Water Leys

Primary School


Geography at Water Leys Primary School


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

President Barack Obama

Intent – What we are trying to achieve?

• At Water Leys, we seek to inspire in children a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people which will remain with them for the rest of their lives, equipping them well for further education and beyond.

• We believe that Geography helps to provoke and provide answers to questions about the natural and human aspects of the world.

• Children are encouraged to develop a greater understanding and knowledge of the world, as well as their place in it.

• The geography curriculum at Water Leys Primary School enables children to develop knowledge that is transferable to other curriculum areas and which can and is used to promote their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.

• Geography is, by nature, an investigative subject, which develops an understanding of concepts, knowledge and skills.

• The curriculum is designed to ensure that teaching equips 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 through the school, their growing knowledge about the world helps 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 is progressive and is sequenced to provide the framework and approaches that provide explanation of how the Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and change over time.

Implementation – How do we translate our vision into practice?

• Geography at Water Leys is taught in blocked themes throughout the year. Every year group has a timetabled teaching slot as part of our broad and balanced curriculum.

• At Water Leys we use a commercial Scheme of work that forms the basis of our Geography curriculum. This has been adapted to meet the local needs of our learners. For example, through the study of ‘The Saffron Brook’ as part of the Y5 Rivers topic or the study of our local area in Years 1 and 4.

• Subject Leaders have worked carefully with teachers to identify the key knowledge in each topic (Our Water Leys Rocks) and these are mapped across the school, ensuring that knowledge builds progressively. This enables our pupils to know more, do more and remember more. Through the development of our ROCKs and with the support of the scheme of work, teachers have developed their own subject knowledge to become ‘Geography Experts’.

• Themes have been planned to ensure that knowledge is built sequentially. This ensures that the pupils are secure in their prior knowledge, enabling them to deepen their understanding. The Geography curriculum has also been planned to ensure that pupils are equipped with the locational knowledge and understanding of Physical geography required to deepen their understanding of our History themes. For example, in Year 6, our pupils learn about the human and physical geography of Mexico before learning about the Mayans and in Year 2 our pupils learn about seas and coasts before undertaking a historical study of seasides past and present.

• Existing knowledge is assessed and activated at the beginning of each topic. This ensures that teaching is informed by the children’s starting points and allows pupils to regularly revisit learning to ensure that it is remembered in the long term.

• Tasks are selected and designed to provide appropriate challenge to all learners, in line with the school’s commitment to inclusion.

• At the end of each theme, key knowledge is reviewed by the children and checked by the teacher through end of theme quizzes.

• The local area is fully utilised to achieve the desired outcomes, with extensive opportunities for learning outside the classroom embedded in practice. For example, educational visits, conducting river studies, trips to parks, castles and using map reading skills during residential visits.


Impact – What is the impact of our curriculum on the students?

Our geography curriculum is high quality, well thought out and is planned to demonstrate progression. We focus on progression of knowledge and of discreet vocabulary throughout our themes. Children will deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes and how this affects landscapes and environments.

We measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:

• Assessing children’s understanding of topic linked vocabulary before, during and after the theme is taught.

• Images and videos of the children’s practical learning.

• Interviewing the pupils about their learning (pupil voice).

• Moderation staff meetings where pupil’s books are scrutinised and there is the opportunity for a dialogue between teachers to understand their class’s work.

• Annual reporting of standards across the curriculum.

• Marking of written work in books. Through high quality teaching, we develop the following essential characteristics of geographers:

  • An excellent knowledge of where places are and what they are like, both in Britain and the wider world.
  • A comprehensive understanding of the ways in which places are interdependent and interconnected
  • An extensive base of geographical knowledge and vocabulary.
  • Excellent fieldwork skills as well as other geographical aptitudes and techniques.
  • The ability to express well-balanced opinions, rooted in very good knowledge and understanding about current issues in society and the environment.
  • A genuine interest in the subject and a real sense of curiosity about the world and the people who live here.

Whole School Curriculum Map - Geography



Autumn 1

Spring 1

Summer 1


What is a Map?

Town and Country

Life in other countries

Year 1


Where Do I Live – Locality Study

The Four Seasons

At the Farm

Year 2

Map Makers

Let's Explore London

Seas and Coasts

Year 3

Countries of the World

Village Settlers

Italy Today

Year 4

The United Kingdom

Investigating Coasts

Investigating Our Local Area

Year 5

Our European Neighbours


(The River Nile)

Where Does Our Food Come From?

Year 6

Latin America

South America and Mexico

Natural Resources

Exploring Africa