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Principles for Geography learning


Photo of pupils on the beachWe believe that Geography should provide an interesting and exciting part of the curriculum, allowing children to develop a sense of curiosity about the world that we live in and understanding their place in the world.


Investigation and application of geographical skills are at the heart of geography teaching and learning.





Spiritual, Moral, social and Cultural Values within Geography


At our school SMSC is embedded into every aspect of the curriculum. In geography this is through:



  • Understanding the differences in society and the world around them;


  • Inspiring a curiosity and fascination with the world and its people;


  • Understanding that they have a responsibility to look after the world around them;


  • A knowledge of diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments;


  • A deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes;


  • Exploring the role of the subject in their lives and how this has changed over time.


Spiritual Development:


In geography, the children are encouraged to ask questions about the world around them, promoting their natural curiosity and interest. Pupils imagine what it is like to live in different parts of the world and explore the concept that God made people to manage the world and cultivate it.


When exploring the environment, they make links with history and speculate on why the landscape is as it is. As pupils move through the school, they compare their lives with those of pupils living in other countries and consider the ways that they see their selves as part of the ‘global family’.


Moral development:


Pupils are encouraged to consider how people treat the environment and reflect on, ‘Who should look after our environment?’ An enthusiastic group of children, from Year 3 to Year 6, work towards maintaining the school’s Eco status and award. Pupils reflect on why it should matter to them what happens to other people. Class and school projects are set up to help those less fortunate in other areas of society or the world.


In Years 5 and 6, pupils are encouraged to consider questions regarding the environment such as, ‘Are some changes for the better and others for the worse?’ They question whether they can make a difference to something that is happening on the other side of the world and explore how they can help through communication with charities. Children may also pose questions such as, ‘How are we changing our surroundings? Who benefits and who suffers? What should our personal response be to these?’


Social development:


Collaborative tasks in pairs, groups or whole class activities ensure that children consider their social responsibility to their peers. They also consider their wider social responsibilities such as caring for the environment. Pupils reflect on whether it is important how they live their lives; whether they want to waste things or leave liter lying around and consider how they can help to make improvements to their local area.


Throughout the school, pupils are provided with positive and effective links to the wider community.

In fieldwork, children are encouraged to investigate links with the local community through use of questionnaires and data collection. They may, for example, consider the impact of traffic on the local area and tourism.


Cultural development:


At Thomas A Becket our pupils explore other countries and societies by making links with other countries through cultural theme days. Older pupils in the school may explore links through the British Council and European Union. Pupils are then able to reflect on similarities and differences between cultures.


Organisation of Geography learning


Geography learning at Thomas A Becket Junior is about investigating, exploring, comparing and understanding the diversity of the world that we live in. The Geography curriculum is organised into different areas:


Photo of pupils on the beachGeographical Study

  • Asking and responding to a range of geographical questions
  • Planning steps for enquiries
  • Collecting and recording evidence
  • Presenting information in a variety of ways
  • Analysing evidence and drawing conclusions
  • Considering social responsibility and diversity in cultures


Knowledge and Understanding

  • Recognising and comparing physical and human features
  • Understanding the effect of natural changes in the environment
  • Understanding the effect of humans on the environment
  • Comparing human and physical features
  • Understanding weather and climate: the poles, tropics and equator



  • Identifying and locating features and places on maps and globes and aerial photographs
  • Drawing maps and plans with keys and scales
  • Using compass points to give and follow directions
  • Using grid references and co-ordinates



  • Drawing, annotating and evaluating sketches for evidence


Skills Development in Geography


Geography skills and knowledge are taught side by side in the geography curriculum, allowing children to become increasingly independent learners as they progress through the school.


In Year 3, children ask and answer questions about places. As they progress through the school, they begin to initiate their own investigations and enquiries. Different types of geographical enquiries, including comparisons of places, noticing patterns, interviewing and the use of primary and secondary sources of information will be modelled to and practised by the children. By the time children reach Year 6 they should be confident in choosing the appropriate method of enquiry, recording their results and drawing their own conclusions independently.


Assessing Geography Learning


Geography is assessed through classwork and discussions rather than test based. Children work in a variety of groupings depending on the activity and skill set or knowledge level already achieved. At the end of a unit of work the skills and knowledge demonstrated by each child will be assessed. Children also have the opportunity to reflect on their own learning during a unit of work and often set themselves new targets based on a combination of these assessments and reflections.


Enrichment of Geography Learning


The school’s extensive grounds offer children the opportunity to explore their local environment and field trips to Worthing and the surrounding area help to extend familiarity within the local area.


Children are also given the opportunity to join the Forest School Club, which uses facilities within the school grounds to explore nature, survival and bush craft, amongst other areas. 


Links with other local schools will ensure that the opportunities that are offered at Thomas A Becket Junior to support children’s learning in Geography are extended even further.