St Mary's RC Primary School, ManchesterSt Mary's Roman Catholic Primary School

St Mary's Roman Catholic Primary School



Intent: Why we teach Geography


At St Mary’s we feel 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 and we have created a curriculum that will facilitate this. Through our teaching, we intend to 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 our 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 framework and approaches that explain how the Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and change over time.



Key Skills are to:

  • develop contextual knowledge of the location of globally significant places – both terrestrial and marine – including their defining physical and human characteristics and how these provide a geographical context for understanding the actions of processes
  • understand the processes that give rise to key physical and human geographical features of the world, how these are interdependent and how they bring about spatial variation and change over time
  • collect, analyse and communicate with a range of data gathered through experiences of fieldwork that deepen their understanding of geographical processes
  • interpret a range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes, aerial photographs and Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
  • communicate geographical information in a variety of ways, including through maps, numerical and quantitative skills and writing at length


Pupils at St Mary’s are constantly exposed and immersed in developing their vocabulary acquisition. This key geographical language, increases pupil’s knowledge and understanding of not only the specific matter they are currently studying, but of the world they live in. Geography in our school is about developing our student’s ideas, philosophy and geographical thinking by allowing them to investigate and study the environment and world around them, regardless of their gender, ethnicity or ability which we achieve with a balanced and broad programme of study.

Central to this is giving children plenty of opportunities to build upon prior knowledge, allowing them to know more, commit that knowledge to their long term memory and to be able to retrieve it at the appropriate time. A core element is teaching the children to understand that improvement only comes through asking questions of themselves and taking risks; mistakes and apparent failures are the building blocks of improvement and should be appreciated and explored.


Implementation: How we teach Geography

The Geography curriculum is follows the school’s Geography Progression Document, which is in line with the EYFS Statutory Framework (PD and EAD) and National Curriculum. This is used to aid teaching staff in their subject knowledge, organisation and delivery. Geography at St Mary’s is taught in blocks throughout the year, so that children achieve depth in their learning. Each lesson builds upon previous skills and allows focused time for these to become embedded. Geographical concepts are revisited throughout the curriculum in order to support children to commit knowledge to their long term memory.


By the end of year 6, children will have geographical understanding of locational knowledge and place understanding, fieldwork, human and physical features, enquiry skills and globes, maps and plans. New geographical vocabulary is present throughout all teaching of geography. In ensuring high standards of teaching and learning in geography, we implement a curriculum that is progressive throughout our school. The students start to learn about their locality and where they live understanding Radcliffe as their town where they live. This moves onto learning about the UK, Europe and finally countries across the world drawing comparisons between them.


Planning is informed by and aligned with the National Curriculum. Consideration is given to how greater depth will be taught, learnt and demonstrated within each lesson, as well as how learners will be supported in line with the school’s commitment to inclusion. Outcomes of work are regularly monitored to ensure that they reflect a sound understanding of the key identified knowledge. Within our knowledge-rich approach, there is a strong emphasis on people and the community of our local area.


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.



How does St. Mary’s curriculum meet the needs of the children at our school?

Religious Values

The teachings of Jesus are central to every aspect of our learning, so we:

·       Value the unique nature of a variety of different parts of the world by teaching them about the human and natural geographical features of said areas.

·       Have a greater appreciation of the area they live in and how, as followers of Jesus, how we can look after our locality.  

Key life skills for learning

Provide a curriculum  that will equip children with the values, skills and attributes needed to be independent thinkers and courageous learners, so we:

·       Provide children with opportunities to rehearse, apply and master our core learning behaviours of being able to focus, co-operate, reflect, work independently, be inventive, show resilience, self-belief and curiosity.

·       Understand that skills and concepts acquired through Geography are not exclusive to Geography, but closely linked to those required in all other areas of the curriculum.

·       Allow children to further develop a growth mindset and understand improvement is something that can be acquired through hard work & effort.

Pupil Premium Grant:

Provide extended opportunities to experience a wide range of sports and physical activities which they might not otherwise have chance to access, so we

·       Provide opportunities for pupils to be exposed to experiences that enrich their learning. These include but are not exclusive to Geography based school trips.

·       Remove cost implications for trips.

·       Have expectations that all children will develop at a level that is appropriate to them.

Opportunities to embrace cultural capital is part of our school ethos, so we:


·       Expose children to geographical features that add to the local, national and international cultural capital.

·       Use school grounds to provide geographical outdoor activities, such as map reading.

·       Embrace the great outdoors through our Forest School site.

·       Celebrate and embrace different backgrounds, heritage, language and traditions.

·       Instil and understand the values of our society and how we can protect our environment and world for years to come


Impact : What Geography gives to our children


At St Mary’s we ensure that all students are exposed to rich learning experiences both in and out of the classroom that aims to:

  • Overcome the vocabulary deficit by exposing students to a range of vocabulary regularly and ensuring the understanding of words in context.
  • Develop the use of geographical language and vocabulary through oracy.
  • Promote collaboration and developing a general sense of enquiry, which encourages them to question and make suggestions.
  • Build on our student’s natural curiosity and develop a geographical awareness of their surroundings but also what is in the wider world.
  • Create a culture of high aspirations which will allow our students a platform to learn about careers related to geography in the wider community with specialist skills and knowledge, ensuring that they are well prepared for the next steps of their education.
  • Develop an interest in the past and an appreciation of human achievements and aspirations.


Assessments are based on teacher judgement, whereby, in each session, any children who are not meeting lesson objectives, and those who are exceeding and performing at a higher level are recorded and targeted for future support in subsequent lessons. These weekly assessments will not only inform future sessions but will also provide a half termly overview of children’s progress within their year group’s expected outcomes.


In the EYFS observations are recorded in the children’s personalised online learning journey- Tapestry. Pupils are assessed within EAD as well as PD. Progress is tracked and age related expectations are reported to parents at the end of the year. Pupil Voice plays an important role in the children’s enjoyment, engagement and development and crucially, within a lesson, children are given time to reflect on their learning and take part in self, peer and group feedback.



Future Plans: What Comes Next?

A future aim for the Geography subject lead to continue investigating ways we can further adapt our Geography to enable all children to take part in local area field work and enhance the use of our forest school facilities as a resource in delivering the geography curriculum.  

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