At English Martyrs Catholic Primary School, we value Geography as vital part of the children’s entitlement to a broad and balanced curriculum. It works alongside History in our Humanities curriculum to provide a basis for themed work.

The study of geography involves our pupils exploring the relationship and interactions between people and the environments in which they live and upon which they and all life on Earth depends. Many of the pupils who now attend our school will live to see the next century and inhabit a world of 11 billion people. The many opportunities and challenges that will arise during their lifetime will be very much about geography at personal, national and global scales. What we intend pupils to learn in geography reflects this throughout the curriculum. In particular we have established a school curriculum plan for geography (1) as an entitlement for all pupils that is:

  • Aspirational in terms of instilling in our pupils a desire to achieve the highest levels of success through providing them with the opportunities to excel in terms of their acquisition of long-lasting knowledge and understanding and mastery of core geographical skills.
  • Logical, relevant, broad and balanced in terms of the areas of subject content we have selected which reflect the guidance of and are commensurate with the demands of the National Curriculum. Due consideration has been given also to making certain that our geography curriculum maintains relevancy and topicality through including enquiries that engage pupils in studying issues such as environmental, economic and social change. We want our pupils to show curiosity about how the world works and to ask questions about how we treat our planet and each other.
  • Sequenced to ensure that pupils can build on previous knowledge and understanding as they tackle more complex and demanding enquiries. For example, at Key Stage 1 pupils observe and record the distinctive geographical features of local forests and woodlands to compare with rainforests in South America and Africa. At Key Stage 2 this knowledge and understanding is both consolidated and extended as pupils learn about biomes and study in detail South America
  • Inclusive in terms of delivering the same curriculum to all of our pupils irrespective of specific learning needs or disabilities and differentiating where necessary through, for example, in class support, providing different learning environments, alternative learning activities and assessment outcomes to enable all learners to be engaged in their learning.


The teaching and implementation of the Geography Curriculum at English Martyrs Catholic Primary School is based on the National Curriculum and provides the basis of a theme for other curriculum subjects such as Art.

We adopt an enquiry focused approach to learning and teaching in geography which develops our pupils as young geographers. Through enquiry our pupils not only build subject knowledge and understanding but become increasingly adept at critical thinking, specialised vocabulary and their grasp of subject concepts. We structure learning in geography through question led enquiries about relevant geographical topics, places and themes. Our curriculum is therefore ‘knowledge rich’ rather than content heavy as we recognise that if we attempt to teach geographical topics, places, themes and issues in their entirety we restrict opportunities for pupils to master and apply critical thinking skills and achieve more challenging subject outcomes. We adopt a policy of immersive learning in geography that provides sufficient time and space for our pupils not only to acquire new knowledge and subject vocabulary but also to develop subject concepts and understand the significance of what they have learned. Our learning and teaching in geography are interactive and practical allowing opportunities for pupils to work independently, in pairs and also in groups of various sizes both inside and outside of the classroom. Learning activities are varied including the use of mysteries, maps at different scales, geographical puzzles, photographs and drama. Similarly, we provide varied and differentiated ways for pupils to record the outcomes of their work including the use of PowerPoint, concept mapping, annotated diagrams, improvised drama and the application of a wide range of writing genres, including the use of technology for vlogs. In this way knowledge becomes embedded and ‘sticky’ and ensures that our pupils can build on what they know and understand from one year to the next. The overviews for each geographical enquiry highlight both the objectives and anticipated outcomes of the investigation. Our learning and teaching in geography also recognise the importance of fieldwork with a number of our investigations involving observation, recording, presentation, interpretation and the evaluation of geographical information gathered outside of the classroom.


Curriculum Impact

Each enquiry which forms our programme of learning and teaching in geography sets clear objectives and outcomes for the pupils in terms of knowledge and understanding and skills acquisition. We ensure that when assessing our pupils, evidence is drawn from a wide range of sources to inform the process including interaction with pupils during discussions and related questioning, day to day observations, practical activities such as model making and role play drama, the gathering, presentation and communication of fieldwork data and writing in different genres. The outcomes of each enquiry serve to inform the teacher’s developing picture of the knowledge and understanding of each pupil and to plan future learning accordingly. We do not make summative judgements about individual pieces of pupil work but rather use the outcomes to build an emerging picture of what the pupil knows, understands and can do.

At the end of each year we make a summative judgement about the achievement of each pupil against the school’s assessment grids indicating whether they are working at the expected level for the year, towards the expected level, or at greater depth. This decision draws upon the professional knowledge and judgement that teachers possess about the progress of each pupil, developed over the previous three terms which allows an informed and holistic judgement of attainment to be made. Achievement against the learning goals for geography at the end of the year is used as the basis of reporting progress to parents.