Why do learners at John Gulson Primary School need to study Geography?

At John Gulson Primary School, our teaching of geography supports our vision of inclusive practice and it enables all children to achieve their individual potential. We will engage, inspire and challenge children. Geography at our school helps children to develop a wide range of communication skills as part of their learning,  It also enables them to secure  firm foundations in locational knowledge and place knowledge; physical geography and human geography;  geographical skills and fieldwork which they can apply across their learning in the wider curriculum. This learning can then be used by children beyond the school setting and prepares them for future life in the local, national and global communities. Our approach to geography teaching, supports children in recognising their own strengths and how to build on them.  They learn to persevere and check if their learning makes sense.


What are the aims for the Geography curriculum? What do we want our children to know and do by the time they leave John Gulson Primary School?

The John Gulson key drivers underpin our aims for the teaching of Geography:

  • Communication – Speaking, Listening, Reading, Writing
  • Competence – Numeracy, literacy, and technology; wider subjects
  • Community –  Diversity, Inclusion, First Hand Experience

Central to our aim is to develop children’s communication skills and vocabulary, so that they are able to maximise their learning potential in Geography, now and in the future.

We want to develop independent thinking skills in learners, giving them the ability to apply their knowledge and skills in Geography across the curriculum.   We encourage discovery, collaboration and reflection, based on first-hand experiences.

National Curriculum

At John Gulson Primary school, we believe that the National Curriculum (2014) enables our children to embark on a journey as geographers which will educate, engage, inspire and challenge them.

Teaching will equip pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, that reflects the rich and diverse heritage of our pupils and wider school community, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. As pupils progress, their growing knowledge about the world will help them to deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments. Geographical knowledge, understanding and skills will provide the frameworks and approaches that explain how the Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and change over time.  Children will recognise and understand how our actions and treatment of our local area as well as the planet as a whole, impacts all species of animals in the world as well as ourselves. This will encourage a love of our planet and an understanding of the importance of protecting it from pollution and preserving it from the destruction of habitats for all living things now and in future generations to come.

By the end of each key stage, children are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the programmes of study.


Which values underpin the Geography provision at John Gulson?

Our school values and principles underpin Geography at John Gulson: We

  • Put the child at the centre
  • Develop the whole child
  • Build on strengths and promote resilience
  • Promote opportunity, value diversity and celebrate difference
  • Work in partnership with families
  • Co-ordinate timely and appropriate support

How are British Values taught through Geography?

At John Gulson primary, the geography curriculum delivers British Values by creating pleasure and interest in Geography in the world.  It encourages collaborative work, tolerance, and responsible behaviour. It may also include teamwork to enable children to carry out fieldwork studies to interpret and apply learning to other real-life situations in the wider world.  Children will have opportunities to work ecologically, manage their time and tasks as well as sharing resources.  Children are encouraged to support one another positively and respectfully and develop self-esteem, self-knowledge and self-confidence along with a respect for the environment and sustainability of the planet.  Our children show respect to all people and the local environment.


Which links can be made within the Geography curriculum?

Geography is essential to many forms of employment, everyday life and leisure.  It is important to areas of work in teaching, archaeology, geology, conservation, marine biology, surveying, architecture, farming and agriculture, oil and chemical industry, town planning



Why has the specific knowledge been selected?

The geography curriculum at John Gulson has been selected to follow the programmes of study in the National Curriculum and links to a cross-curricular approach to learning.

How are the Geography lessons delivered at John Gulson?

During teaching children will enjoy first-hand experiences to inspire them in their learning and use these experiences to access and develop the key learning skills and knowledge required of the curriculum.  Where possible cross curriculum links are made to enable and enrich the learning in geography.  Opportunities for children to apply their learning in English and Mathematics will be embedded in geography lessons.  The development of subject specific vocabulary will be given high priority.  Over time, lessons will be delivered in the classroom, the school outdoor environment and wider localities.  Learning will be built on systematically.


What is the impact?

The impact of our Geography curriculum can be seen not only in children’s books but also through classroom displays and their attitude to the protection of the environment through, for example, recycling, energy conservation, taking pride in the school grounds.  Children will be able to confidently articulate a love of our planet and understanding of the importance of protecting it from pollution and preserving it from the destruction of habitats for all living things now and for future generations to come.


What are the aims/end points of specific stages of the curriculum?

Key Stage 1:

Pupils should develop knowledge about the world, the United Kingdom and their locality. They should understand basic subject-specific vocabulary relating to human and physical geography and begin to use geographical skills, including first-hand observation, to enhance their locational awareness.

Pupils should be taught to:

Locational knowledge

  • name and locate the world’s 7 continents and 5 oceans
  • name, locate and identify characteristics of the 4 countries and capital cities of the United Kingdom and its surrounding seas

Place knowledge

  • understand geographical similarities and differences through studying the human and physical geography of a small area of the United Kingdom, and of a small area in a contrasting non-European country

Human and physical geography

  • identify seasonal and daily weather patterns in the United Kingdom and the location of hot and cold areas of the world in relation to the Equator and the North and South Poles
  • use basic geographical vocabulary to refer to:
  • key physical features, including: beach, cliff, coast, forest, hill, mountain, sea, ocean, river, soil, valley, vegetation, season and weather
  • key human features, including: city, town, village, factory, farm, house, office, port, harbour and shop

Geographical skills and fieldwork

  • use world maps, atlases and globes to identify the United Kingdom and its countries, as well as the countries, continents and oceans studied at this key stage
  • use simple compass directions (north, south, east and west) and locational and directional language [for example, near and far, left and right], to describe the location of features and routes on a map
  • use aerial photographs and plan perspectives to recognise landmarks and basic human and physical features; devise a simple map; and use and construct basic symbols in a key
  • use simple fieldwork and observational skills to study the geography of their school and its grounds and the key human and physical features of its surrounding environment

Key stage 2:

Pupils should extend their knowledge and understanding beyond the local area to include the United Kingdom and Europe, North and South America. This will include the location and characteristics of a range of the world’s most significant human and physical features. They should develop their use of geographical knowledge, understanding and skills to enhance their locational and place knowledge.

Pupils should be taught to:

Locational knowledge

  • locate the world’s countries, using maps to focus on Europe (including the location of Russia) and North and South America, concentrating on their environmental regions, key physical and human characteristics, countries, and major cities
  • name and locate counties and cities of the United Kingdom, geographical regions and their identifying human and physical characteristics, key topographical features (including hills, mountains, coasts and rivers), and land-use patterns; and understand how some of these aspects have changed over time
  • identify the position and significance of latitude, longitude, Equator, Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere, the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, Arctic and Antarctic Circle, the Prime/Greenwich Meridian and time zones (including day and night)

Place knowledge

  • understand geographical similarities and differences through the study of human and physical geography of a region of the United Kingdom, a region in a European country, and a region in North or South America

Human and physical geography

  • Describe and understand key aspects of:
  • physical geography, including: climate zones, biomes and vegetation belts, rivers, mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes, and the water cycle
  • human geography, including: types of settlement and land use, economic activity including trade links, and the distribution of natural resources including energy, food, minerals and water

Geographical skills and fieldwork

  • use maps, atlases, globes and digital/computer mapping to locate countries and describe features studied
  • use the 8 points of a compass, 4- and 6-figure grid references, symbols and key (including the use of Ordnance Survey maps) to build their knowledge of the United Kingdom and the wider world
  • use fieldwork to observe, measure record and present the human and physical features in the local area using a range of methods, including sketch maps, plans and graphs, and digital technologies