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St Mary’s CE Primary School’s aims to inspire pupils to become curious and explorative thinkers with a diverse knowledge of the world; in other words, to think like a geographer. We want pupils to develop the confidence to question and observe places, measure and record necessary data in various ways, and analyse and present their findings. Through our teaching of Geography, we aim to build an awareness of how Geography shapes our lives at multiple scales and over time. We hope to encourage pupils to become resourceful, active citizens who will have the skills to contribute to and improve the world around them.

The National Curriculum organises the Geography attainment targets under four subheadings or strands:

  • Locational knowledge

  • Place knowledge

  • Human and physical geography

  • Geographical skills and fieldwork

At St Mary’s CE Primary School our planned Geography curriculum has a clear progression of skills and knowledge within these four strands across each year group. Our progression of skills and knowledge shows the skills taught within each year group and how these develop to ensure that attainment targets are securely met by the end of each key stage.  Our whole school Geography curriculum document shows which of our units cover each of the National curriculum attainment targets as well as each of the four strands.  Our enquiry questions form the basis for our themes meaning that pupils gain a solid understanding of geographical knowledge and skills by applying them to answer enquiry questions.  In attempting to answer them, children learn how to collect, interpret and present data using geographical methodologies and make informed decisions by applying their geographical knowledge. Each theme contains elements of geographical skills and fieldwork to ensure that fieldwork skills are practised as often as possible. Fieldwork includes smaller opportunities on the school grounds to larger-scale visits to investigate physical and human features. Developing fieldwork skills within the school environment and revisiting them in multiple units enables our children to consolidate their understanding of various methods. It also gives our children the confidence to evaluate methodologies without always having to leave the school grounds and do so within the confines of a familiar place. This makes fieldwork regular and accessible while giving our children a thorough understanding of their locality, providing a solid foundation when comparing it with other places.  Lessons incorporate various teaching strategies from independent tasks to paired and group work, including practical hands-on, computer-based and collaborative tasks.

Wherever possible learning in geography is linked to overall topics to enable children to add new learning to increasingly complex schemata that demonstrate the inter-relatedness of curriculum content. Our geography curriculum respects both the natural and social sciences and the interplay between them.

To ensure our curriculum is taught to develop cumulatively sufficient knowledge by the end of each Key Stage we follow the stages outlined below:

1.)    Substantive knowledge for each subject is mapped from EYFS to Year 6 to ensure our children learn cumulatively sufficient knowledge by the end of each Key Stage.

2.)    Disciplinary knowledge as geographical skills and fieldwork is mapped from EYFS to Year 6 to enable children to apply their knowledge as skills.

3.)    Explicit teaching of vocabulary is central to children’s ability to connect new knowledge with prior learning. Teaching identifies Tier 2 words, high frequency words used across content e.g. verify, and Tier 3 words, specific to subject domains e.g. biome

4.)    Spaced retrieval practice, through questioning, quizzes and peer-explanations, further consolidates the transfer of information from working memory to long-term memory. Quizzing etc. are primarily learning strategies to improve retrieval practice – the bringing of information to mind.

5.)    The use of knowledge organisers and knowledge notes for some subjects keeps essential information together to guard against split-attention effect. Children are taught to forge connections between their current learning and the ‘big picture’ of subject content.

Our Early Years Curriculum is carefully planned and implemented to enable children to achieve the Early Learning Goals (ELGs). Through the Understanding the World goal children learn about their immediate environment, recognise places on maps and aerial photos, make their own maps and explore and contrast other places through images, video and stories. ELG objectives with geography content are mapped against Key Stage 1 objectives to ensure teaching is sequential throughout the school, building upon the children’s prior learning.

Our geography curriculum capitalises on the village of Washington’s unique location within the South Downs National Park and close proximity to the coast. Our extensive grounds and commitment to our Outdoor Environment ensure fieldwork knowledge and skills are taught practically and our programme of educational visits within and beyond the locality consolidates children’s knowledge.

Children also have the opportunity to participate in Eco Club, Nature Club and Forest School, which help provide rich experiences to connect their geographical knowledge and understanding to tangible outcomes.


  • Our Geography curriculum ensures that children leave St Mary’s:
  • Remembering key knowledge of places and locations as outlined in the National Curriculum and how to source geographical information as required.
  • Able to use a variety of vital vocabulary with which to discuss their geographical knowledge and understanding.
  • Knowing how their actions affect the local environment and the sustainability of the Earth’s resources.
  • Training, planning and teaching our Geography curriculum ensures:
  • Teachers with secure subject knowledge, an appreciation of the structure of geography as a subject and an appreciation of the relationship between the two.
  • Teachers able to assess pupils’ learning against our Progression Map objectives.
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