Geography Curriculum Intent Statement

At Co-op Academy Oakwood, our geography curriculum is designed to develop children’s curiosity and fascination about the world around them and its people, something that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. We are fortunate enough to have children whose families come from all over the world: Pakistan (30%), Afghanistan, India, Eastern European countries such as Lithuania (4%), Italy, Portugal, Syria, African countries such as Cameroon and Eritrea (9%) amongst many others (46% of children in Oakwood have English as an additional language). This allows us to make natural links when comparing geographical similarities and differences between Gipton / Harehills, which has one of the highest levels of multiple deprivations in the Leeds area (https://observatory.leeds.gov.uk/), and other countries. Our intention is not to shy away from these facts but to use them as key learning points to improve the children’s awareness and cultural capital. For example, in year 5 the children have the opportunity to learn about town planning where they will find out how construction on the Gipton housing estate was begun in the 1930s to relocate residents from Leeds worst inner city slums (Callaghan. J, 2015).They will get a real insight into their local area by looking at the statistics for the area, learning that on average life expectancy remains 4 years less for local residents than the Leeds norm but is still 10 years greater than for Pakistan Pakistan Life Expectancy 1950-2021 | MacroTrends. On a guided walk (fieldwork) they will get the chance to observe and record what they see as ‘geographers’ so they can understand street layout and how land use has changed over the last 150 years.

The National Curriculum forms the basis of our geography offer (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/239044/PRIMARY_national_curriculum_-_Geography.pdf) and we cover the full scope of the NC, ensuring that learning follows a logical and natural progression, not only across year groups but across key stages. There are five main threads to our geography curriculum (locational knowledge, fieldwork, map work, human and physical geography) and we intend to empower our students with knowledge and skills through the core aims of ICE – insight, creativity and experience.

Children will get an insight in each year group into their local area initially, before moving onto diverse places such as Peru in year 2 and Borneo in year 4. They will learn about resources such as fossil fuels (coal mining in Yorkshire and China in year 5). They will have the opportunity to study natural environments such as the Rockies mountain range (USA) and Snowdonia (UK) in year 3. Children will be provided with opportunities to think creatively in order to solve problems presented by physical and human geography. For example in year 5 they get to experience how tourism is an important source of income in the Yorkshire Dales https://www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/about/  (Bolton Abbey visit) and get an insight into how places such as Dubai have attracted tourists.

In every year group children have the opportunity to experience fieldwork trips to places such as the River Aire in year 3 when studying rivers, Otley Chevin Forest Park in year 4 when looking at deforestation and Roundhay Park in Year 6 (https://www.roundhaypark.org.uk/) when they gain a first-hand insight into the different biomes that can be found in one of England’s largest city parks.

Geography and history are carefully interleaved so the children have the opportunity to access the geography scheme of work at least every other week. This is essential so they can build upon the skills and knowledge they have gained in each lesson, each term and in each year group so that they retain a long-term memory and clear understanding of what they have learnt and what they are going to learn. We use a system of whole class feedback in geography as we know that good feedback can ‘reduce discrepancies between current understandings and performance and a goal’ (Sadler 1989) and ensures that the key knowledge the children need to remember is revisited regularly.

Due to our high level of English as an additional language vocabulary is embedded into our medium term plans so opportunities for reading comprehension and writing are high-lighted. We use high quality resources such as Digimap for schools (https://digimapforschools.edina.ac.uk/ ), ArcGIS (https://www.arcgis.com/index.html) and keep up to date with the latest educational ideas by having a subscription to the Geographical Association (https://www.geography.org.uk/).

We believe that Geography helps to provoke and provide answers to questions about natural and human aspects of the world. We want our children to leave Co-op Academy Oakwood empowered with the knowledge that the world around them is diverse, fascinating and always changing. We believe it is essential that they have the geographical skills and knowledge to appreciate the effects of human impact upon the natural environment so that they have the opportunity to make a positive contribution to society.