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St James'Church of England

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‘The study of Geography is more than just memorising places on a map. It’s about understanding the complexity of our world, appreciating the diversity of cultures that exist across continents. And in the end, it’s about using all that knowledge to help bridge divides and bring people together.’

- Barack Obama 



As geographers, our children at St James CE Primary School will gain a depth and breadth of knowledge and understanding of the world, its environments and places both near and far, and the processes that create and affect them both human and physical. Our geography curriculum encourages children to appreciate and understand how the world works and the interconnections between communities and cultures as well as allowing them to consider how they can themselves be respectful, sensitive and accepting of the world. As a small village school, our geography curriculum is designed to enable pupils to grow in their global understanding of different cultures, to challenge stereotypes and to appreciate diversity.

We believe children are active participants and investigators within geography, and value fieldwork as an essential part of the curriculum allowing them to explore, make connections and comparisons and identify patterns and changes. Geographical enquiry and skills are embedded throughout teaching to ensure skills are transferable and progressive. Our enquiry based curriculum allows our children to investigate, ask questions and learn new information in order to gain a greater understanding of the wider world through the use of primary sources such as field work and secondary sources such as digital and physical maps, atlases, globes, photographs and books.

Being a small village school, we want the children to be excited about the possibilities of what the world has in store for them to explore and experience. Children should leave St James with a sense of their place in the world, both culturally and physically, and a desire to enquire about the world around them. We want to ensure that the children can be the best they can be and become responsible, confident global citizens who are well-equipped for the future.



Our Early Years Foundation Stage pupils will experience provision linked to Understanding of the World. Learning will include the use of simple maps, exploring the natural world as well as learning about people, culture and communities. Pupils will learn Geography through playing, exploring, active learning, creating and thinking critically. There are many opportunities for cross curricular learning, such as linking Geography to Science when learning about the seasons.

Children from Year 1 to Year 6 are taught Geography discretely once per week in alternate terms (a total of 3 enquiries per academic year). To support and inspire our young Geographers, we use an enquiry led approach based on ‘The Connected Curriculum’ by David Weatherly. This ensures coverage and progression in all skills and knowledge relating to Geography. We plan an opportunity within each session to revisit geographical knowledge, skills and understanding that may need further consolidation or to use new knowledge to enforce prior skills. Through the enquiries within the scheme the children develop an understanding of the world as a whole.

In every Geography lesson, it is made explicit to pupils that they are being taught Geography. Specifically named Geography knowledge, skills and understanding are also referred to throughout the enquiries: locational knowledge, place knowledge, human features, physical features, map skills, compass skills and fieldwork skills. It is expected that the pupils will become familiar with these terms as they progress through the school.

In addition to this, pupils will progress through transferable learning skills in order to develop as Geographers. For example, pupils in Year 1 will be expected to identify, locate and name. Year 2 will describe and begin to explain. A Geographer in Year 6 will compare, contrast and give reasons in their lessons. These are the specific skills that the teachers will assess.

Through the use of the Geography Progression Document, teachers can become familiar with previous and subsequent year groups’ content in order to link learning, close gaps and build on previous knowledge.

Due to the numbers on roll, we use a rolling programme of planning as we have mixed age classes. When planning each enquiry, teaching staff ensure that the outcome for each year group is pedagogically appropriate, taking all of the above into consideration.

Where possible, field trips are used to enhance learning, particularly of the local area.


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