Horsforth Newlaithes

Welcome to our curriculum webpage for Geography

"Geography is really good because you can learn so many new things about everywhere in the world including different cultures. If you are from a different country yourself, you can learn more about where you are from."

Elin N - Year 6

"Geography opens your eyes to the wider world around you and to different cultures and landscapes."

Will B & Eddie K - Year 6

Geography is essentially about understanding the world we live in. Here at Newlaithes we aim for the children to leave us knowing that they are part of wider, diverse communities: here in school, locally, nationally and internationally. We encourage them to develop a greater knowledge and understanding of this wider world so that they can explore differences and build acceptance of other places and cultures and inherit a responsibility to look after their environment, both natural and human.

The geography curriculum instils in children a curiosity and fascination about the wider world and the people within it and provides opportunities for them to build skills and explore their ideas by interrogating places, graphs, maps and pictures to find out about human and physical geography.

Curriculum breadth is shaped by our curriculum drivers, cultural capital, subject topics and our ambition for students to study the best of what has been thought and said by many generations of academics and scholars.

Our curriculum distinguishes between subject topics and ‘threshold concepts’. Subject topics are the specific aspects of subjects that are studied. Threshold concepts tie together the subject topics into meaningful schema Investigate Places, Investigate Patterns and Communicate Geographically are the Threshold Concepts in geography. The same concepts are explored in a wide breadth of topics. Through this ‘forwards-and-backwards engineering’ of the curriculum, students return to the same concepts over and over and gradually build understanding of them.

Knowledge categories in each subject give students a way of expressing their understanding of the threshold concepts. Human features, physical features, location and diversity are the knowledge categories we are using in geography.

In each year, children will cover subject topics based on local geography, a contrasting locality, an aspect of physical geography and geographical skills. A variety of knowledge categories are worked into each subject topic. Links can therefore be made as the children progress right through the school, not just within a milestone.

The goal for students is to display sustained mastery at the ‘advancing’ stage of understanding by the end of each milestone, rather than each year. Each subject topic is therefore taught over two years as a spiral curriculum. Learning is revisited, strengthened and deepened over time. This allows children to develop secure schemas over two years of study and allows their learning to move from basic, to advancing to deep.

Each subject topic is taught on a fortnightly cycle, interleaved with history. Our children’s learning is scaffolded by spaced retrieval practice.

We aim for all children at Newlaithes to be competent geographers and to reach the expected standard in geography at the end of each year. Our curriculum ensures that children develop an interest in and a love of the subject which enables them to be effective learners throughout their journey at Newlaithes and fully prepared for the next stage of their geography education.

We have developed our geography curriculum based on the National Curriculum, identified the key skills and knowledge which we want children to learn and consequently make judgements against this criteria during and at the end of the year enabling us to measure the impact teaching and learning has. The majority of assessment which takes place is formative assessment allowing teachers to adapt their planning to match the needs of the children.

The subject leader monitors the impact of the geography curriculum through protected monitoring time during which they complete a range of activities: lesson observations; scrutiny of planning and work; speaking to staff and children and analysing assessment data (introduced summer 2022). This process is quality assured by the Senior Leadership Team and agreed actions are added to subject leader action plans.


Threshold Concepts Knowledge Categories

Investigate places

Investigate patterns

Communicate geographically

Human features

Physical features

Location (Maps)



Click here to download our long plan plan for geography

Click here to download our skills progression document for geography