have been interleaved across the curriculum, allowing children to encounter and apply these in different contexts. From year to year, unit to unit, lesson to lesson, the curriculum supports children in making connections and building upon prior substantive and disciplinary knowledge. For example, the children develop a secure understanding of ‘monarchy’ in Britain. They begin to learn about British monarchs in Year 1, and build upon their knowledge of monarchy in British society throughout the curriculum, looking at the reigns of significant monarchs such as Henry II, Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I, with a focus on understanding the transition from the autocratic and unlimited power of early monarchs to the limited constitutional role of contemporary British monarchs. Each British history unit allows children to add to their understanding of ‘monarchy’ in Britain, the impact it had on the lives of the British people, and analyse the significance and legacy of each monarch.
Our history curriculum is balanced to enable children to look in some depth at local, national and world history, encouraging children to explore the connection between significant events and people and how they have influenced the modern world. The content in the curriculum ensures children have a secure overview of a period, before studying aspects in more depth. While many of the units are 6 weeks long, some units are longer, ensuring children secure the complexities of the content and have more time to study the period in more detail.
Each year, the children will study at least one unit of British history, looking at significant ‘turning points’ that help children understand modern Britain (for example, the sealing of the Magna Carta in 1215, the ‘break with Rome’ during the reign of Henry VIII, the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688 and the building of the British Empire). While time is spent developing a solid understanding of the political context of each period (usually first), children will then embark on studying a wide range of contexts in more depth, including the cultural, social and religious context of the time. Rationale and National Curriculum Coverage For example, when the children learn about the Victorians in Year 5, they look at Queen Victoria as a monarch, the British Empire during her reign and legal reforms, before using sources to understand how the political context affected the lives of ordinary Victorian people in Britain. During this unit, as with many of the British history units, teachers are encouraged to apply the local context, making each unit unique and allowing children to place local stories within the grand narrative of British history.
Our curriculum aims to help children understand how the past is constructed and contested. Children begin by learning about what a historian does, looking at basic sources and simplified perspectives to develop an appreciation and understanding of what it means to be a historian. As their substantive knowledge grows, children will be able to ask perceptive questions, analyse more complex sources and begin to use their knowledge to develop perspective. Disciplinary concepts, such as continuity and change, cause and consequence and similarity, difference and significance, are explored in every unit, and children are supported to think outside of their current unit of work and apply these concepts across the curriculum.
In addition to learning about British and local history, the children will also learn about the history of the wider world. Some of these units, such as the units on The Early British Empire and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, will look at the influence that Britain had on the wider world, and how the wider world has influenced Britain. All of these units are studied to provide an understanding of the history of the wider world and our place within it. They cover fascinating ancient civilisations, the expansion and dissolutions of empires, and the achievements and atrocities committed by humankind across the ages.
Our curriculum aims to ignite children’s love for history, preparing them with essential knowledge for Key Stage 3 and beyond. All history is worth studying, but as we do not have the time to cover everything, the units have been carefully chosen to cover as wide ranging content as possible without compromising depth. From ancient civilisations and prehistoric Britain to the Cold War and the Civil Rights Movement; looking at law and power across the ages to the impacts of industrialisation and technological advances; understanding invasion and migration, exploitation and political movements for freedom and equality. The curriculum aims to introduce the children to a wide variety of men, women and children from the past; from the widely venerated, to the lives of the less well-known who offer us a rich insight into life at the time- from Aristotle to Martin Luther King, from Emmeline Pankhurst to Alan Turning.