Great Preston VC C of E Primary School

'I can do all things through him who strengthens me.’
Philippians 4.13


How Geography supports our school’s vision:

Geography at Great Preston will inspire in pupils a sense of curiosity and fascination about the world around them. We will support them to be active participants in the development of  their knowledge & understanding of the different people and places in the world. We will instil a sense of place in the children and evoke an emotional response to the stories of the people and places we learn about. Pupils will engage with the world through fieldwork. They will learn to respect their physical environment and how it is changing over time so that they can make wise and discerning choices in their learning and for their futures.

The geography curriculum at Great Preston has been carefully developed to meet the statutory requirements for the teaching of the geographical skills, knowledge and concepts as set out in the National Curriculum. The curriculum team have curated topics and detailed the skills, knowledge and concepts to be taught in each year group following continuing professional development training from the Geographical Association. The curriculum team have also implemented the advice within the planning documentation from the Geographical Association, the Royal Geographical Society and Ordnance Survey.

In developing our geography curriculum, the curriculum team have undertaken pupil and staff surveys and have considered the views of our pupils about their geography learning; specifically how we can support our pupils to, “think like a Geographer.” The curriculum team have considered the views of our teachers and audited our curriculum offer to ensure that geographical knowledge and skills are taught progressively and that learning is built upon to ensure that skills and concepts are mastered. The curriculum team have also considered the views of geography teachers within one of our local high schools to ensure that our pupils leave Great Preston Primary with mastery of the skills they need to be successful geographers.    

Geography curriculum aims 

At Great Preston our geography curriculum aims to provide for all pupils:

  • The substantive knowledge and skills that children need to develop their geographical thinking and to progressively, “think like a Geographer.”
  • To develop a sense of awe and wonder about the world around a genuine “need to know”.
  • The opportunity to develop their cultural capital through their engagement with the world by visiting places within our local area and places further away. Children will have the opportunity to learn about, discuss and experience first-hand different places through educational visits, and learn about different places and communities through class visitors and books.  
  • An understanding that the study of Geography is as much a study of people and communities as it is an inter-disciplinary study of scientific processes and natural phenomena.
  • The knowledge and skills children need to be able to ask questions and think critically in order to make decisions about their futures.
  • The understanding of how places and the world change, how the world has changed over time, and how people have played a part in this change. This includes studying environmental changes and the impact of climate change.
  • The study of diverse people, places and communities to understand the complexity and influence of human and physical processes, as well as how human activity relies on natural systems functioning effectively.  

The Geography curriculum at Great Preston categorises geographical knowledge as ‘concepts.’ The three overarching concepts are:

  • Space

This is defined as the location of points, features or regions in absolute or relative terms and the relationships that connect or define them.

  • Place

This is defined as a construct that describes what a place is like, what happens there, how and why a place is changing.

  • Scale

This is defined as the ‘zoom lens’ that allows us to view places from global to local levels. 

In addition to the overarching concepts, there are several principle concepts:

  • Interdependence
  • Physical and human processes
  • Environmental impact
  • Sustainable development
  • Cultural awareness
  • Cultural diversity

Our curriculum ensures that these concepts are taught and are revisited in subsequent year groups in order to link previously taught concepts to new knowledge.

Knowledge and skills:

The knowledge and skills taught at Great Preston are outlined in the National Curriculum for Geography. Our Geography long term plan also outlines the following four forms of geographical knowledge and details how they will be taught:   

  • Locational knowledge
  • Place knowledge
  • Environmental, physical and human geography
  • Geographical skills and fieldwork


Our Geography long term plan details a number of enquiry questions within each unit of work. The purpose of these questions is to develop the children’s disciplinary knowledge so that they are increasingly able to “think like a Geographer.” The development of questioning skills links to the concept of interconnection. For example, pupils will learn about a physical feature of a place as an entity itself, then they will be encouraged to think more broadly about its impact on a place. By asking questions such as ‘Where is this place?’ ‘What is it like?’ and ‘How did it get like this?’ Children are able to develop the knowledge they need to ask geographical questions and learn how geographers find answers.

The enquiry questions on the long term plan are provided as guidance to frame pupils’ thinking. However, as children develop the skill of questioning, they are encouraged to ask and answer their own questions. Pupils may initially use the question generator grids (detailed on the long term plan for geography) to develop the skill of questioning.    

Developing a sense of place

Our geography curriculum supports pupils to develop a ‘sense of place’ from the Early Years. As children develop and progress through school, they begin to form opinions and build associations with familiar places. This usually begins with a child’s home and then classroom and develops to include familiar routes and places they visit outside of school. Our geography curriculum recognises that children are able to make links between familiar places and relate their feelings and experiences of a familiar place to an unfamiliar place. Our curriculum recognises that from the Early Years children are developing key navigational and locational skills which are expanded upon as children progress through school, to develop a more conceptual understanding of place at a regional, national and global scale.



Geography Long Term Plan

The long term plan for Geography has been developed to meet the statutory requirements as set out in the National Curriculum. 

Geography Medium Term Plans

The curriculum team have devised medium term plans for each unit of work. Our medium term plans have been carefully planned to ensure that knowledge, concepts and skills are taught progressively throughout each year group and build upon prior learning year on year. Across the Geography curriculum as a whole; knowledge, concepts and skills are revisited to ensure that children are able to make links between what they have previously been taught and new knowledge in order to support children to know, understand and remember more. Similarly, we recognise the abstract nature of some of the subject matter when teaching children about faraway places. Therefore, we have devised our curriculum to ‘zoom in’ on the familiar first by learning in detail about an area or place that is familiar before ‘zooming out’ to study places, regions and countries in the wider world. It is important that our pupils are able to build knowledge from what is known or familiar in order to connect and remember different aspects of the curriculum in the longer term.

The team with responsibility for geography have developed medium term plans for each unit of work. Our medium term plans set out the concepts, skills and knowledge that will be taught. Class teachers can then develop a scheme of work using the Medium Term Plan which takes into account the needs and interests of their class. 

Example of a Medium Term Plan