Thomas Jolyffe Primary School

Thomas Jolyffe Primary School


Our vision for Geography @TJ...

We inspire children to look beyond the immediate area they live in, and develop their curiosity and interest in different places and environments in the wider world.


Our purpose is to instil an interest, fascination, respect and desire about different places and cultures, through investigating human and physical characteristics.


We provide children with opportunities to use a range of geographical skills and develop deep geographical knowledge as they move through the school. Skills are put into practice both through local fieldwork and trips.




We aim to fulfil the requirements of the National Curriculum for Geography through engaging children in a wide variety of topics through a carefully planned, phased approach to the subject that will that help them to discover the world they live in. Through this investigative subject, children will observe, describe and seek explanations about the world whilst developing geographical concepts, knowledge and skills that are transferrable across the curriculum. The ultimate aim is to foster a love of learning within Geography, and encourage 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 which they will take with them to the next stage of their education.




We implement the National Curriculum through exciting and inspiring topics and high quality teaching, that ensures skills and knowledge are developed and built on year by year to maximise learning for all children.  At the beginning of each topic, children are able to convey what they know already as well as what they would like to find out. This helps inform the programme of study and also ensures that lessons are relevant and take account of children’s different starting points. Lesson content and tasks are designed to provide appropriate challenge to all learners. The local area is fully utilised to achieve desired outcomes, with opportunities for learning outside the classroom. School trips and fieldwork give first-hand experiences, enrich learning, provide contextual learning, and enhance children's understanding of the world beyond their locality.




Outcomes in topic books evidence a broad and balanced Geography curriculum, and demonstrate children’s acquisition of identified key knowledge and skills. Impact will be measured through learning walks, book scrutinies and discussions with pupils.  As children advance throughout the school, there is a clear progression of skills, and they develop deeper knowledge, understanding and appreciation of their local area and its place within the wider geographical context. Children are equipped with the geographical skills and knowledge needed to be ready for Key Stage 3, and for life as an adult in the wider world. We want children to have been inspired through the enjoyable topics, and strive for new life experiences throughout their lives.

As the children start their education in Early Years, they begin to understand the world by exploring the natural world around them. They describe what they see, hear and feel whilst outside, and are encouraged to make careful obervations about nature, the weather and seasons. Basic positional language is developed and simple maps are worked on.  More global interests are explored, through festivals and events, and children compare and contrast different places around the world to where they live.

In Year 1, the children are more formally introduced to the concept of physical geography and meteorology: they gain an understanding of islands around the world as well as the islands that make up the UK, along with the different features seen within them. Within a ‘Pirate’ theme, the children learn about the weather and climate in the different places visited by pirates and how they navigated around the world. They create a map and learn to give directions. Human Geography is taught through the theme, ‘A Day in the Life’ as the children learn about the services and buildings in the local area and how to create a street map.


By Year 2, the children’s previous understanding of human geography is extended through the topic of ‘A to B’, looking at the features of a local area and creating their own maps of the surrounding area. Children look at similarities and differences of differed localities and use Geographical terms to articulate their findings. As part of the ‘Treasure Island’ topic, children learn about weather patterns and climate. Building on map and atlas work in Year 1, children locate the continents and oceans, as well as identifying the islands of the UK. Children draw their own ‘pirate island’ maps within the topic, and use simple compass directions to navigate these. With greater independence, the children learn about different houses, homes and other buildings around the world and use atlases to locate the different countries.


As they move into Year 3, within the theme ‘Island Life’, the children develop their skills by learning not simply to fact find but to compare their knowledge about new islands with their existing knowledge. Building on the atlas skills learned in Year 2, the children locate different islands around the world, finding them on maps. By introducing the physical features of a river, the children develop a deeper understanding of physical geography. This is extended still further by examining how islands are formed. Their earlier understanding of maps and compasses are also advanced through the introduction of 4 figure grid referencing. The children gain a greater understanding of the wider world by delving deeper into a country’s culture through the theme, ‘Gateways to the World’. They learn about where our food comes from, what people grow and eat in different countries as well as how the climate affects the way people live. In response to the increased access to the wider world, the children learn about travel and the connections we have with different places globally: about the places that we can travel to from our local airport and the people who work to make travel possible. Alongside this, they gain an appreciation of the environmental impact of travel and of airport expansion. Meteorology is revisited by considering how the weather can affect air travel.


In Year 4, children further develop their locational knowledge, using maps and globes to locate and name key countries, including those in South America, in the production of cocoa. They learn how particular localities (position, climate and environment) involved in the production of cocoa affect the lives of people living there, and consider how living conditions differ to the UK. They consider the effects and express views around the human impact on environments. They also locate and identify key countries involved in the trade routes of cocoa to produce chocolate. Children will use their locational knowledge to name and locate key topographical features in Egypt, highlighting these in keys, and considering how these physical characteristics led to land-use, and how this has changed over time.


As they progress to upper key stage 2, Year 5 children return to the geographical features of islands, but at a deeper level, as they consider which factors need to be taken into account if they were to relocate to an island. Alongside this, the children learn about economic issues such as growth and development and how human geography impacts on island life. They create a case study to demonstrate the depth of their understanding. The children now extend their map skills to using six-figure grid references. 


When in Year 6, the children become familiar with the more technical terminology: latitude, longitude, Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere, time zones and tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. In addition, to bring together all aspects of their knowledge and skills, the children broaden their map skills by learning to use the 8 points of the compass as well as symbols and keys to undertake a field study and sketch maps, plans and graphs, including ICT where possible, thereby preparing them for secondary school learning. The children use atlases to find out about other countries but extend their learning by describing the physical features they see. Physical geography is extended to include volcanoes and earthquakes. 


With a carefully planned, phased approach to the subject, the children build their understanding in a manner which is sympathetic to their age. They are encouraged to enjoy discovering about the world they live in within fun and engaging topics.  The ultimate aim is to foster a love of learning which they will take with them to the next stage of their education.


Mrs P Liversidge - interim Geography Subject Leader

‘Children are captivated by their learning’, ‘The well-being of pupils is at the heart of the school’, ‘School is a calm place - pupils are polite, courteous and well-mannered.'