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At Hayes we seek to inspire children’s love for geography and their interest in the world they live in. Geography, by nature, is an investigative subject and we intend to encourage this investigation by provoking curiosity, questions and independent discovery. The geography curriculum at Hayes equips our children to develop a range of progressive knowledge, skills and concepts that are transferable to other curriculum areas and are used to promote their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.  We understand the importance of raising children to be curious and independent learners who can think critically, and apply knowledge and skills to address concepts in our ever-changing world. Understanding places, people and human and natural environments will enable our children to have a better understanding of themselves and the wider society, as they develop into responsible adults who can have a positive impact on the future.

“Geography explains the past, illuminates the present and prepares us for the future. What could be more important than that?” (Michael Palin, 2007)

The National Curriculum for Geography aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • Develop contextual knowledge of the location of globally significant places – including their defining physical and human characteristics

  • Understand the processes that give rise to key physical and human geographical features of the world 

  • Are competent in the geographical skills needed to:

  • collect, analyse and communicate with a range of data gathered through experiences of fieldwork
  •  interpret a range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes, aerial photographs
  • communicate geographical information in a variety of ways, including through maps, numerical and quantitative skills and writing at length. 

Due to the nature of our location in the local environment, we will ensure to make use of our coastal surroundings to increase and develop an awareness of children’s locational skills and knowledge, and ensure our pupils receive first-hand experiences within a familiar context. This locational familiarity will also include Dartmoor and local settlements of different size including Stoke Gabriel and Plymouth. As children move through the school, learning about contrasting environments, such as Iceland in Year 3 or South America in Year 5, they are encouraged to compare their lives in Paignton to the lives of other humans in these faraway places, equipping them with greater empathy as global citizens and increasing their cultural awareness. 

In order to foster children’s curiosity about the world, we ensure that geography is given high importance, as we feel this is necessary in enabling all children to gain ‘real-world’ experiences. At Hayes, geography is taught in intensive broad and balanced blocks over half-terms, as a driver or supporting subject, so that children can achieve depth in their learning. Teachers use the Progression Document for Geography to identify the key knowledge and skills for each topic. The content children learn, the knowledge they gain and the skills they develop have been systematically  mapped across the school ensuring that knowledge is progressive and cumulative from EYFS to Year 6. This is the case for all children, as we take careful consideration on how we can select and design tasks to provide appropriate challenge and support, to maximise learning for every child across a range of contrasting local and global environments.

It is important to us that children develop the skills of a geographer by fully immersing them in all areas of the subject. Therefore, teachers are encouraged to consider all opportunities available to utilise the school grounds and local area for fieldwork; to enable children to base learning on first hand experiences and to deepen their understanding and have a sense of belonging. One way we do this from the very start of a child’s learning journey is making the most of the forest school in Primley Woods. This evokes curiosity from some of our youngest EYFS children, providing the first building blocks to access KS1 geography about their local area with greater confidence and knowledge. Children will also enjoy school trips, welcome visitors, and in Key Stage 2, participate in residentials – all of which work to enrich their experience in geography.


Reception children get hands-on practical geography knowledge every week when they visit the local woods. The children are able to explore how the land changes, different animals and plants that are found in different environments in different weather conditions! It is simply fantastic. Through this and carefully planned activities, the children are able to gain an understanding of maps and routes, learning how to  get to a destination, what a map is and how to identify different areas on a map. The children feel very proud when they tell adults that they live in Paignton, Devon and think about where they live and what they have near them such as beaches, the zoo and shops.

Year 1

This is an example of our Year 1 working walls. Year 1 has been focusing on using geographical language and aerial photographs to locate areas of the UK and wider world and identifying what the weather is like. Children will regularly use these working walls to retrieve prior learning and build upon key information. 

Our year 1 children used magnifying glasses and large scale maps of Paignton to identify key human and physical features. This was an opportunity to see if they had visited any and to acknowledge the distance from our school to them.

Year 2

Our year 2 children have been focusing on learning about the UK: the place in which they live. In the images below, the children have been organising and matching up parts of the Uk using maps. They have also been practising their language of compass directions and even had the opportunity to use compasses to direct their partner around the playground, using the language they have learnt.

Year 3

Year 3 had a visit from South West Water for theri hook day to discuss with and demonstrate to the children how water is filtered and how we receive clean water in our homes.

Year 4

Year 4 have taken a trip to Plymouth waste centre to identify how our waste is removed and what happens to it after we throw it away. From this, the children began learning about plastic pollution and this is impacting our environment. As a result, Year 4 made their own recyclable products and sold them to the community to fundraise

Year 5

Here are some of our Year 5’s brilliant work. At the end of each unit, we complete double page spreads to summarise and display our learning across the units. Here are two examples from our rainforest (biome) unit.

Year 6

During our Mountains unit, Year 6 began using contours and climates from maps to create a 3D model of a local mountain range. We also used digital technology of Google Earth to locate important mountain ranges across the world.


At Hayes School, Geography is an integral part of the curriculum which enables children to use their skills widely. Our hook days into our new topics are used to inspire a sense of excitement and curiosity about the childrens’ upcoming unit. Additionally, in every year group, children will have an opportunity to visit various locations or speak to specialists to further their conceptual understanding. 

  • Year 1 will have the opportunity to speak to specialists from the Met Office to conceptualise their knowledge of weather.

  • Year 2 will use their locality of Paignton (Primley Woods and the harbour) to recognise and explore human and physical features in their environment. 

  • Year 3 will take a trip to a local river e.g River Lemon to observe key features of a river such as meander, source, mouth etc. Children can also use fieldwork skills to calculate the rate of flow. 

  • Year 4 has an opportunity to discuss with Devon Waste the importance of recycling and the negative impact of plastic pollution. They will also undertake a beach clean in Paignton to begin making a positive impact on the local environment. 

  • In the upcoming year, Year 5 will have an opportunity to undertake a VR experience of rainforest biomes to experience what it is like to live in different biomes. 

  • Year 6 will take a trip to Brixham and have a tour through the Brixham fish market. A specialist will speak to the children about the importance of sustainability in the fishing industry.

Pupil Voice: 

'I really enjoy geography because I get to learn about the place I live in and find out why it is so important.' 

'I enjoy learning about how we can make positive changes to the world which is suffering as a result of human actions. It makes me want to be more responsible to slow down climate change.' 

'My favourite part about geography is being able to go outside of the classroom and explore our local environment. I particularly enjoyed our feature hunt in Paignton.'

'I like learning about other cultures. It is interesting to find out how people live so differently to people in the UK, across the world.'

'To me, geography is a chance to ask questions and find out the answers which interest me.'

'Our residentials are brilliant! I love that we get to learn new skills and be able to be independent.'

'I really enjoyed our trip to Plymouth Waste. I could not believe what happens to our rubbish once we get rid of it! It has made me think more carefully about how to reuse things.'