Grazeley Parochial CE (Aided) Primary School

'Be courageous; Be strong; Do everything in love'


Through in-depth local fieldwork, enquiry-based study and meaningful outcomes children make links between their locality and the wider world. They take responsibility for their environment and understand that they are stakeholders with hope for the world’s future.


National Curriculum Purpose of Study

A high-quality geography education should inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Teaching should equip pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. As pupils progress, their growing knowledge about the world should 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 provide the frameworks and approaches that explain how the Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and change over time.

Whole School Definition of Geography

Geography is the study of places and the relationships between people and their environments.

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

President Barack Obama, 2012

How Geography is Taught at Grazeley

At Grazeley Primary School, we aim to inspire in pupils, a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.  Through our school values of love, peace, hope and courage children learn to take responsibility for their environment and understand that they are stakeholders with hope for the world’s future. In each year group, opportunities for ‘Courageous Advocacy’ have been identified.  These are class projects which give children the feeling that they can make a difference.  The majority of these opportunities come from the geography curriculum.

Our geography curriculum is based on the National Curriculum.


Curriculum organisation

Each year starts with a unit in the autumn term that teaches key topographical skills and gives opportunities for retrieval of essential knowledge. The spring term is a unit which has a geography driver. This is a more thematic approach to the teaching of key knowledge. The summer term includes geography which links to other areas of the curriculum.


Golden threads

At Grazeley, children will encounter ‘Golden Threads’. These are substantive concepts that are revised and developed throughout the different geography units and across the key stages. For example, the idea of ‘weather and climate’ will be introduced in KS1 with units on seasons, the seaside and near and far, until in KS2 the thread is continued with comparative studies, climate change and biomes.

These “Golden Threads” are:

  • Weather and Climate
  • Mapping
  • My place in the World
  • Our Local Area and Beyond
  • Settlement
  • The Natural Environment


Key skills

Throughout our geography curriculum we will focus on the developing the children’s key geographical skills. These are:

  • Locating
  • Comparing
  • Investigating
  • Researching
  • Communicating



Mapping skills are explicitly taught in each year group.  There is planned regular practice of:

  • decoding information from maps
  • constructing maps
  • route-finding
  • interpreting information to draw conclusions



The experience of fieldwork is prioritised as it draws together pupils’ locational knowledge and that of human and physical processes. The limitations of our local area mean that there are times when additional information is required to make local fieldwork meaningful.


Substantive Knowledge

  • boundaries (continents, localities, nations)
  • cartography (atlases, directions, distance, Equator, latitude, longitude, North/South Pole, maps, scale, symbols)
  • change (adaptation, sustainability)
  • climate (climate change, climate zones, pollution, weather)
  • interdependence (economy, trade)
  • movement (migration, navigation, transport)
  • physical geography (biomes, bodies of water, tectonics, topography)
  • resources (energy, food supply, infrastructure)
  • settlements (population, rural areas, urban areas)


Disciplinary Knowledge (being a ‘geographer’)

Disciplinary knowledge is used when pupils consider where geographical knowledge originates, and how they can learn the practices of geographers

In developing disciplinary understanding, we consider:

  • What questions geographers have explored;
  • What skills and techniques have been chosen to help gather and analyse information;
  • How findings have been presented and communicated
  • Opportunities for knowledge is open to debate, challenge and discussion

Teachers should model to pupils the way that geographer’s question and explain the world:

  • Use what they know from one context to another
  • Think about alternative futures
  • Consider their influence on decisions that will be made

Teachers should explore the roll of a geographer and what Geography is as a subject by showing the following at the start of each lesson:

What is Geography?

Geography is about our world (planet Earth). Geography is the science of the Earth’s surface, its atmosphere and its features. Geography also explores how the natural world affects and is affected by humans.

What is a geographer?

As a geographer we need to explore the Where and Why?

We need to ask ourselves questions to help us to explore:

  • Where is this place?
  • What is it like? (And why?)
  • How and why is it changing?
  • How does this place compare with other places?
  • How and why are places connected?
  • What could/should the world be like in the future?
  • What can we do to influence change?



There is a clear expectation that pupils need to remember what they have been taught; remembering the key content of each lesson enables success with the next (and so on). Key knowledge is identified and requires repeated ‘over learning’ so that it is remembered. This includes the use of maps. Teachers should take opportunities outside the geography lesson to use retrieval to reinforce key knowledge e.g. naming class tables after continents or oceans, saying ‘we will go to lunch when we have named all of the countries of the UK-go!’ or ‘the board is north- all turn to face south-east’


Place Knowledge coverage

A range of places across the world have been identified to study in detail.


Year 1- London and Kuala Lumpur

Year 2- England and Somalia

Year 2- Whitby and an inland town


Year 3 and Year 4- North and South America

Year 4- The Lake District

Year 5-Jersey

Year 5-Wokingham

Year 5- California

Year 5- Peru

Year 6- Arctic Circle/Antarctica


Cornerstones Curriculum

Our curriculum is based on the Cornerstones Maestro curriculum.  We prioritise the teaching of our nine key concepts when deciding on the focus of each unit of work.

Whole School Overview

Learning Journey

Memorable experiences are planned in when they clearly support the learning.  Units include an enquiry question which is an opportunity to put learning into context and for an audience.

Feedback and Assessment

We use ‘proof of progress’ questions in each lesson to determine progress made.