“Geography explains the past, illuminates the present and prepares us for the future. What could be more important than that?”

Michael Palin


At English Martyrs, we believe in a high-quality geography curriculum that is accessible to all children and that will maximise the outcomes for every child so that they know more, remember more and therefore understand more. Our teaching of geography will help pupils gain a secure knowledge and understanding about the world around them and its people. The geography curriculum has been carefully designed and structured to allow the children to make links between current and previous learning. We have a particular focus on our locality which enables our children to develop a sense of identity and observe and record specific locations. This is why the local area is fully utilised to achieve the curriculum outcomes.
We want our children to be curious about the world, open-minded and also responsible for the actions and choices they make. Geography lessons at English Martyrs focus on working as geographers and developing geographical skills and there are many opportunities for the curriculum to be enriched through fieldwork.

Our aim is to stimulate the children’s interest and understanding about the world and its people so that they can make connections, draw parallels and use increasingly sophisticated explanations and reasoning which draws upon their knowledge.


Our geography planning carefully maps out the progression of knowledge and understanding and is connected by reference to substantive concepts. Substantive concepts thread through each year group, and are covered in a wide breadth of topics across the school, which allows the children to revisit and build on previous learning. Our children are able to explore content in increasing depth and complexity as they move through school. This approach allows connections to be made across the curriculum, whilst also developing the children’s understanding of what makes geography distinct and unique.

Substantive concepts

Settlements – The physical and human geographical characteristics of where people have chosen to live and work.

Trade – How people grow, extract and make food, drink, raw materials, goods, services and artefacts and how these are traded around the world. The infrastructure which supports trade and the economic implications of trade.

Water and Climate – How the Earth’s water is continually recycled and the impact of availability of water on how and where people live. How the Earth’s climate varies and is changing, in particular with regard to temperature and rainfall.

Tourism – How and why people visit and explore locations and different regions of the world and the economic impact of this on how and where people live.

Key knowledge and skills that children acquire and develop throughout each topic have been mapped out to ensure progression between year groups throughout the school. For topics which are revisited, for example continents and countries, which are reviewed each year, clear progression can be seen so that children are building on their previous knowledge. The STEM sentence, ‘because, so … ’ is revisited throughout school to challenge the children’s understanding of the connections between physical and human characteristics.

Teachers use a variety of teaching and learning styles in their geography lessons to develop pupils’ knowledge, skills and understanding. At English Martyrs we recognise the varying needs of all our learners, and through adaptive teaching staff ensure all lessons are accessible for all pupils, challenge is also carefully planned. Outcomes of the learning are regularly monitored to ensure that they reflect a sound understanding of the key identified knowledge.

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) follows the ‘Development Matters in the EYFS’ guidance which aims for all children in reception to have an ‘Understanding of the World: People and Communities, The World and Technology’ by the end of the academic year. We have used this guidance to inform our knowledge and skills progression maps for the Early Years. The children are given opportunities to know that some environments are different to the one they live in as well as explore the area around them and make observations and drawings of the natural world.


The geography curriculum at English Martyrs inspires in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Our children are equipped with the knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, in conjunction with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human resources. As our children progress, their growing knowledge about the world helps them to deepen their interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of environments and landscapes. Geographical knowledge, understanding and skills provide the frameworks and approaches that explain how the Earth’s features are shaped, interconnected and change over time.

Outcomes in geography books evidence a broad and balanced geography curriculum and demonstrate their acquisition of identified key knowledge.


Updated: 22/12/2023 121 KB
Updated: 22/12/2023 107 KB