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Geography Narrative


The Geography curriculum has been intentionally designed to ensure children develop substantive knowledge (factual content) alongside the development of disciplinary knowledge (the action taken within a specific subject to gain knowledge) as they learn the fundamental elements of what it is to be a geographer. Through key geographical high-dividend concepts, children will study a range of spaces including their local area and the wider world which is around them. The curriculum has been designed and sequenced to equip our children with a secure, coherent knowledge of their locality, the United Kingdom, weather patterns, and locations across the world. Units of work have been deliberately planned and sequenced within the long-term map to aid children’s retention of knowledge, using the principle of Cognitive Science.


The NPAT Geography curriculum is based on the National Curriculum 2014.


A high-quality geography education should inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Teaching should equip 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. As pupils progress, their growing knowledge about the world should help them to deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments. Geographical knowledge, understanding and skills provide the frameworks and approaches that explain how the Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and change over time. (National Curriculum 2014)


The following high dividend concepts have been identified as part of the Geography curriculum: change, culture and diversity, scale, sense of place, space, sustainability and the environment. These will form the Big Ideas’ through which all geography will be taught. These form the key conceptual understanding through which geography is taught. The concepts are frequently reinforced and developed. Teachers will make explicit reference to where children have met the concepts previously in the curriculum. These concepts are defined in the NPAT High-Dividend Concept Progression document. The progression of these concepts from Lower KS2 to Upper KS2 is mapped out in the High-Dividend Concept Progression in Geography document.


The teaching of geography is driven by an enquiry question approach that seeks to capitalise on children’s curiosity and prior learning. Units of work are structured around an overarching geographical enquiry to ensure teaching is focused and children are working towards clearly defined outcomes. The overarching enquiry is broken down into smaller sub-enquiries to provide incremental progression that grows over a series of lessons to allow learning of content to be more manageable. The geography pedagogy and curriculum has been developed to ensure learning is not just encountered but remembered. The substantive knowledge content is detailed within the unit planning and knowledge organiser, disciplinary knowledge is mapped out with in the Disciplinary Knowledge progression in Geography document as well as within unit planning. At the heart of our curriculum approach is retrieval practice and revisiting knowledge. Retrieval practice involves deliberately recalling knowledge from memory to make learning stick and become connected in the schema. Units of work refer to learning from previous units to enable children to build their geographical knowledge over time as they progress through the curriculum.


The curriculum has been carefully constructed to ensure children obtain a solid understanding of key geographical concepts as well as substantive and disciplinary knowledge. The knowledge content is specified in detail and is taught to be remembered, not just encountered. Knowledge is sequenced and mapped deliberately and coherently. There are vertical and horizontal links which ensure the construction of a secure geographical schema. There will also be opportunities to make diagonal links to other disciplines which have been explicitly planned for.


Horizontal links will be explicitly made. E.g., In Year 3, during the Autumn term, children will learn about how spaces in England are different, which will be built upon in the summer term through an understanding of how England compares to Europe using locational knowledge and human and physical geography. 


Vertical links will be made where knowledge and understanding are built upon from previous geography units e.g. In Year 4, the Autumn unit (Why is the rainforest important to me?) will build upon the year 3, the Autumn unit (From North to South – how are spaces in England different?).

Diagonal links will be made, particularly where this is cross-curricular. e.g., links between Science and Geography - such as Environmental Change (Science) with Sustainability and the Environment (Geography) and Rocks, Soils and Fossils (Science) with Volcanoes (Geography).


Sustainability and the Environment are at the heart of the Geography curriculum with units explicitly linked in Years 3, 5 and 6. It is also explored implicitly through the journey of the curriculum.


During Lower Key Stage 2, children will be given the opportunity to revisit and develop knowledge of their local area, an understanding of the United Kingdom, and the names of the 7 continents and 5 oceans which would have been covered in KS1. They will revise weather patterns, seasonal changes and basic geographical terms. Children will then be given the opportunity to develop their knowledge of their locality and the wider world, through the use of use globes, maps and atlases, begin to compare locations and have opportunities to explore their immediate environment through fieldwork. The following areas of focus have been selected: From North to South – how are spaces in England different?  How do natural disasters impact Europe? What can England learn about sustainability from Europe? Why is the Rainforest Important to Me?  Are all rivers the same? Year Four will also participate in the National Gallery Take One Picture Programme with explicit geography links made to the painting each year.


During Upper Key Stage 2, children will broaden their locational knowledge to include a wide variety of places on each continent, including their main geographical characteristics. They will explore the natural processes of the Earth and consider the impact of people on our planet. They will continue to explore the world around them interpreting a range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes, aerial photographs and Geographical Information Systems which they will learn to use in detail. The following areas of focus have been selected: Where would you rather live- in Northampton, England or Northampton, USA? Canals and Rivers. What is the difference? Global Warming and Climate Change. Are they the same thing? Where is Africa and what is it like? Why is water so valuable? Sustainability and the Environment – how can I make a difference? 


Key Geography vocabulary is specified and explicitly taught as part of the NPAT Geography Curriculum. The development of vocabulary progresses, is revisited and embedded throughout the curriculum journey.


Through engaging with the Geography curriculum from Year 3 to Year Six, children will move to secondary school with a sound locational knowledge of the world and an appreciation of the geographical features and events that make each space unique. They will understand similarities and differences across the world and be able to use geographical vocabulary to discuss these. They will be confident when using a variety of sources, including a range of maps and atlases. Children will understand how they, as Geographers can use fieldwork to increase their geographical knowledge and become proficient in applying this disciplinary knowledge. They will understand the importance of being sustainable and how they can affect the world around them positively.


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