Witton Gilbert Primary School


In this section of the website, you will find information about our approach to teaching Geography at Witton Gilbert Primary School.Geography Subject Progression


At Witton Gilbert Primary School, we want every child to leave our school as inspired and enthusiastic geographers. This will be achieved through the exciting and interesting experiences they will have in this subject area, throughout the years that they are with us. We aim to promote a love of learning in Geography, as children are given the tools and guidance they need to progress their skills.

Children are taught by enthusiastic and vibrant staff to meet the National Curriculum expectations in Geography. They support the children to develop mastery of concepts and encourage a positive attitude and keen interest in this subject.

Geography is taught through half-term units of work planned regularly through the year. We provide opportunities for children to extend the children’s learning in this subject beyond the classroom through visits within local environment; school trips to places of geographical interest and residential visits.

At our school we want children to develop a deep understanding of the subjects that they study. They are encouraged to use their prior knowledge to solve problems to deepen their understanding of Geography.

Children will understand how Geography relates to British Values (e.g. Food miles and the importance of looking after our global word and our responsibility to do this.) Lessons, assemblies, working parties and experiences beyond the classroom contribute to deepening this understanding.

Human and physical Geography are a fundamental part of Geographical teaching. Children gain appropriate working knowledge of locality and conduct meaningful fieldwork.

Through this subject, we want our children to develop a good understanding and appreciation of the world, learning skills that they can not only apply to other subjects but throughout life.

Characteristics of a geographer

  • A strong knowledge of where places are and what they are like.
  • A good understanding of how human and physical environments are connected and ways in which places are interdependent and interconnected.
  • Has a wide range of geographical knowledge and vocabulary.
  • Fluency in complex, geographical enquiry and the ability to apply questioning skills and use effective analytical and presentational techniques.
  • The ability to develop a reasoned argument to explain findings, allowing them to reach clear conclusions.
  • To show originality, imagination and creativity in their approach to the subject.
  • Highly developed and frequently utilised fieldwork and other geographical skills and techniques.
  • A passion for and commitment to the subject, and a real sense of curiosity to find out about the world and the people who live there.
  •  To have an excellent knowledge and understanding of current geographical issues in society and the environment, allowing them to express a well-balanced opinion based on this.

Intent Linked to our School Values

Childhood and Play
Through geography, we seek to provide first hand opportunities for children to explore and investigate the natural world around them and understand their space and role within it.

We encourage a responsible approach to our environment and our ability to affect the conditions of others.

Our children are taught about the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Goals and are actively participants in global research and campaigning to improve our world environments.

Respect for Ourselves and our Environment
All classes take part in the World’s Largest Lesson in which they campaign for equality for all; rights to clean water and food; equal education and employment opportunities; respecting the seas and varied landscapes across the globe.

Our classes elect environmental representatives who represent their views as Eco Group.

Our understanding of nature is deepened within each class through class planting beds.

Equality and Diversity
Our school is committed to ensuring that all children will have access to an exciting, appropriate and inspiring curriculum that will support their progress and achievement.

Perseverance and Resilience
Through investigation and field work activities, children will learn that geographers must show perseverance and experience failure in order to succeed.

Collaboration and Cooperation
Many geographical tasks and activities involve groups of children in collaboration.  They must work together to take on specific roles and cooperation to reach agreed conclusions.


Regular curriculum hours in Geography are planned in school. Timetables and long-term plans are put in place before the academic year and monitored by the Senior Leadership Team of the school.

The Geography subject leader meets with the senior leadership team and other teaching members of staff, throughout the year, to ensure that the teaching and learning in Geography is good or better. Staff will also be offered opportunities for coaching and training in Geography, where appropriate and if needed.

Geography is taught individually as a subject. Lessons provide high quality learning opportunities and are delivered by experienced staff to ensure all children are developed appropriately. Teachers work with Geography subject lead to ensure consistency and progression is made throughout each Key Stage.

In Early Years, we provide opportunities for children to interact with their environment — and recognise how the environment influences them. The early learning goals at EYFS aim to ensure children are able to make sense of their physical world and their community by exploring, observing, and finding out about people, places, technology and the environment.

In Key Stage 1, children begin to develop a geographical vocabulary by learning about where they live, as well as one other small area of the United Kingdom and a small area in a contrasting non-European country. They learn about weather patterns in the United Kingdom and hot and cold areas of the world. They use ICT, world maps, atlases and globes, simple compass directions, aerial photographs and plans, as well as simple fieldwork and observational skills.

In Key Stage 2, the geography curriculum builds and expands on previous knowledge through three focus areas:

  • Locational knowledge
  • Place knowledge
  • Human and physical geography

Locational knowledge examines latitude, longitude and time zones. Children use maps to focus on Europe, North and South America, concentrating on regions, key physical / human characteristics, countries, and major cities. They locate the counties and cities of the United Kingdom, and start to explore their human and physical characteristics.

Children also examine geographical similarities and differences by comparing the geography of a region of the United Kingdom with a region in a European country, and with a region in South America. This is part of the place knowledge aspect of the curriculum.

For human and physical geography, children are taught to describe and understand key aspects of geography, for example: climate zones, rivers, mountains, volcanoes, earthquakes, the water cycle, types of settlement, economic activity and the distribution of natural resources.

Teachers plan lessons to enable pupils to remember long term the content being taught and to enable them to apply new knowledge into larger ideas. Within planning, teachers build on prior learning and plan in steps to ensure appropriate progression is made towards future learning. Links are identified within Knowledge Batons. Prior learning is reviewed at the start of units and children are encouraged to make connections with other units of Geography studied. As they progress through school, children become more confident at explaining connections.

Subject-specific vocabulary is clearly identified within planning and specifically taught within lessons. Children are taught to incorporate this language within their own answers and displays support the gain of language.

School trips take place to various places of Geographical interest such as local Dene visits; practical fieldwork opportunities and residential visits to places of outstanding natural importance and cities. Innovative use of technology will be put in place, providing a vast range of learning opportunities.

The use of links to local people and places is encouraged so that children understand the relevance of the subject and recognise its impact on them.

High quality teaching responds to the needs of all children. Formative assessment takes place during and after lessons to identify children’s misconceptions early and improve understanding and progression in this subject.

Educational resources and high-quality input from experts support delivery of specialist learning in this subject e.g. Outward Bounds practitioners, OASES specialists, work with local naturalists.

Reading is always a top priority as it enables all pupils to access the full curriculum on offer. Reading is developed through Geography using a range of books exploring environmental themes.

At Witton Gilbert Primary, we want to promote aspirations for the future. Through learning, children develop an understanding of how subjects and specific skills are linked to future jobs.

Here are some of the jobs you could aspire to do in the future as a Geographer:

  • Marine Biologist
  • Helicopter Mission Controller
  • Forester
  • Farmer
  • Geography Teacher
  • Architects.

Cultural Capital in Geography

Cultural Capital is the accumulation of knowledge, behaviours, skills and experiences that gives us the confidence to be able to talk, communicate, progress and take a full part in our community and wider world.  At Witton Gilbert Primary school, we promote equality through our commitment to developing cultural capital for all our children.

Children will learn about:

  • Areas of significant geographical interest including: local environments, the Antarctic, Kenya, Italy and its volcanoes, South America
  • Local places e.g. Witton Gilbert village study, visit to local dene, visit to neighbouring village & services – Sacriston Library
  • Visit to local city e.g. Durham or Newcastle

They will also experience the following during Key Stage 2:

  • Meeting and talking to geography specialists including outdoor specialists working closely within environment e.g. Field Studies Council, Outward Bounds
  • Fieldwork to a place of local interest e.g. visits to Witton Gilbert Dene.
  • Visit to at least one county and city in the UK e.g.Newcastle, Edinburgh,
  • Use of computer software identify places in the world and understand their key physical and human characteristics e.g. Google maps, Google Earth, Digimaps
  • Use of navigational / GPS systems – Y5 residential, Y6 residential


Children have a positive attitude towards geography and are enthusiastic learners. They experience a wide range of challenges within this subject area and respond to them with confidence.

Through Geography, children strengthen their ability to make informed choices regarding current environmental issues e.g. limiting the use of plastics, and recycling them and food miles. Children also strengthen their appreciation of their roles and responsibilities to look after and protect the world around us.

Children are enthusiastic about their learning in Geography. They are keen to develop their knowledge and understanding in this subject, in the next stages of their education. Progress is evident in children of all abilities and backgrounds as they achieve well in Geography.

Geography development plans have a clear outcome and focus that drive improvement in the subject.

Fundamental British Values are evident in Geography and children understand how it can celebrate difference.

Children are increasingly able to communicate how geography influences our everyday lives and are able to contribute positively to debates and discussions about how to improve our environment and lives in the future.