Plaistow Hill Primary and Nursery School

Plaistow Hill Infant and Primary School

Everyday my daughter is very eager to tell me what she has learnt and is always excited to be going to school

Year 2 Parent

  • "Staff are kind, calm and encouraging - Ofsted, April 2022"
  • "Children flourish in an environment of genuine warmth and care - Ofsted, April 2022"
  • "Pupils in Key Stage 1 are confident, listen to each other, share and take turns - Ofsted, April 2022"
  • "Parents and carers praise the work of the school - Ofsted, April 2022"
  • "One parent expressed the view of many with the comment 'the atmosphere and attitude of all the staff is incredible' - Ofsted, April 2022"
  • "The outdoor learning environment is used effectively to help children co-operate with each other and practise their number knowledge and skills - Ofsted, April 2022"
  • "Pupils are happy at Plaistow Hill Infant and Nursery School - Ofsted, April 2022"
Life at Plaistow Hill Primary and Nursery School Life at Plaistow Hill Primary and Nursery School Life at Plaistow Hill Primary and Nursery School Life at Plaistow Hill Primary and Nursery School Life at Plaistow Hill Primary and Nursery School

Principles of the Geography Curriculum


Intent: Why Do We Teach What We Teach?

The United Curriculum for Geography provides all children, regardless of their background, with:


Substantive Knowledge

  • Gradual Knowledge Building: Relevant and coherent knowledge of the world is built progressively from EYFS to Year 6 and beyond.
  • Three Geographical Concepts:
    • Space and Place: Understanding space through location, distribution, pattern, and distance. Developing a sense of place and character through identity, home, community, landscapes, and diversity with global case studies.
    • Physical Processes: Learning how Earth's natural processes shape and change its surface, covering geology, Earth science, and environmental science aspects, such as weather and climate change. These concepts are also threaded through the science curriculum.
    • Human Processes: Understanding processes related to people, including resource use, population and community changes, and features of economy and development.
  • Balanced Global View: Providing a balanced view of the countries of the world to address or prevent misconceptions and negative stereotypes.
  • Disciplinary Knowledge: Explicit teaching of core geographical skills and the ability to approach challenging, valid questions through geographical enquiry, making links to relevant mathematics and science knowledge.
  • Fieldwork Opportunities: Undertaking purposeful fieldwork, both outside the classroom and virtually, to practice relevant skills or reinforce knowledge.


Strands of the United Curriculum for Geography

Substantive Knowledge (Conceptual and Procedural)

  • Conceptual Knowledge: Core geographical facts, such as understanding that biomes are large ecosystems with specific species.
  • Procedural Knowledge: Skills of being a geographer, such as using different types of maps or interpreting and constructing graphs.

Disciplinary Knowledge

  • Geographical Enquiry Skills: Organised to cover enquiry and fieldwork, making comparisons, interconnections, and forming judgements.

Vertical Concepts

  • Abstract Ideas: Building gradually with increasing depth across various contexts as children progress through the curriculum.


Geography in Context

Geography is taught in 6-lesson units, once a term, alternating with history. The curriculum is sequenced to make meaningful links between subjects, allowing connections to be made. For example, children learn about Viking migration in history to build on their understanding of migration in geography.


Local Adaptations

  • Year 1: Learning about maps and plans, locating the school within the local area, and devising a route to school using key local features.
  • Year 2: Extending local geography knowledge through fieldwork on community-relevant issues.
  • Year 3: Using OS maps to identify human and physical features of the local area.
  • Year 5: Addressing fair trade and the availability of imported food using locational knowledge. (From 2025)
  • Year 6: Undertaking a neighbourhood environmental investigation and an inquiry of the pupil’s choice within the locality. (From 2026).

High-quality teaching incorporates rich and varied discussions about the children’s knowledge and experiences to provide depth to their geographical learning.


Implementation: What Do We Teach and When?

Structured Content

  • Building on Schemas: Content is methodically built on over time. For example, map skills start in early years with identifying local features, progress to using directional vocabulary in KS1, and advance to using map symbols and grid references in KS2.

Using Vertical Concepts

  • Connecting Learning: Concepts like migration link to population structures, natural hazards, and types of settlement to understand why people move.

Extended Writing

  • Writing as Geographers: Children engage in scholarly writing with clear purposes and audiences, such as discussing the hazards and benefits of living near a volcano.

Impact: How Do Children Show That They Know and Remember More?

Measuring Progress

The progression model is based on careful sequencing and building of concepts over time. If children keep up with the curriculum, they are making progress.

Formative Assessment

  • Lesson Questioning: Teachers check understanding to fill gaps and address misconceptions.
  • Pupil Conferencing: Subject leads and SLT talk to children about their learning, discussing how it connects to previously learned concepts and other subjects.
  • Post-Learning Quizzes: End-of-unit quizzes assess knowledge retention and identify any remaining gaps.
  • Pre-Learning Quizzes: These assess prior knowledge needed for new content, helping teachers plan to fill any gaps before teaching new units.

Our aim is to ensure children consistently build on their knowledge and skills, becoming confident and competent in geography.