What We Do

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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 exists across continents. And in the end, it’s about using all that knowledge to bridge divides and bring people together.

Barack Obama


Through the teaching of Geography we want pupils not only to gain a working location knowledge of the world around us, but to gain a deeper understanding of the natural and human world. We want to support pupils to develop problem solving and investigative skills while promoting the continued use of natural curiosity and fascination of the diverse cultures and the world around them. By the time pupils leave Baydon we want to have increased children’s interest and understanding about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes.


At Baydon we will deliver a curriculum that:

• Inspires curiosity and fascination about the world and its people.
• Equips children with an understanding of diverse places, people, resources and environments.
• Allows children to build on prior learning about physical and human processes and the formation and use of landscapes and environments.
• Develops an understanding that the Earth’s physical features are interconnected and change over time.
• Encourages exploration of their own environment and supports children to make connections between their local surroundings and that of contrasting settlements.
• Systematically develops the disciplinary knowledge of: asking enquiry questions, collecting, analysing and interpreting data through fieldwork; interpreting maps, diagrams, globes and aerial photographs; communicating geographical information in a variety of ways, evaluating and debating ideas and the impact of processes, phenomena and humans on the world.

Geography is taught throughout the school to all year groups.  The aims and objectives from the 2014 National Curriculum have been taken and covered through our four year rolling long term plan which aims, whenever possible, to derive and relate to other curriculum areas to provide pupils with a more in depth and cohesive view of their areas of learning.


Substantive knowledge sets out the subject-specific content that is to be learned – i.e. the geography National Curriculum. It is the ‘know what’ and ‘know how’ of geography. This can be divided into Declarative knowledge (‘know what’) and procedural knowledge (‘know how’). Declarative knowledge includes: locational knowledge, place knowledge, and human and physical processes – i.e. they are the facts of geography that can be declared. Declarative knowledge enables pupils to ‘know like a geographer’. The fourth substantive knowledge strand of the National Curriculum is ‘Geographical skills and fieldwork’, which can be termed procedural knowledge – this about ‘knowing how to do geography’ (e.g. knowing how to draw a map; knowing how to conduct a survey; knowing how to measuring rainfall).

Disciplinary knowledge considers how substantive knowledge originates, is debated and is revised – i.e. how we create, contest and evaluate substantive knowledge over time. Disciplinary knowledge tells us how we know what we know; it is through disciplinary knowledge that pupils learn the practices of geographers. It gives an insight into the ways that geographers think – how they question, collect, analyse, interpret, evaluate, communicate and debate, and in doing so, how the facts of geography are established and revised. In other words, disciplinary knowledge is about understanding how to think about and find out about the world geographically. Disciplinary knowledge enables one to ‘think like a geographer’. Strands of the curriculum that come under the umbrella of disciplinary knowledge include:

  1. Asking geographical enquiry questions.
  2. Collecting, analysing and interpreting data through fieldwork and related activities.
  3. Interpreting a range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes, aerial photographs and GIS.
  4. Analysing data and communicating geographical information in a variety of ways, including through constructing maps, charts and graphs, and writing at length.
  5. Critically evaluating and debate the impact of geographical processes.
  • Examples of disciplinary knowledge include:
  1. We know there is global warming by measuring temperatures, plotting graphs and analysing them.
  2. We know about settlement patterns by observing them in the field, drawing maps and analysing then.
  3. We know about the water cycle by observing elements of it in the natural world, applying scientific knowledge, and creating geographical diagrams to explain it.

Procedural knowledge and disciplinary knowledge overlap considerably in geography.  They overlap because essentially, it is through knowing how to conduct fieldwork and interpret a range of geographical information (procedural knowledge) that geographers learn the disciplinary knowledge of how substantive knowledge is created and contested over time.

The graphic below, taken from the Ofsted Research Review: Geography 2021, identifies each form of geographical knowledge and the relationships between them.

Our 4 year rolling programme showing substantive and disciplinary knowledge for our current year:

KS1-Rolling-Year-B-Geography 2023 2024

KS2-Rolling-Year-B-Geography 2023 2024


  • Our enquiry-based approach centres each unit of work on overreaching concepts of: space, place and environment.
  1. Place – a specific part of the Earth’s surface that has been named and given meaning by people, although these meanings may differ. Places range in size from the home and locality to a major world region.
  2. Space – the three-dimensional surface of the Earth. While historians study change over time, geographical study emphasises differences across space. This is of particular interest in understanding the rich diversity of environments, peoples, cultures and economies that exist together on the surface of the Earth.
  3. Environment- means our living and non-living surroundings. The features of the environment can be classified as natural, managed, or constructed. The concept of environment provides a powerful way of understanding, explaining and thinking about the world.

Through lessons pupils are given opportunities to learn and practice use of geographical vocabulary, to collect, analyse and present a range of data,  to understand the actions of important geographical processes (and how they relate to give rise to the key physical and human geographical features of the world), of how geographical processes are interdependent and how they bring about variation and change to the geographical landscape, to use and interpret a wide range of sources of geographical information (including maps, diagrams, globes and aerial photographs), and to develop age-appropriate, accurate knowledge of the location, physical and human characteristics of a wide range of globally significant places including terrestrial and marine locations.

Geography in EYFS:

Understanding of the world educational programme (taken from the EYFS framework 2024)

Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community. The frequency and range of children’s personal experiences increases their knowledge and sense of the world around them – from visiting parks, libraries and museums to meeting important members of society such as police officers, nurses and firefighters. In addition, listening to a broad selection of stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems will foster their understanding of our culturally, socially, technologically and ecologically diverse world. As well as building important knowledge, this extends their familiarity with words that support understanding across domains. Enriching and widening children’s vocabulary will support later reading comprehension.

Early learning goals that link to geography are:

EYFS Understanding the world

ELG People, culture and communities

  • Describe their immediate environment using knowledge from observation, discussion, stories, non-fiction texts and maps.
  • Explain some similarities and differences between life in this country and life in other countries, drawing on knowledge from stories, non-fiction texts and – when appropriate – maps.

In foundation stage pupils will:

  • Look at and talk about where they live.
  • Learn that they to school in Baydon, which is in England.
  • Talk about different places that they visit eg the park, the beach, the farm, and can talk about some of the similarities and differences.
  • Explore maps and make their own maps (often linked to stories such as ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’).
  • Listen to stories which are set in different places, particularly different countries – this gives the opportunity to talk about how other countries are similar and different.
  • Explore different places through some of our topics (eg animals – explore the different places they might live; space – learn what it looks like, feels like, what you can see etc; festivals/celebrations – learn about celebrations in other countries and this country eg Chinese New Year, Diwali, Eid).
  • Have on display a large map of the world, on which we can link flags of countries from our topics and stories, put labels for land, sea, countries and places of interest that come up in our stories and topics.

Geography in KS1 and KS2    

When teachers plan Geography in KS1 and KS2 they:

  • Ensure that key geography concepts are explored and developed within a framework of practical, enquiry-based and collaborative geography lessons.
  • Check prior learning has been retained by starting lessons with a review of prior learning.
  • Introduce the learning outcome of the lesson, making links to both the wider learning journey (concepts), the enquiry question and the real world.
  • Model and develop key concepts to cement knowledge, using the “I do, we do, you do” pedagogical structure, ensuring that teacher modelling is built around appropriate success criteria. This breaks larger concepts or ideas into smaller ‘bite-size’ chunks.
  • Practise procedural knowledge regularly.
  • Use concrete and pictorial models and analogies to help pupils develop a deeper understanding of geography concepts.
  • Maximise engagement, learning and progress through regular use of cold calling, paired and collaborative activities and a range of teaching approaches.
  • Build in regular checks for understanding during lessons, including through targeted questioning, addressing misconceptions quickly and remodelling where necessary.
  • Check priority knowledge has been retained to the working memory at the end of every lesson.
  • Ensure a focus on target geography language to enable pupils to articulate geography concepts with accuracy in both the spoken and written word.
  • Ensure pupils take pride in their written work, continually focus on their handwriting and quality of diagrams
  • Promote a love of physical geography, human geographical processes and maps.
  • Provide opportunities for subject-specific enrichment both inside and outside of school.
  • Use the enquiry approach to support the development of pupils’ disciplinary knowledge.
  • Use trips and visits from experts who will enhance the learning experience


Adapting the curriculum for pupils with SEND in geography

  • Adaptive teaching takes place.
  • For sensory or physically impaired pupils, geography learning may necessitate enlarging texts, using clear fonts, using visual overlays, or audio description of images.
  • Dyslexic pupils may benefit from well-spaced print.
  • Teachers identify and break down the components of the subject curriculum into manageable chunks for pupils who find learning more difficult, particularly those with cognition and learning needs. These may be smaller ‘steps’ than those taken by other pupils to avoid overloading the working memory.
  • A variety of additional scaffolds may be used in lessons, such vocabulary banks, additional visual stimuli or adult support.

In ensuring high standards of teaching and learning in geography, we implement a curriculum that is coherent and progressive throughout the whole school. Geography is taught through a thematic based approach. The themes are worded as questions for the children to investigate and answer. They range from for example ‘What if meercats wanted to live in Iceland?’ in KS1 to ‘Why should rainforests be important for us all’ in KS2. These questions have been carefully chosen to ensure coverage of National Curriculum and also consider the school’s location, context and the children’s interests.

Throughout these themes as well as the disciplinary concepts being taught (the foundations of the curriculum) the substantive concepts of Physical Geography, Cartography, Settlements, Climate, Interdependence, Boundaries and Resources are taught. These concepts thread our curriculum together.  As the children move through each year group, they will be supported to make connections to what they have previously been taught.  This year we have been working on adding easily recognisable symbols to these key concepts, to make them accessible for all children.


The impact and measure of this is to ensure that children at Baydon are equipped with geographical vocabulary and knowledge that will enable them to be ready for the curriculum at Key Stage 3 and for life as an adult in the wider world. We want the children to have thoroughly enjoyed learning about geography, therefore encouraging them to undertake new life experiences now and in the future.