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The Teaching of Geography at St Mary and St Benedict



Geography is essentially about understanding the world we live in. It helps to provoke and provide answers to questions about the natural and human aspects of the world. At St Mary and St Benedict, children are encouraged to develop a greater understanding and knowledge of the world, as well as their place in it. The geography curriculum enables children to develop knowledge and skills that are transferrable to other curriculum areas. Geography is an investigative subject, which develops an understanding of concepts, knowledge and skills. At St Mary and St Benedict our intent, when teaching geography, is to inspire in children a curiosity and fascination about the world and people within it; to promote the children’s interest and understanding of diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes 


Our aims:

The objectives of teaching geography in our school are:

  • To enable children to gain knowledge and understanding of places in the world;
  • To increase children’s knowledge of other cultures and, in so doing, teach a respect and understanding of what it means to be a positive citizen in a multi-cultural country;
  • To allow children to learn graphic skills, including how to use, draw and interpret maps;
  • To enable children to know and understand environmental problems at a local, regional and global level;
  • To encourage in children a commitment to sustainable development, and an appreciation of what ‘global citizenship’ means;
  • To develop in children a variety of other skills, including those of enquiry, problem solving, computing, investigation, and that of presenting their conclusions in the most appropriate way.


Teaching Geography

We use a variety of teaching and learning styles in our geography lessons. We believe in whole-class teaching methods, and we combine these with enquiry-based research activities. We encourage children to ask as well as answer geographical questions. We offer them the opportunity to use a variety of data, such as maps, statistics, graphs, pictures, and aerial photographs, and we enable them to use computing in geography lessons where this serves to enhance their learning. Children take part in role-play and discussions, and they present reports to the rest of the class. They engage in a wide variety of problem-solving activities. Wherever possible, we involve the children in applied geographical activities, for example research of a local environmental problem, or use of the internet to investigate a current issue.


We recognise the fact that there are children of widely different geographical abilities in all classes, and we provide suitable learning opportunities for all children by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child. We achieve this by:

  • Setting tasks which are open-ended and can have a variety of responses;
  • Setting tasks of increasing difficulty working towards a mastery of the curriculum;
  • Providing resources of different complexity, according to the ability of the child;
  • Using learning support assistants to support the work of individual children or groups of children.


Assessment, Recording and Reporting

Children demonstrate their ability in geography in a variety of different ways. Younger children might, for example, dress up in costumes from different parts of the world, whilst older pupils might produce a PowerPoint presentation based on their exploration of African countries. Teachers will assess children’s work by making informal judgements during lessons. On completion of a piece of work, the teacher assesses the work and uses this information to plan future learning. Written or verbal feedback is given to the child to help guide his or her progress. Older children are encouraged to make judgements about how they can improve their own work.

We assess the children’s work in Geography while observing them working during lessons. By the end of each Key Stage the pupils should have developed an understanding and enjoyment of geography through activities taken from the Programmes of Study. Assessment of pupils’ progress will be made against the Geography Progress Map and particular milestones relevant to that key stage. Key learning for each unit has been identified and is shared with children through a knowledge organiser in their books, and there are ongoing 'spot checks' of pupils' learning to ensure that key knowledge is embedded.


The subject leader keeps samples of the children’s work in a portfolio which shows the expected level of achievement in geography in each year of the school.