Expect More

At Barnes, our high quality Geography curriculum is designed to inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. We are committed to providing children with opportunities to investigate and make enquiries about their local area so that they can develop a real sense of who they are, their heritage and what makes our local area. Children also develop their ability to apply geographical skills to enable them to confidently communicate their findings and geographical understanding to a range of audiences. As pupils progress, their growing knowledge about the world should help them to deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments. Children gain confidence and practical experiences of geographical knowledge and understanding, not just through experiences in the classroom, but also with the use of fieldwork and educational visits, to explain how the Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and change over time. In addition, children develop fundamental geographical skills: collecting and analysing data; using maps, globes, aerial photographs and digital mapping to name and identify countries, continents and oceans; and communicating information in a variety of ways.

Through high quality teaching, we develop the following essential characteristics of geographers:

  • An excellent knowledge of where places are and what they are like, both in Britain and the wider world;
  • A comprehensive understanding of the ways in which places are interdependent and interconnected;
  • An extensive base of geographical knowledge and vocabulary;
  • Fluency in complex, geographical enquiry and the ability to apply questioning skills, as well as effective presentation techniques;
  • The ability to reach clear conclusions and explain their findings;
  • Excellent fieldwork skills as well as other geographical aptitudes and techniques;
  • The ability to express well-balanced opinions, rooted in very good knowledge and understanding about current issues in society and the environment;
  • A genuine interest in the subject and a real sense of curiosity about the world and the people who live here.

Through the framework of the 2014 National Curriculum, Geography taught at Barnes aims to ensure that all children:

  • develop age-appropriate, accurate knowledge of the location, physical and human characteristics of a wide range of globally significant places including terrestrial and marine locations
  • to use this knowledge to provide a geographical context to study and understand the actions of important geographical processes
  • understand that these processes give rise to the key physical and human geographical features of the world, how these are interdependent and how they bring about variation and change to the geographical landscape
  • to be able to use geographical vocabulary which is appropriate and accurate and which develops and evolves from EYFS to KS1 and through to KS2
  • collect, analyse and present a range of data, gathered through experiences of fieldwork, to deepen understanding of geographical processes
  • use and interpret a wide range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes and aerial photographs
  • develop skills in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) (software and interactive resources) which allow for digital mapping, analysis of data and data models
  • are able to communicate geographical information in a variety of ways, including through maps, numerical and quantitative skills and writing at length
  • to fulfil the requirements of the 2014 National Curriculum for Geography
  • to promote children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development helping them to have a greater understanding of their place in the world, and their rights and responsibilities to other people and the environment


From the start of the 2016-17 academic year we instigated a focus geography day for Key Stage 2 pupils: The Country We Live In. The following topics have been studied for the last four years:

Year 3 – Coastal areas of the UK: how coastal caves, arches and stacks are formed through coastal erosion. Pupils look at some of the prominent features of the Jurassic coast. They learn about

  • ​coastal erosion (how an arch, stack or stump are formed)
  • a case study: Durdle Door in Dorset
  • the wider context: where else do these coastal processes take place in the UK?
  • compass directions.

Year 4 – Rivers of the United Kingdom: how rivers work – originating on higher ground and flowing to the sea. Key geographical features are analysed: meandering; drainage basins; ox bow lakes; erosion, transportation and deposition.

Classes look at a mystery river in the UK.  They find out how the river changes the shape of the landscape, and how meanders are formed.  There is plenty of hands-on river making in class!

Year 5 – Land use in the UK: the rise of cities – urbanisation and the growth of cities with the coming of the railways in the nineteenth century

Year 5 look at how land in the UK is used and how this has changed over time. In particular they look at how our local area developed with the arrival of the railway. Children learn about how our country has changed over time from an agricultural one to an industrial one.

Year 6 – Glaciation: how were valleys formed? How powerful a force is a glacier and the role of glacial erosion in the formation of landscapes.

Year 6 study the geographical process of glaciation. They learn about the features caused by glacial erosion and look at the landscapes in the UK that have been shaped by this process. Children make their own glaciers and trying to understand why they have had such an impact on the country we live in.



Enquiry is the process of finding out answers to questions. It is a way of investigating the world. It involves encouraging children to ask questions and search for answers. As their skills develop, children can move to a more rigorous form of enquiry involving the development and testing of hypotheses. In geography lessons, children discover the processes that lead to the outcomes that we can see. Some processes are physical ones that have happened naturally (like the way a river meanders); others are human processes (like the way a settlement develops as more buildings are erected. Meaningful learning occurs when investigations are directed by challenging questions

Effective geographical enquiry depends upon the quality of the questions posed

  • What is this place like?
  • Why is this place as it is?
  • How is this place connected to other places?
  • How is this place changing?
  • What would it feel like to live in this place?

The framework we use for a geographical enquiry has six stages:

  • Awareness raising
  • Generating questions
  • Collecting and recording information (pupils apply the mathematical skills they have learnt here)
  • Processing the gathered information
  • Drawing conclusions from the processed data
  • Sharing the conclusions
  • Evaluating what has been learnt

Here are the principal geographical enquiries that different year groups will be considering:

Year 1What happens to the rain on the ground after it has fallen?
Year 2What type of place is Barnes?
Year 3Why did brick walls keep a King happy? (Richmond Park enquiry)
Year 4How do rivers change from source to mouth? (Case study: River Thames)
Year 5Is our locality affected by noise pollution?
Year 6Is San Francisco a safe place to live?

Our Geography Curriculum is high quality, well thought out and is planned to demonstrate progression.  At the end of each year, the children’s learning is assessed against the age-related expectation bands that are based on the 2014 National Curriculum statements for Geography. We use both formative and summative assessment to determine children’s understanding and inform teachers planning. This is reviewed on a termly basis by the subject leader, who also carries out regular learning walks, book scrutinies and lesson observations. The impact and measure of this is to ensure that children at Barnes are equipped with geographical skills and knowledge that will enable them to be ready for the curriculum at Key Stage 3 and for life as an adult in the wider world. We want the children to have thoroughly enjoyed learning about geography, therefore encouraging them to undertake new life experiences now and in the future.