At Great Missenden we believe Geography to be an essential part of the curriculum that should inspire in our pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people. 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. We want our children to use our local area, surrounded by the Chiltern Hills, to learn about landscapes, human interaction with physical features and to appreciate what we have. We aim to decolonise our curriculum by providing pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments. Together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes, we want every child to leave Great Missenden with a sense of awe and wonder.
In September 2020, we introduced the 'We Are Curriculum.' It has been built around a question based approach to learning, links to key concepts and the discrete teaching of foundation subjects. We use carefully planned cold and hot tasks to highlight progression and use cumulative quizzing to embed key learning, knowledge and skills. We want every child to leave Great Missenden 'Knowing more and remembering more.'
We believe that our pupils need to be actively involved in the learning journey. We use double page spreads to allow children to contextualise prior learning and display it in a way that is meaningful to them.
We empower our staff to organise their own year group curriculums under the guidance of our 'We Are Curriculum' lead. Teachers are best placed to make these judgements and plan a wide variety of creative, immersive and thought provoking lessons. Geography is taught discretely but staff make meaningful links across subjects. They link prior knowledge to new learning to deepen children’s learning.
Geography is taught for at least two hours per week. This helps to ensure sufficient time is allocated to explore specific knowledge and geographic subject matter can be revisited frequently. 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.
Having a sense of identity and community are important aspects of the geography curriculum and, with community being one of Great Missenden’s school values, we strive to provide numerous opportunities for the children to develop their links with and understanding of their local community, including regular visits to Abbeyfield, to St Peter & St Paul’s Church and involvement in village events such as the annual Great Missenden Christmas Festival. Respect is another of our school’s key values. The understanding of and respect for the social, cultural, religious and ethnic diversity of their own country and the wider world is further developed through collective worship, RE and our PSHE curriculum.
As a Green Flag Eco-School, knowledge and understanding of environmental issues and the children’s sense of responsibility for caring for the environment is further developed through activities and initiatives led by our eco-warriors.
To truly understand the impact of our geography curriculum, you have to come and see us!
To measure the impact, we have clear end points identified using termly assessment statements. Staff are therefore fully aware of the expectations of all children. We use formative assessment in every geography lesson. This information can then be used to inform their short-term planning and short-term 'Keep up not catch up.' To measure progress, we use cold and hot tasks where they complete the same activity at the start and end of the unit of work (see picture 1 below).
The pupils of Great Missenden are Geographers. They enjoy exploring the world's seven continents and how landforms came to be. They are passionate when celebrating diverse cultures from around the world and can be relied upon to share their views and opinions on global issues.
Pupil Voice Impact Analysis
Year 1: "Geography is so much fun. We get to walk around the town using maps."
Year 2: "Geography is learning about places all over the world. We've been looking at India and how we are the same and how we are different."
Year 3: "Geography is definitely one of my favourite subjects. I didn't know much about rivers before. I now know loads!"
Year 4: "We are currently learning about the Rainforest. Did you know the Amazon rainforest produces about 20% of the World's oxygen?"
Year 5: "In geography lessons, we are geographers! Our teacher told us we are doing work that used to be year 7 but I really enjoy the challenge."
Year 6: "We now have the We Are Curriculum in school, WAC for short...For our Earth topic we are looking at how we can make a difference. We (year 6s) can make little changes to make a big difference."
Our children leave Great Missenden more knowledgeable about the world around them. They leave ready to challenge cultural stereotypes and leave with visions of improving the world they live in.