St Joseph'sCatholic Primary School


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Subject Leader: Mrs Hunt

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As raised in Pope Francis’ message Laudato si', God’s wonderful world is broken, and it is time to be healed. Through our carefully planned geography curriculum, with RE as a focal point for planning, the children at St Joseph’s learn how to look after our world and to live alongside God’s creation. Geography is the study of places and the relationships between people and their environments. Therefore, in our geography curriculum, we aim to support our children to develop a deep understanding of their place in the world through knowledge of the physical and human geography of the local environment, the UK and the wider world which will underpin their place as global citizens to whom stewardship of our God’s wonderful world has been entrusted.



At St Joseph’s, we believe that Geography helps to provoke and answer questions about the natural and human worlds, encouraging children to develop a greater understanding of their world and their place in it. It helps to develop a range of investigation and problem-solving skills that are transferable to other curriculum areas and which can be used to promote children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Geography is, by nature an investigative subject, which develops an understanding of concepts, knowledge and skills. We seek to inspire in children a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people which will remain with them for the rest of their lives; to promote children’s interest and understanding about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments Kent, in this country, in Europe and in the world, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes.


Our curriculum is based on three threads, physical, locational and place. As children move through our geography curriculum, they will develop an understanding of home and belonging, looking in detail at their town and country and then begin to build a national and global context.  Our children will recognise the role they have to play as global citizens and be able to explain how the world has developed and changed over time - not just in terms of physical process, but also how humans’ interactions with the planet have altered its trajectory. 


Through the framework of the 2014 National Curriculum, geography taught at St Joseph’s School, aims to ensure that all children:

  • develop age-appropriate, accurate knowledge of the location, physical and human characteristics of a wide range of globally significant places including terrestrial and marine locations
  • to use this knowledge to provide a geographical context to study and understand the actions of important geographical processes
  • understand that these processes give rise to the key physical and human geographical features of the world, how these are interdependent and how they bring about variation and change to the geographical landscape
  • to be able to use geographical vocabulary which is appropriate and accurate and which develops and evolves from EYFS to KS1 and through to KS2
  • collect, analyse and present a range of data, gathered through experiences of fieldwork, to deepen understanding of geographical processes
  • use and interpret a wide range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes and aerial photographs
  • develop skills in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) (software and interactive resources) which allow for digital mapping, analysis of data and data models
  • are able to communicate geographical information in a variety of ways, including through maps, numerical and quantitative skills and writing at length
  • to fulfil the requirements of the 2014 National Curriculum for Geography
  • to promote children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development helping them to have a greater understanding of their place in the world, and their rights and responsibilities to other people and the environment


Substantive and Disciplinary Knowledge


Substantive knowledge sets out the subject-specific content that is to be learned - i.e. the geography National Curriculum. It is the ‘know what’ and ‘know how’ of geography. This can be divided into Declarative knowledge (‘know what’) and procedural knowledge (‘know how’). Declarative knowledge includes: locational knowledge, place knowledge, and human and physical processes - i.e. they are the facts of geography that can be declared. Declarative knowledge enables pupils to ‘know like a geographer’. The fourth substantive knowledge strand of the National Curriculum is ‘Geographical skills and fieldwork’, which can be termed procedural knowledge - this is about ‘knowing how to do geography’ (e.g. knowing how to draw a map; knowing how to conduct a survey; knowing how to measuring rainfall).


Disciplinary knowledge considers how substantive knowledge originates, is debated and is revised - i.e. how we create, contest and evaluate substantive knowledge over time. Disciplinary knowledge tells us how we know what we know; it is through disciplinary knowledge that pupils learn the practices of geographers. It gives an insight into the ways that geographers think - how they question, collect, analyse, interpret, evaluate, communicate and debate, and in doing so, how the facts of geography are established and revised. In other words, disciplinary knowledge is about understanding how to think about and find out about the world geographically. Disciplinary knowledge enables one to ‘think like a geographer’. Strands of the curriculum that come under the umbrella of disciplinary knowledge include:


• Asking geographical enquiry questions.

• Collecting, analysing and interpreting data through fieldwork and related activities.

• Interpreting a range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes, aerial photographs and GIS.

• Analysing data and communicating geographical information in a variety of ways, including through constructing maps, charts and graphs, and writing at length.

• Critically evaluating and debate the impact of geographical processes.


Geography is taught every week every other term. As pupils progress through the school, their growing knowledge about the world will help them to deepen their understanding of their local area, the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments.


Outcomes in books and evidence from pupil voice demonstrate a broad and balanced geography curriculum and clearly show children’s acquisition of identified key knowledge and skills.


We teach geography using the ‘indoor’ and ‘outdoor’ classroom, so special consideration should be given to the inclusion of pupils with SEN in all types of field work. Map reading is a specific skill and individual pupils may need extra practice in thinking spatially.


We aim to teach geography by having clear explanations and using and referring to key appropriate language. We use concrete examples that are familiar to children and we teach in a visual, auditory and kinaesthetic way. We believe children learn geography best by doing. Children often record their understand in a variety of ways including writing, art, DT and through themed days, visits to museums or visitors in school. If writing is a barrier, children may use a scribe or adult supported.


Often children work together in mixed ability groups sharing and valuing everyone’s ideas. For those children who may struggle to ‘be heard’ or articulate their ideas an adult is on hand to support.


If reading is required for research, teaching staff and/or peers support those who may struggle. Teachers verbally explain what is being asked rather than write it.


We check the retention of understanding through a recall of facts. For pupils who may struggle to retain these visual clues are used and reminders are provided through the ‘big book.’


The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) follows the ‘Development Matters in the EYFS’ guidance which aims for all children in reception to have an ‘Understanding of the World; people and communities, the world and technology’ by the end of the academic year.


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 coherent knowledge of understanding of each unit of work covered throughout the school. Children will deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes and how this affects landscapes and environments.



Equal opportunity:

In line with our Equal Opportunities Policy, we are committed to providing a teaching environment that promotes learning. Children are given opportunities to work with others, listen to each other and treat everyone with respect:

  • We plan our classroom activities to challenge and involve all pupils appropriately, according to age and capability, ethnic diversity, gender and language background.
  • We are aware of different learning styles and the need to allow pupils to be able to work in their preferred learning styles for some of the time.
  • We use materials for teaching which avoid stereo-typing, and bias, towards race, gender, role or disability.
  • We deal with such issues clearly and sensitively when they arise.


At our school we teach geography to all children, whatever their ability. Geography forms part of the school curriculum policy to provide a broad and balanced education to all children. Through our geography teaching we provide learning opportunities that enable all pupils to make progress. We use a range of strategies to support pupils and ensure that pupils’ needs are catered for in each aspect of the curriculum. A few of these, particularly relevant to geography are:

  • The use of several levels of difficulty of vocabulary in class lessons by the teacher e.g. areas of housing/residential areas.
  • Modified text passages as expected in other curriculum areas.
  • Different levels of written or oral questions for pupils investigating photographic or other visual materials.
  • Modified graphs, e.g. the use of IT to graph data, axis provided and labelled.
  • Careful use of support for pupils with English as an additional language.
  • The use of large scale maps, always colour highlighted for pupils with particular additional needs.

For our more able pupils we will expect:

  • Teachers to provide teaching and learning experiences that encourage pupils to think creatively, explore and develop ideas, and try different approaches. Pupils should be encouraged to set their own questions, offer ideas, suggest solutions or explanations, and reflect on what they have heard, seen or done in order to clarify their thoughts.
  • Greater independence in working, e.g. a pupil to be able to carry out their own simple geographical enquiry.
  • Avoid giving gifted pupils additional writing tasks and encourage them instead to communicate their understanding in a variety of ways, giving them responsibility for choosing and evaluating the most appropriate method.
  • Provide opportunities within geography for pupils to develop their skills in other areas, such as intrapersonal skills (for example, opportunities to use initiative), and interpersonal skills (for example, leadership and group membership). These opportunities also relate to the key skills of working with others and improving own learning and performance.
  • Opportunities to make the school more environmentally sustainable.


Skills Progression

At St Joseph's the children's learning is assessed using the skills progression tool on Cornerstones where we are able to individually track the children's personal progression. 



At St Joseph's geography is taught via our Cornerstones curriculum with terms 2, 4 and 6 having a specific geography focus. Please see our plans in our curriculum section and class pages for more specific information.