• Geography

Mrs Haig

Geography Subject Lead


Our curriculum starts in the Early Years and progresses sequentially through to Year Six. In every lesson we focus on threshold concepts that ties the ambitious body of knowledge together with the characteristics children are developing.

Woven throughout the Geography curriculum are the whole school Curriculum drivers. They are derived from an exploration of the backgrounds of our children, our beliefs about high quality education and our values. They are used to ensure we give our children appropriate and ambitious curriculum opportunities.

We seek to find conscious connections and appropriate opportunities to enhance our children’s understanding of Diversity, the Arts and our Environment

These essential characteristics of mastery in Geography are:

  • An excellent knowledge of where places are and what they are like.
  • An excellent understanding of the ways in which places are interdependent and interconnected and how much human and physical environments are interrelated.
  • An extensive base of geographical knowledge and vocabulary.
  • Fluency in complex, geographical enquiry and the ability to apply questioning skills and use effective analytical and presentational techniques.
  • The ability to reach clear conclusions and develop a reasoned argument to explain findings.
  • Significant levels of originality, imagination or creativity as shown in interpretations and representations of the subject matter.
  • Highly developed and frequently utilised fieldwork and other geographical skills and techniques.
  • A passion for and commitment to the subject, and a real sense of curiosity to find out about the world and the people who live there.
  • The ability to express well-balanced opinions, rooted in very good knowledge and understanding about current and contemporary issues in society and the environment.

Threshold concepts are taught repeatedly throughout the curriculum, linking learning into meaningful and rich semantic schemas.

In Geography the threshold concepts are:

  • To investigate places
  • To investigate patterns
  • To communicate geographically

It is our vision to inspire a lifelong love of Geography within our pupils. Geography has changed our lives and is vital to the world’s future prosperity.

Geography is one of the most relevant subjects our children can learn. Barely a day goes by when geography isn’t in the news. Geographer Michael Palin, puts it: “Geography is all about the living, breathing essence of the world we live in. It explains the past, illuminates the present and prepares us for the future. What could be more important than that?”

Our school is in the centre of a diverse landscape, we take the opportunity to connect with our local area through our local walks, weekly forest school sessions, our community and families, cross curricular links.

Our Geography enables children at Gorseland to explore:

‘Space' - the location of points, features or regions in and the relationships, flows and patterns that connect and / or define them.

‘Place' - what it is like, what happens there and how and why it is changing.

‘Scale' - - A 'zoom lens' that enables us to view places from local to global levels. Developing a sense of place is not geography until you understand the significance of location and links with other places at global and local scales of study. Geography produces different ideas and types of knowledge which is why it is both a challenging and exciting subject.

Children at Gorseland are encouraged to handle artefacts, explore with geographical equipment and have hands-on experiences. Geography inspires, opens us to the world around us - close and further afield. It supports children’s natural curiosity, inquisitiveness and desire to ask questions.

Therefore, at Gorseland, our aims are to ensure children experience a wide breadth of study and have, by the end of each key stage, long-term memory of an ambitious body of procedural and semantic knowledge

Our curriculum maps are carefully crafted and available in school. The curriculum content is available on our website.


Within geography, we strive to create a supportive and collaborative ethos for learning by providing investigative and enquiry based learning opportunities. Emphasis is placed on investigative learning opportunities to help children gain a deep knowledge of understanding of each unit of work covered throughout the school.

Our geography curriculum is high quality, well thought out and is planned to demonstrate progression. Children will deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes and how this affects landscapes and environments


As part of the dynamic and holistic approach in the learning in the nursery class, elements from the development matters areas of learning and development that supports geographical learning suggest playing with small-world models. Be encouraged to notice detailed features of objects in their environment and to make comments and ask questions about aspects of their familiar world such as the place where they live or the natural world, including why things happen and how things work. Shows care and concern for living things and the environment.


Children will be encouraged further and knowledge built upon using the EYFS development matters areas of learning and development ensuring the children looks closely at similarities, differences, patterns and change. Ultimately by the end of EYFS Children know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things. They talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another. They make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.

Key Stage 1

Children investigate the key features of their location using fieldwork skills, aerial images and plan drawings. They ask appropriate geographical questions about different environments, and use maps and atlases correctly to identify countries, continents and oceans

Key Stage 2

Children begin to develop their own views around important issues such as how physical features affect human activity and to draw clear conclusions from their investigations. They use a range of geographical resources to identify the key human and physical features of a location. They use a wide range of field work and map skills.

Planning and delivery

We maintain a high level of subject knowledge of Geography in our school by regular training and professional development for teachers and subject leaders. Teachers create a positive attitude to Geography learning within their classrooms and reinforce an expectation that all children are capable of achieving high standards in Geography.

Through our planning of problem-solving opportunities, children are encouraged to ask their own questions and use scientific skills and research to discover the answers. Their curiosity is celebrated within the classroom.

Planning involves teachers creating engaging lessons, often involving high-quality resources to aid understanding of conceptual knowledge. Teachers use precise questioning in class to test conceptual knowledge and skills, assessing children regularly to identify those children with gaps in learning in order to plan for next steps.

We build upon the learning and skill development of the previous years. As the children’s knowledge and understanding increases, and they become more proficient in selecting, using scientific equipment, collating and interpreting results, they become increasingly confident in their growing ability to come to conclusions based on real evidence.

Within each Milestone, students gradually progress in their procedural fluency and semantic strength through three cognitive domains: basic, advancing and deep. Knowledge organisers help students to relate each topic to previously studied topics and to form strong, meaningful schema.

Guidance from the framework of ‘Support and Challenge’ is used to plan a bespoke curriculum tailored to pupils’ individual needs to facilitate access to quality learning experiences and develop their Geography knowledge, understanding and skills.

With effective subject leadership, we are a well-equipped and resourced school. Regular monitoring shows that our children understand and apply key principles within their work. At Gorseland, we have a rigorous monitoring process of the Geography curriculum that is kept up to date and contributes towards our school improvement plan.

Developing a strong Geographical Schema - a connection between ideas

Knowledge, Vocabulary, (a range of academic words so that they can articulate complex ideas) and tasks

Within each year group the development of continuous provision will support children to ‘bump’ into geographical experiences on a daily basis through equipment, artefacts, books (fiction on non-fiction), technology, questions and conversations with adults. It will take the form of daily routines, replaces the teaching of some aspects of the curriculum and, in other cases, provides retrieval practice for previously learned content. The continuous provision approach enables pupils to reinforce and build upon prior learning, make connections and develop subject specific language.

Within the study of countries, biomes, landscapes teachers endeavour to make explicit links with science, music, art and faith from around the world.

Starting learning with a hook, artefact, field trip or visitors can spark and inflame pupils' curiosity.


The successful approach at Gorseland results in an engaging, high-quality Geography education that provides children with the foundations and knowledge for understanding the world. Our engagement with the local environment ensures that children learn through varied and first hand experiences of the world around them.

Frequent, continuous and progressive learning - both inside and outside the classroom is embedded throughout the Geography curriculum. Through various workshops, trips and interactions with experts and local organisations, children have the understanding that Geography has changed our lives and that it is vital to the world’s future prosperity.

At Gorseland we demonstrate the success of our ambitious Geography curriculum as follows:

  • Assessment - Milestones - BAD

    Teachers have high ambitions for the progression of children’s knowledge and understanding of music. Teachers’ assessments and judgements of pupils’ Geographical learning at basic, advancing or deep levels are moderated internally and externally when opportunities arise.

    AfL practices such as peer and self-assessment, immediate feedback, helping pupils understand where they are in their learning, where they are going and how to get there and other activities to directly support progress.

    A reflection on standards achieved against the planned outcomes;

    pupil’s books are scrutinised and there is the opportunity for a dialogue between teachers to understand their class’s work.

  • Pupil Voice - Images and videos of the children’s practical learning, Interviewing the pupils about their learning, during and after their experiences.

    Their opinions and interests are valued and included.

    Children develop a passion for and commitment to a diverse range of geographical activities.

  • Snap Shots - Photographic evidence of the learning that has taken place or currently taking place. Displays around the learning environment reflecting learning through the geographical topics and themes.
  • A celebration of learning for each term which demonstrates progression across the school

SMSC in Geography

Spiritual development

There are many ways in which geography can contribute towards spiritual development, the study of real people in real places, and of our relationship with the environment, is at the heart of the geography curriculum. As such, there are many occasions when we can give pupils the opportunity to reflect on their own values and beliefs, and those of others. For example, we can give pupils opportunities to think about the feelings of a child living in a squatter settlement, or the victims of a natural hazard; to reflect on the beauty of a landscape, or the richness of an environment; and to explore their own feelings about the people, places and environments they are learning about.

Moral development

Most geographical issues have a moral dimension. Environmental relationships, in particular, provide a wealth of opportunities for distinguishing a moral dimension; for example, should the rainforest be exploited? Should open cast mining be allowed in an area of outstanding natural beauty? Discussion, role-play and decision making exercises enable pupils to explore such issues, In doing so they will learn about the views held by society, and by various groups within society, and will develop their own attitudes and values in relation to these.

Social development

Activities in the geography -pair work, group work, role-play, geographical games - foster good social behaviour and self - discipline. Fieldwork within geography makes a contribution to social development. Outside of the classroom pupils need a greater degree of self discipline. Geography also has a key role in developing an understanding of citizenship. For example, decision making exercises introduce pupils to the planning process in a town or city; learning about international trade fosters a sense of the interdependence of people and places; and through geography pupils develop a knowledge and understanding of the concept of sustainable development.

Cultural development

Through its study of real people in real places, geography makes a major contribution to cultural development. Pupils learn about the characteristics of their local area, and why it is like that, and contrast where they live with more distant localities, in this country and abroad. A sense of place requires a knowledge and understanding of the cultural traditions of the people who live there. For example, for younger pupils this could be knowing about different styles of dress while older pupils might explore different attitudes towards the environment. Geography is a natural vehicle for exploring our own multicultural society

Gorseland Primary School

Deben Avenue, Martlesham Heath, Suffolk, IP5 3QR            Phone: 01473 623790            Email: office@gorseland.net