Developing geographical skills on a Key Stage 2 residential

Key features

  • Developing tailored programmes in partnership with one provider
  • An integral part of the curriculum - not an ‘add-on’
  • Pupils actively involved in planning the residential

The Christ Church partnership of three Merseyside primary schools has developed a programme of residential visits for our KS2 children, in partnership with Crosby Hall Educational Trust (CHET), that are an integral part of our curriculum and are closely linked to the work in class both prior to and following the visits. The residential described in this case study focused on developing key geographical fieldwork skills.

Background

Years 3 and 4 took part in a two night residential to CHET in October 2012. The visit formed an integral part of a curriculum topic and enabled the children to develop both their geographical fieldwork skills and knowledge and understanding of a contrasting locality in a way that would have been difficult to achieve back in school.

CHET is located just five miles away from our school, however the two locations differ greatly in terms of population, industry and land use. Our school is situated in an urban inner-city location, whereas CHET is based in a rural setting, surrounded by fields and woods. This meant that during our stay at CHET were able to make geographical comparisons between the two locations.

Benefits of working this way

  • Working so closely with one provider in this way helps CHET to tailor their offer to meet the specific needs of our curriculum and classes.
  • The opportunity for members of staff from different year groups to work together to plan and deliver a high quality residential experience leads to improved curriculum outcomes. This is especially beneficial for a one form entry school, where teachers usually have to plan individually.
  • This approach to planning ensures that our residentials are an integral part of the curriculum and not seen as just an extra or ‘add-on’.
  • Children are actively involved in planning the residential and activities.

What did we do during the residential?

When planning for our visit we focused on several geographical objectives from the National Curriculum KS2 Geography (2007), specifically Objectives 1a, 1b, 2b, 2e and 3f.

Objectives 1a, 1b

The children were asked to think about what might be similar and different about the two locations so that comparisons could be made, data gathered and presented in a graph. They decided that a traffic survey would produce interesting findings, so before our visit they decided on the criteria for the survey themselves (e.g. type of vehicle, location, length of time for survey, time of day, day of the week) and undertook a survey at school which was then followed up by an identical survey at CHET.

Prior to the CHET visit children had been focusing on data handling in Numeracy lessons which enabled them to collate tally charts, create bar charts using ICT and explain possible reasons for their results.

Objective 3f

When observing and commenting on the locality of school and CHET, children were asked to describe and explain why they thought the places differed from each other. We considered the school’s location (close to the docks and the river) and what implication that had on the types of housing and industry. Then on our visit to CHET we considered the same questions which garnered a totally different set of results. Children were then able to reflect on why their findings differed so greatly (the school and local area were bombed during World War Two because of their proximity to the docks). Children were then extremely keen to learn about the bombing of Liverpool during the Blitz, which became part of a topic about Liverpool later in the year.

Objectives 2b, 2e

Our visit to CHET provided us with the opportunity to learn and apply fieldwork techniques. Children were given a map of the nearby area, marked only with roads and the church. They were then given photographs of landmarks which they had to locate and mark onto their map. During this activity children observed the difference between the appearances of the houses around CHET and those around school. Children noted that many of the buildings around CHET had smaller or fewer windows, which led to a session on the Window Tax of 1696 – 1851 on our return to school (links to National Curriculum 2007 History Objective 2a.)

The mapping activity would not have been nearly as successful as it was, had we undertaken it in the vicinity of school as there was a lot more green space and a greater variety of buildings and land use (e.g. farms). The area around CHET (the village of Little Crosby) was perfect for the kind of land use mapping we wanted to carry out.

Children were also asked to identify and record the use of the land surrounding CHET. This allowed children to build up a sketch map of the locality, using OS symbols to map any features of interest on our return to school.

Outcomes

The visit to CHET impacted greatly on the children’s learning. We were able to carry out investigations and surveys and use fieldwork techniques which would not have been possible had we not have been given the opportunity to learn away from home and over a longer period of focussed time.

The residential ensured that children were able to compare many aspects of where they live to that of a contrasting area not very far from home.

Our visit ensured that we covered many National Curriculum KS2 Geography Objectives (and led to focusing on some History Objectives), which would otherwise not have been delivered as effectively.

Using the same residential centre (CHET) regularly has enabled us to co-construct programmes like this one with them and the children that always meet our curriculum needs. They then provide a stimulus for many weeks of work back at school.