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


At Mexborough St John’s we realise children are the key to unlocking a brighter future for our magnificent planet Earth. Geography learning is essential to understand, respect, be curious and fascinated about the world we live in. At Mexborough St John’s, we have chosen five key concepts of Geographical learning which we believe will engage pupils in their understanding. We believe that these five concepts will enable pupils to embed a strong understanding of the geography curriculum and in turn leave St John’s as “geographers”.



‘Thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without concepts are blind’ (Immanuel Kant)


There is a clear rationale behind our geography curriculum. The five key concepts of location, place, physical geography, human geography, and sustainability identify the substantive knowledge to be taught. Clear content sequencing, progression maps and knowledge organisers, place this in the context of long-term knowledge growth. 


When teaching geography topics, we start with a key question to engage and focus learning. With an eye to the context of our community, we prioritise offering our children a wide and inspiring set of experiences, through drivers such as launch events, trips, visits, purpose and learning celebrations. 


Intelligent repetition of key concepts enables children to strengthen memory over time, thus leading to deeper understanding. It is essential that children remember the knowledge that they have been taught so that learning ‘sticks’ for them to understand new knowledge, make learning links and apply this is different contexts. The core skills of recall, understand, connect, and apply are used to facilitate this. 


Pupils’ learning over time, reflects the intended curriculum. The concepts and big ideas provide the schema through which meaning is made and helps to ensure long term knowledge growth. This in turn ensures pupils know more and can do more.  

Research shows that repetition of course content leads to sticky learning; the transfer of knowledge from the short term to long term memory. At Mexborough St John’s, we achieve this through regular retrieval practise. Children can speak with confidence about what they have learnt and how they can apply this to other parts of their learning. 

The impact of our curriculum will be seen not only in measurable attainment and progress but that St John the Baptist Primary School creates polite, well-mannered caring members of our school community who understand and respect everybody’s differences and needs.


1. Myatt, M. (2020) Back on Track, fewer things, greater depth.

Reference to Willingham, DT. (2010) ‘the unifying ideas of discipline’- Daniel Willingham argues that pupils should learn the concepts that come up again and again.

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