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From Year 1 onwards, all class teachers explicitly teach the foundation subjects using a blocked, knowledge-based approach.

Our learning sequences for Geography have been carefully planned, ensuring children are building on prior learning and that Tier 2 and 3 vocabulary appropriate to the study is taught explicitly. Planning starts with the knowledge, the ‘what’, the concepts and how we learn about a subject, incorporates vocabulary including etymology of words and then worked examples leading to independent tasks.

Planning is delivered through:

  • Spaced practice
  • Retrieval practice
  • Interleaving
  • Elaboration

Throughout each planning sequence, quiz questions are explored with the children cumulatively across each individual lesson. These are used as a learning tool which activate memory, rather than an assessment tool.

Within each lesson, children are also given the opportunity to ‘Show what you know’; this allows them to retrieve key knowledge they can recall from the lesson which they then reflect on at the start of each new session.

Knowledge notes are used to provide clarity to all children which incorporate key vocabulary, information and images to support learning. Regular practice ensures that the knowledge becomes ‘sticky’ and also encourages productivity.

To end each topic study, children can show what they have learnt through our double-page spreads. These are completed independently and children can choose how to present their findings and knowledge recall.


Learning about the world around us starts in our Reception class. Children will talk about their local area, the village they live in and what the nearest town is like. They will also learn about the weather, and locate hot and cold places in the world as a foundation for their learning in Year 1.

Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2)

The sequence in KS1 focuses young children to develop a sense of place, scale and an understanding of human and physical geographical features. Later in KS1, children learn about the purpose and use of sketch maps as well as the key features they need to include. CUSP map skills and fieldwork are essential to support children in developing an understanding of how to explain and describe a place, the people who live there, its space and scale.

In Year 1, children study the Orientation of the world through acquiring and making locational sense of the 7 continents and 5 oceans of the world. They extend their knowledge and study the Countries and capital cities of the United Kingdom, along with the oceans and seas that surround us. Further studies support retrieval; children revisit these locations with more complex and sophisticated tasks later in the school year. Enhanced provision in the classroom and use of maps, globes and atlases is essential to form coherent schemata around the big ideas that explain how we know where a place is, and how to locate it. For young children, routes and maps can be made concrete in day-to-day experiences in the safety of their school grounds and classrooms.

In Year 2, pupils enhance their locational knowledge by studying and identifying Human and physical features of places. To deepen this understanding and transfer concepts, pupils study Contrasting locations throughout the world. The location of these areas in the world are deliberately chosen to offer culturally diverse and contrasting places. Pupils study the human and physical features of a non-European location in Africa, such as Nairobi. This is also complemented by a study of an Indigenous tribe in the rainforests of Brazil and Venezuela, known as the Yanomami Tribe. These two studies also offer rich opportunities to know, compare and contrast different cultures in two continents using the consistent thread of human and physical features.

Fieldwork and map skills are further developed with a study of the local area, using cardinal points of a compass. Pupils retrieve and apply knowledge about human and physical features in their local context. OS maps are introduced to pupils in KS1 using Digimap for Schools. Simple keys and features are identified and mapped locally to help begin to understand place, distance and scale. CUSP Geography gives pupils the knowledge they need to develop an increasingly sophisticated understanding of place. Pupils study a variety of places – this helps them to connect different geographical concepts and gives them perspectives and opportunities to compare and contrast locations.

Lower Key Stage 2 (Years 3 and 4)

As pupils begin KS2, Fieldwork and map skills are revisited with the intercardinal points of a compass points being introduced to elaborate on the knowledge pupils already have around cardinal points. This substantive and disciplinary knowledge is utilised to support a study of the UK, focusing on regions, counties, landmarks and topography. This study requires analysis and pattern seeking to help the children identify the Features of the UK. Ollowing this, further retrieval studies will be used to consolidate the children’s understanding of physical and human features.

In Year 4, pupils elaborate and expand their understanding of human and physical features and apply it to the study of Rivers.

To enable accurate location of places around the globe, pupils study absolute positioning or reference systems through Latitude and longitude. Substantive knowledge is acquired and used to apply their new understanding to mapping and locational skills. An in-depth understanding of latitude and longitude is used by pupils throughout KS2.

Complementing studies on location and position is the focus on the Water cycle. It offers explanation and reason about physical processes as well as why certain biomes have certain features in specific global locations. Pupils study geographical patterns across the world using latitude of locations to explain why places are like they are. Further river studies revisit substantive knowledge, and these are applied to the River Nile and the Amazon River as a precursor for future learning in other subjects. Further fieldwork and map skills are introduced to enrich pupils’ disciplinary knowledge of locations and places. Cultural awareness and diversity are taught specifically within many of these learning modules. Examples include European studies, as well as studies of countries and people in Africa, and North and South America.

Upper Key Stage 2 (Years 5 and 6)

The study of Biomes and Environmental regions builds upon world locations, latitude and longitude studies. World countries and major cities are located, identified and remembered through deliberate and retrieval practice, such as low stakes quizzing and our ‘Show What You Know’ activity.

In Year 5, the study of 4 and 6 figure grid references supports prior learning of reference systems and brings an increased accuracy to mapping and fieldwork skills. Again, this knowledge is designed to be interrelated and connected to the retrieval study of biomes and environmental regions. More advanced mapping skills using OS maps are studied and applied, with pupils using the accumulation of knowledge skilfully to analyse distribution and relationships. Route finding and decoding information through maps offers challenge through increasingly complex orienteering and mapping tasks.

Pupils take part in geographical analysis using patterns and comparison of both human and physical processes as well as the features present in chosen locations. This abstract concept is made concrete through studying and comparing the Lake District, Tatra mountains of Poland and the Blue mountains of Jamaica. Physical processes such as orogeny and glaciation are acquired to explain significant change over long periods of time. The concept of physical process is revisited through a study of Earthquakes, mountains and volcanoes. This depth study allows pupils the opportunity to have a more sophisticated knowledge of physical processes and make connections about how the environment has been shaped, as a result.

Settlement, trade and economic activities are the focus of a study that draws upon the Windrush generation module in CUSP History in Year 6. This develops an increasing knowledge about migration and the factors that push people away or draw people towards settlements. Within these studies, pupils make relational connections between settlements and physical or human features. Settlements such as ports or major world cities are studied to explain the reasons why certain places are populated and why. Disciplinary knowledge supports pupils to reason and explain the effect of change on a place, drawing on prior substantive knowledge they can retrieve and reuse.

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