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“The study of geography is about more than just memorizing places on a map. It’s about understanding the complexity of our world”

– President Barack Obama

Subject Lead: Miss Hopps


At St Joseph’s, the key driver words for our curriculum are embedded in the teaching of geography.  This applies to the skills, knowledge and understating that children acquire.  In geography children are:

  • Respectful learners when they listen to geographical explanations and reasons given by the teacher and other children.
  • Reflective when they look for geographical connections and patterns within and across concepts.
  • Resilient when they research a geographical area and apply deep learning via an enquiry led approach

At St Joseph’s, we have designed a broad, balanced, progressive and challenging curriculum, which is accessible to all. It has been designed to maximise the development of every child’s ability and academic achievement.  As our pupils’ progress, we intend our children to understand the world, have the ability to question and research geography questions and facts, explore fieldwork skills all with a sense of enjoyment and curiosity.

Our geography curriculum aims to inspire children to be geographers as they develop and understanding of their local geography, the geography of their country and the wider world. Through the teaching and learning in geography our children will:

  • Develop contextual knowledge of the location, the physical and human characteristics of places in their own town, county, country and around the word. This knowledge enables them to enquire what? How? And why?
  • be challenged and make meaningful, purposeful links as they collect, analyse and communicate data linked to their fieldwork studies which enables them to have a deep geographical understanding.
  • develop curiosity and creativity by being guided through an enquiry led approach to finding out about the places they are learning about but also the maps, diagrams, globes, aerial views and images, such as Google Maps
  • develops a sense of community where children share their research skills and findings
  • develop a supportivehonest and friendly environment where children are prepared to take risks and secure a deep understanding.
  • understand about the diversity of places and people, the resources around the world and natural and man-made, together with a growing understanding of the key physical and human activity of the planet Earth. This enables them to develop and master lifelong learning skills that can be applied to a 21st century Britain.
  • stay motivated and committed believing they can do it!

Cultural Capital

The geography curriculum, at St Joseph’s, will offer children the opportunities to draw upon skills, behaviours and knowledge. To be able to do this, all pupils are:

  • given the opportunity to learn about their own town, county, country and places around the world including our links with primary schools in Poland and China.
  • They will learn about famous explorers, such as Captain Cook
  • able to visit places of local interest such Weardale and contrast with Newton Aycliffe to bring geography learning into a real context, as well as carrying out field studies at Ushaw College
  • Taught as cross-curricular understanding linking geographical events such as the earthquake in New Zealand with the understanding of the platonic plates and how Captain Cook made detailed maps before his voyages. These people become part of each class’ time line.


At St Joseph’s children geography topics are taught every term.  In order to aid children develop their geographical understanding, make connections and deepen their understanding we have designed a broad and balanced progressive curriculum which builds upon prior knowledge and develops new concepts.

Essential to effective teaching is the key question which teachers introduce at the start of the enquiry lead topic. This key question begins the enquiry led journey the children will take alongside the specific vocabulary (general and specific words linked to the geographical focus) they will develop.

All lessons at St Joseph’s are creative and engaging using the enquiry led approach which allows for child-initiated learning which is built upon from early learning in the Foundation Stage. Children will immerse themselves in the topic and become a geographer.  Children are encouraged to make links to prior learning either in their present year or from previous years. They develop their geographical knowledge via research, questioning and open discussions. It provides children with the opportunity to develop why? and why not? questions.  Throughout the lesson, children are given opportunities to discuss their geographical thinking with their partner and class and share where they have found their information. Importantly, the sharing of information. Throughout, and at the end of the topic, children have the opportunity to reflect upon their learning and make links to aspects learnt and queries for future learning.  Also, they further develop their geographical vocabulary. The majority of children progress through the lessons at the same pace.  Differentiation is achieved by emphasising deep knowledge and through individual support and intervention.


The quality of our geographical curriculum is reviewed and adapted on a regular basis so we are confident it meets the needs of all our pupils. The impact of geography is measured at St Joseph’s through a range of monitoring procedures. We monitor the quality of teaching on a regular basis providing CPD where needed, monitor and look in children’s books to see if key geography concepts have been taught, children have a deep understanding there is a sequential progression of skills.  In addition to this, discussions with teachers, pupils and parents are held.

Assessment is an essential part of measuring our geography curriculum.  Formative on going assessment is carried out to see if children have acquired relevant geography skills. This is then tracked on our whole school assessment sheets.  Moderation takes place in house, with Catholic clusters of schools, local clusters of schools and with the local authority.