Geography (Explore)

‘Geography underpins a lifelong ‘conversation’ about the earth as the home of humankind’

Geography Association


At Burston and Tivetshall Primary Schools, we believe in the power of geography to ignite curiosity and fascination about the world. Through the study of diverse cultures, landscapes, and environments, our children develop a profound understanding that helps them navigate the world around them.

In alignment with the National Curriculum, our students delve into the intricate web of diverse places, people, resources, and the fundamental processes shaping our Earth. As they progress, their growing knowledge enables them to explore the interplay between physical and human processes, as well as the formation and utilization of landscapes and environments.

Our Approach:

Curriculum Coverage: Our geography curriculum serves as both mirrors and windows for our students. Mirrors reflecting their own experiences, and windows providing them with a glimpse into the lives and stories of diverse people. We select subject content from the National Curriculum and craft in-depth geographical studies that reflect the unique character of our community.

Curriculum Progression: Our geography curriculum comprises four interconnected strands of knowledge:

  1. Procedural Knowledge: This strand represents the skills of a geographer and is vertically integrated into our curriculum. Students revisit and deepen their understanding as they progress through different year groups. For instance, they learn how to analyze geographical sources, starting in year one and advancing to more complex sources as they move through school. The SOLO taxonomy supports this process, enabling students to master the curriculum.

  2. Disciplinary Knowledge: Disciplinary knowledge encompasses the ways in which geography is understood, organized, debated, and generated. It is represented by significant, organizing concepts that form the foundation of a geographical approach to understanding the world.

    The 'Big Ideas' that underlie disciplinary knowledge include:

    • Space: Understanding specific geographical points on the Earth's surface.
    • Place: Comprehending the physical and human characteristics of a location and the meaning attached by humans.
    • Cultural Understanding and Diversity: Appreciating differences and similarities between people, places, environments, and cultures.
    • Interdependence: Understanding the social, economic, environmental, or political connections between places.
    • Sustainability: Exploring sustainable development and its impact on environmental interaction.
    • Scale: Recognizing different scales, from personal and local to national, international, and global.
    • Change: Understanding how sequences of events and activities in the physical and human worlds lead to change in places, landscapes, and societies.

    Disciplinary knowledge is explicitly taught to illustrate how geographers utilize these 'Big Ideas' to focus on specific aspects of study and their interconnectedness. The same 'Big Ideas' are taught, revisited, and referred to in every year group as students progress through school.

  3. Substantive Knowledge: Substantive knowledge represents the geographical content taught in each year group, presented as specific 'learning outcomes.' Selection of content highlights and celebrates the heritage of our students, with a focus on representation and sensitivity to our community.

  4. Substantive Concepts: These are specific terms that may not have fixed meanings, often context-dependent. In geography, they include concepts like Water, Migration, or Climate. Substantive concepts appear throughout the curriculum and are explored in different year groups through various aspects of geography, fostering familiarity and confidence to support future learning.

Repetition and Retrieval: Our Geography curriculum emphasizes repetition to enhance students' retention and understanding. Procedural and disciplinary knowledge strands are revisited and developed in each class from year one to year six. Substantive concepts are repeated in multiple year groups to develop resonance. Key concepts are defined and contextualized to facilitate immediate understanding and broader comprehension of geography as a discipline.

Throughout geography projects, substantial knowledge is shared with students, with specific learning outcomes guiding what students should know and remember. Retrieval practice is incorporated to revisit and reinforce key knowledge.

Long-term retrieval opportunities are provided by revisiting project materials beyond the term of study, allowing students to recall previously learned content and further embed it in their long-term memory.

Assessment: Assessment in Geography goes beyond memorizing facts, names, or places. We assess students' ability to apply their knowledge through a final assessment piece at the end of each project. This assessment includes an unseen source related to the area of geography studied. Students analyse the source using the knowledge and skills developed during the project, providing insights into their curriculum learning.

At our school, we celebrate the richness of the world through geography, fostering curiosity and understanding, and preparing our students for a lifetime of exploration and appreciation of our planet.


knowledge and understanding is both consolidated and extended as pupils investigate the nature of environmental change in their local area and reach judgements as to the cost and benefits such change brings;

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