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Geography Curriculum Statement


Children attending Gainsborough Primary School often have very few experiences of life outside of their local area due to being located in an area of high deprivation meaning that families are not able to visit areas outside of the local area and high mobility rates. At Gainsborough, we believe that geography helps to provoke and provide answers to questions about the natural and human aspects of the world. Therefore, the curriculum is designed and clearly sequenced with substantive knowledge of the different geographical areas of locational knowledge, place knowledge, human and physical processes and geographical skills. It is planned so that it is in line with the national curriculum.

The geography curriculum is delivered to ensure that it is accessible to the diverse socio economic, cultural and neurodiverse backgrounds of the children at Gainsborough whilst enabling children to reach their full potential in questioning and knowing about the world around them. The disciplinary knowledge within the geography curriculum is clearly defined to ensure that children are able build on their knowledge as they progress through the school. Alongside the pedagogical approaches of a review, teach, practice and apply lesson structure to delivering the knowledge, children are able to know more and remember more. This approach ensures that children are able to keep up, with opportunities to catch up delivered at the start of the lesson if needed.

The geography curriculum ensures that by the time the children leave in Year 6, they will have:

  • explored the location of globally significant places – both terrestrial and marine – including their defining physical and human characteristics and how these provide a geographical context for understanding the actions of processes (The UK, The Alps. North America & The Amazon)
  • examined the processes that give rise to key physical and human geographical features of the world, how these are interdependent and how they bring about spatial variation and change over time (people and their communities, the journey of food, the journey of people, climate and weather, coasts, the River Thames, volcanoes, trade, tourism in the Alps, climate change & how our world will look in the future)
  • carried out a fieldwork study in each year group to answer a question about the local area, using questionnaires, field sketching, photography, visual/audio recording and measurement to make their own recommendations. (Our local area, the journey of food, the seaside, our local river, changes in the local area & pollution in the local area)
  • interpreted a range of sources of geographical information, including a range of maps, diagrams, globes, aerial photographs and Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
  • communicated geographical information in a variety of ways, including through maps, numerical and quantitative skills and writing at length to show their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes
  • developed mapping skills - which  are taught explicitly from EYFS to Year 6 - to allow children to find their place in the world using the 8 points of a compass, 4 and 6-figure grid references, symbols are key to build their knowledge of the United Kingdom and the wider world
  • developed an understanding about countries of the world through the country of the week and know the continent, flag, capital city, hemisphere, weather, landmarks, neighbouring countries and oceans/seas of the world (UK, France, Japan, Canada, Germany, USA, Russia, India, Turkey, China, Brazil, UAE, Spain, Australia, South Africa, South Korea, Italy, Nigeria & Argentina)
  • had the opportunity to visit the local area, a local supermarket, the River Thames, Chalkwell beach, Fairplay House and Normandy, France to carry out fieldwork and compare these areas to Plaistow
  • gained an understanding of how geography skills and knowledge can be used to embark on a range of careers once their schooling has finished.


Vocabulary development is a key aspect of our whole school curriculum as a result of the high proportion of children who start Gainsborough Primary School with lower levels of vocabulary than is typical for their age.

Vocabulary is taught explicitly to support the development of key concepts. In mapping, this includes; map, atlas, globe, forwards, backwards, up and down during the EYFS stage; sketch map, plan, birds eye view, position, location, direction, route, symbol, key, coordinates, compass, north, south, east, west, near & far in KS1 and scale, equator, northern hemisphere, southern hemisphere, northeast (NE), southeast (SE), southwest (SW), northwest (NW), ordnance survey maps, google map, political map, topographic map, physical map, economic/ resource map, six figure grid reference, grid box, Tropics of Cancer/ Capricorn, Arctic/ Antarctic Circle, longitude and latitude, degrees and contour in KS2.

The geography curriculum starts when the children begin their learning journey in the Early Years. Therefore we allow children to explore geographical themes and content through the ‘Understanding of the World’ strand of the EYFS curriculum. Children are taught that we live in the UK, we go to Gainsborough Primary School, the location of our classroom, what we can see outside of our classroom and how we get to different areas of the school.


Geography is taught in blocks throughout the year, so that children achieve depth in their learning. Teachers are given the substantive and disciplinary knowledge for each topic and consideration is given to ensure progression across topics throughout each year group across the school. Teachers plan lessons using the medium term plans created by the subject leader. These clearly show the substantive knowledge (content) and disciplinary concepts. Progression in geography has been carefully mapped across the curriculum. Learning is revised frequently to ensure that teachers are clear about what has been remembered and children are then able to build upon the knowledge previously learned.

Topics are deliberately chosen to reflect the diversity of our schools’ communities, and to prepare them to be responsible and engaged citizens of the complex world they will live in. Fieldwork is planned for each year group, allowing children the opportunity to engage with real-world learning; purposeful data collection; connect to their local environment; embed in the long term memory and develop identity.

At Gainsborough, we believe that all learners should primarily access the first quality teaching and be immersed in class discussions during geography lessons. Therefore, SEND learners access the same learning as all other children but will be given further support, adapted outcomes and a tailored approach to suit each individual’s needs. Strategies used to support our SEND learners include:

  • A pre-teach of topic specific vocabulary
  • Reading support when researching using a range of sources
  • Printouts of work/presentations to scaffold with independent tasks
  • Instructions broken down into manageable chunks and more time given to process the information

Children with high levels of need have a broad curriculum offer, linking into National Curriculum themes, but with scaffolded learning which meets their needs, ensuring they are also making good progress from their initial starting points. The themes are planned to ensure that geography skills and knowledge to be embedded and built upon.

We understand that children have missed opportunities of learning because of the COVID outbreak and the resulting distance and blended learning models that were used in the previous school years. Our current teaching model ensures that any missed opportunities are addressed before teaching new concepts and topics. This pre teaching approach ensures that children are able to access the new learning and build upon their knowledge and skills. Fieldwork is at the forefront of the geography curriculum, ensuring that the practical geography skills are taught and built upon in each year group.


Outcomes in geography evidence the acquisition of identified key knowledge that children have sequentially learned year on year so that all children, apart from those with high level SEND needs who are on personal journeys, meet the national expectation. This includes knowledge of the local area and where we are located compared to other countries. It includes knowledge about physical geography - what they are, including our local river and the features of it as it flows into the sea. The human geography elements include knowledge of the importance of the River Thames and the trade and tourism that it promotes.

End outcomes ensure that children have the opportunity to apply the different components that have been taught to a composite piece of learning. Teachers regularly use low stakes quizzes to ensure that the knowledge has been retained.

As children progress throughout the school, they develop a deep knowledge, understanding an appreciation of their local area and its place within the wider geographical context. Geographical understanding, as well as children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is further supported during residential visits in the UK and France.

The impact of our geography curriculum at Gainsborough ensures that children are equipped with geographical skills and knowledge that will enable them to be ready to continue their learning journey in KS3 and for life as an adult in the wider world. Children will be clear about the careers available to them as part of our ‘Future Me’ aspect of the curriculum and continue to explore opportunities available to them.