Subject Leader: Sally McCulloch

Our Vision

Geography is a subject that is packed with excitement and wonder. It helps children gain a better understanding of our world’s people, places and environments, and the interactions between them. Geography helps children to understand how and why places are changing, and to better imagine, predict and work towards what the future may hold. Underpinning all of this is strong spatial awareness that deepens our understanding of what places are like, why and how they are connected.

This vision of geography is what our geography curriculum at Hartwell is built around. Through our carefully tailored curriculum, children will develop into explorers. We aim to excite children about the possibilities of what the world has in store for them to explore and experience. Children should leave Hartwell with: a sense of their place in the world, both culturally and physically; a desire to enquire into the world around them and the vocabulary necessary to communicate this effectively.

The Subject Leader

To ensure an effective geography curriculum, I monitor teaching and learning through lesson observations, book scrutinies and I gather pupil voice. This enables me to gain a solid picture of strengths and weaknesses in school and take action, where necessary. I also ensure teachers have the relevant resources to teach geography effectively. I am able to invest in high-quality resources for learners to use both inside and outside the classroom and online resources for teachers. This ensures teachers can plan exciting lessons for our children. Finally, as part of my role, I attend relevant CPD courses and disseminate any useful information to staff. I have enjoyed training the staff and keeping their skill set up to date so that they can teach as effectively as possible. This is usually in the form of staff meetings. The aim of these is to improve standards of teaching and learning. I feel it is important that teachers in school know that they can come and speak to me if they need guidance on anything to do with geography and I will always signpost them in the correct direction.

Pupil Voice

We believe that it is important to gather the children’s views about Geography, which can in return guide our provision. Click here to see our most recent pupil survey results and analysis:

Click here to see our SMSC in Geography

Click here to see our Geography School Development Plan 2022-2023

The Geography Curriculum at Hartwell

At Hartwell, the National Curriculum objectives are split into overarching topics. geography plays a varying role with some topics heavily focused on geography, such as ‘Rainforests’ in Year 6 which focuses on locational knowledge as well as factors that affect the rainforests and solutions for these. Nevertheless, where topics do not have a geography focus, targeted geography days take place to ensure a quality coverage on the NC units. The geography curriculum is designed to offer breadth and depth in both knowledge and skills. We feel this best prepares children for their future learning. However, a key driver in developing the geography curriculum was also enjoyment. As mentioned in the vision above, children should love their geography learning and teachers at Hartwell do all they can to make geography interesting for children.

The objectives for geography in KS1 and KS2 are clearly set out for each year group in the National Curriculum. They are as follows:

Key Stage 1

Pupils should be taught to:

Locational knowledge 

  • name and locate the world’s 7 continents and 5 oceans 
  • name, locate and identify characteristics of the 4 countries and capital cities of the United Kingdom and its surrounding seas 

Place knowledge 

  • understand geographical similarities and differences through studying the human and physical geography of a small area of the United Kingdom, and of a small area in a contrasting non-European country 

Human and physical geography 

  • identify seasonal and daily weather patterns in the United Kingdom and the location of hot and cold areas of the world in relation to the Equator and the North and South Poles 
  • use basic geographical vocabulary to refer to: 
  • key physical features, including: beach, cliff, coast, forest, hill, mountain, sea, ocean, river, soil, valley, vegetation, season and weather 
  • key human features, including: city, town, village, factory, farm, house, office, port, harbour and shop 

Geographical skills and fieldwork 

  • use world maps, atlases and globes to identify the United Kingdom and its countries, as well as the countries, continents and oceans studied at this key stage 
  • use simple compass directions (north, south, east and west) and locational and directional language [for example, near and far, left and right], to describe the location of features and routes on a map 
  • use aerial photographs and plan perspectives to recognise landmarks and basic human and physical features; devise a simple map; and use and construct basic symbols in a key 
  • use simple fieldwork and observational skills to study the geography of their school and its grounds and the key human and physical features of its surrounding environment 

Key Stage 2

Pupils should be taught to:

Locational knowledge 

  • locate the world’s countries, using maps to focus on Europe (including the location of Russia) and North and South America, concentrating on their environmental regions, key physical and human characteristics, countries, and major cities 
  • name and locate counties and cities of the United Kingdom, geographical regions and their identifying human and physical characteristics, key topographical features (including hills, mountains, coasts and rivers), and land-use patterns; and understand how some of these aspects have changed over time 
  • identify the position and significance of latitude, longitude, Equator, Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere, the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, Arctic and Antarctic Circle, the Prime/Greenwich Meridian and time zones (including day and night) 

Place knowledge 

  • understand geographical similarities and differences through the study of human and physical geography of a region of the United Kingdom, a region in a European country, and a region in North or South America 

Human and physical geography

  • describe and understand key aspects of: 
  • physical geography, including: climate zones, biomes and vegetation belts, rivers, mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes, and the water cycle 
  • human geography, including: types of settlement and land use, economic activity including trade links, and the distribution of natural resources including energy, food, minerals and water 

Geographical skills and fieldwork 

  • use maps, atlases, globes and digital/computer mapping to locate countries and describe features studied 
  • use the 8 points of a compass, 4- and 6-figure grid references, symbols and key (including the use of Ordnance Survey maps) to build their knowledge of the United Kingdom and the wider world 
  • use fieldwork to observe, measure record and present the human and physical features in the local area using a range of methods, including sketch maps, plans and graphs, and digital technologies 

Early Years Foundation Stage

We teach geography in reception as an integral part of the topic work covered during the year. The objectives that underpin this learning can be found in the Early Learning Goals (ELG’s). Geography makes a significant contribution to the ELG ‘Understanding of The World’ through activities such as going on walks in the local area, exploring the Salcey Forest and studying various exciting places in the world. The children are also given chance to discuss their own exciting geography discoveries, whether that be a holiday or somewhere they’ve seen in a book.

Useful Documents

Geography Policy

Geography Long Term Map

To see our progression document that all staff use click here

Vocabulary Lists for Ks1, LKS2 and UKS2

Early Years and Key Stage 1 Vocabulary

Lower Key Stage 2 Vocabulary

Upper Key Stage 2 Vocabulary

Useful Websites

Please click here to see useful Geography web links