Skip to content ↓
Boringdon Primary School

Boringdon Primary School


Geography Subject Lead - Murray Quest

Boringdon Primary School Geography Statement

'A Boringdon geographer will have an understanding of themselves in relation to their locality and the world beyond and have the geographical skills, knowledge questioning ability and understanding to describe and explain the world around them and how it evolved.'

How is Geography planned at Boringdon? 

Geography is planned to explore a main question, which is developed from the subject content detailed in the National Curriculum as assigned to each key stage. Lessons focus on key questions to form the answer to the main question. Key questions are formed from the disciplinary concepts that have been identified as integral to understanding geography and are used as longitudinal threads to build understanding across year groups and topics.  Our teaching and curriculum design reflects the relationship between substantive themes and disciplinary knowledge. 

Learning activities have been developed collaboratively to ensure effective progression of regional and thematic geographical knowledge. In geography, we split knowledge into two categories. We identify 'knowing that' and 'knowing how' or conceptual and procedural. Geographic enquiry is used to drive the curriculum in order to develop children’s enquiry and questioning ability. This provides pupils with the opportunity for enquiry and find things out for themselves without being given answers.  Teaching develops pupils’ geographical knowledge alongside geographical skills and fieldwork.  

The planning format is designed in phases with immersion, review and assessment and knowledge rich sections intrinsic to the plans. Planning provides the opportunity to embed previous learning  and develop links between lessons and disciplinary concepts.  Connections are also made with previously taught geography sequences as part of the ‘overlap of learning’ and to consolidate and deepen understanding so children can apply what they already know to help them. 

A whole school approach to scale means that geography is taught through a widening lens: from the immediate location of our school ground, to a local, regional, national and global perspective.


Substantive Themes
Landforms Climate Processes



Why are these our substantive themes?

We have identified the major substantive themes that feature throughout the study of geography in a range of contexts at Boringdon Primary School. Our curriculum ensures that pupils regularly encounter a wide range of important substantive themes as they are extremely important to pupils’ understanding of new material.   These themes are embedded in each year of school geography.  This enables pupils to draw on their secure knowledge of these concepts repeatedly in a number of different contexts and make links across the geography curriculum.

How do we check that pupils have understood before we move on? 

We begin every geography unit with a 'What Do I Know?' table to ascertain children’s prior knowledge (against the substantive themes) and gaps in previous learning. This is used as a mechanism to shape the planning for the module and ensures that time is not wasted looking at learning that children already have. Lessons are always adapted accordingly.

We use retrieval practice or 'challenge grids' to support this and ensure the essential ‘substantive themes’ of each subject are taught and embedded and to gauge the children's learning and understanding against the key questions. Planning is then adapted accordingly based on children’s outcomes. 

Assessments are made formatively and summatively using retrieval quizzes within lessons, challenge grids and the end of unit assessment. In year 5 and 6, children move on to complete a more open-ended retrieval activity which gives them scope to share a wide breadth of understanding in relation to the key questions taught.

We use an impact document to measure the effectiveness of our learning. Content or lessons which were not effective are then changed for the following year. Information is fed back to previous teachers if it was felt that the knowledge from that year was also not secure enough.