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Heartwood CE VC Primary and Nursery School
Learn to Love – Love to Learn!

We are geographers...

'The study of geography is about more than just memorizing places on a map. It's about understanding the complexity of our world, appreciating the diversity of cultures that exists across continents. And in the end, it's about using all that knowledge to help bridge divides and bring people together.' Barack Obama

At Heartwood we seek to foster in children a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people which will remain with them for the rest of their lives, equipping them well for further education and beyond.

Our curriculum is designed to ensure that teaching equips pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. The geography curriculum at Heartwood Primary enables children to develop moral, social and cultural development. As pupils progress through the school, their growing knowledge about the world helps them to deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments. 


At Heartwood we care about our beautiful planet and the world that we live in. Through the Geography curriculum, we learn the knowledge and skills to become Geographers who understand how to 'make a difference to', embrace, protect and love our local environment, the UK and beyond whilst being conscious of our foot print on the world. 


Geography is taught in blocks throughout the year, so that children can achieve depth in their learning and become geographers. Key knowledge and skills of each blocked topic have been identified and these are mapped across the school, ensuring that knowledge builds progressively and that children develop skills systematically. Our children's geography learning journey begins with their local area and then each year progressively takes a step further afield from Swaffham. We equip our children with the knowledge and vocabulary to make informed comparisons about the physical and human geography of places compared to our local town. Existing knowledge is checked at the beginning of each topic, this ensures that teaching is informed by the children’s starting points and that it takes account of pupil voice and children’s interests. 


Very simply, geography is about understanding the world by: comparing locations; investigating; researching different sources; writing and talking about places; asking and answering questions. 

Spirituality Statement

How do we teach geography?

Through the Mantle of the Expert drama and story based approach, to different locations around the world on a  commission. Planned knowledge and vocabulary drives the learning. Children are enriched with vocabulary and given planned opportunities to apply knowledge learned. We stimulate the children's curiosity in order for then to engage in learning and create future geographers. 


We teach Geography with key substantive concepts that children use throughout their learning in each year group, from Nursery-Year 6, to make connections and links with their prior learning and prepare them for what they are learning next. We always compare and link back to 'Where does Swaffham fit into the wider world?' and the place we are exploring. 


The purpose of the geography national curriculum is 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'.


Mantle of the Expert does not mean the students are magically endowed with expertise. In the real world they are still children.  It is only inside the fiction they work ‘as if’ they are experts. That is in the sense that they take on the powers and responsibilities of a team of experts, working on important assignments, caring about the things they do, and taking pride in their status.The creation of a fictional context where the students experiment with making decisions, taking on responsibilities, and meeting challenging situations, is a kind of ‘safe zone’ within the classroom. Unlike in the real world, where children would rarely, if ever, have the kinds of experiences generated by MoE, in an imaginary world they can explore, discuss, and evaluate them as if they were real. Mantle of the Expert is an approach that organises curriculum learning- knowledge, vocabulary and understanding- through stories created with the students in the classroom. These generate pathways in the process.

Fundamentally this what the approach is all about.


We give the children planned opportunities as geographers to develop and apply key skills, supported by the fieldwork. As children progress throughout the school, they develop deep knowledge, understanding and appreciation of Swaffham as their local area and its place within the wider geographical context.



Geography enrichment days are planned throughout the year to help deepen children's knowledge and understanding and enhance cultural capital, experiences, and vocabulary. Days include Earth Day, Geography Awareness week and 'around the world day'.


We enhance learning experiences through trips and visitors:


NurseryReception Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4Year 5Year 6

Forest, school


Forest, school 



Local area


Pensthorpe natural


Forest school,




Swaffham town



Field work - Wells coast 

Local shops -

audit of products 

with palm oil 

Visitor and connections

with Northern Ireland 

Field work- coastal


Field work - Rivers, Castle Acre 


Making a Difference

As part of our ‘making a difference curriculum’ our School has been awarded the Eco-Schools Gold award for our on-going commitment to thinking and acting geographically in order to make our school more sustainable. Our forest provision enables students to practise their geographical skills and experience changes in the seasons and weather patterns. Topics covered in the forest include; curiosity and fascination about the natural world, natural environments and the importance of the natural world, recording the weather, identifying seasons and weather patterns, developing knowledge about our locality and map skills – creating maps of the school, exploring and aerial photographs of the forest and its boundaries and using compass directions.


The sustainable development goals inspire and guide this approach. The Oxfam Global Citizenship curriculum of knowledge, understanding and skills compliment this, equipping our children with the tools to make a difference locally and globally- with a wider understanding of their impact beyond their local town. Progressively investigating concepts such as globalisation, social inequality, sustainable development, human rights and and diversity. 


Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

It may seem strange to think about your 3 or 4 year old child as a geographer. However, the years from birth to age five provide a first opportunity to see how your child interacts with their environment — and how the environment influences them. The early learning goals at EYFS aim to guide your child onto make sense of their physical world and their community by exploring, observing, and finding out about people, places, technology and the environment.


3 & 4-year-olds will be learning to:

Children in Reception will be learning to:


Understanding the World

  • Know that there are different countries in the world and talk about the differences they have experienced or seen in photos.
  • Begin to understand the need to respect and care for the natural environment and all living things.


  • Draw information from a simple map.
  • Understand that some places are special to members of their community.
  • Recognise some similarities and differences between life in this country and life in other countries.
  • Recognise some environments that are different to the one in which they live.
  • Understand the effect of changing seasons on the natural world around them.



People Culture and Communities

  • Describe their immediate environment using knowledge from observation, discussion, stories, non-fiction texts and maps.
  • Know some similarities and differences between different religious and cultural communities in this country, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class.
  • Explain some similarities and differences between life in this country and life in other countries, drawing on knowledge from stories, non-fiction texts and – when appropriate – maps. 


The Nicholas Hamond Academy

Our curriculum is designed to prepare the children for the next stages in their education in each subject. Our curriculum map plans to support the declarative and procedural knowledge needed for the children to access and thrive in geography in KS3.


TNHA Geography curriculum map KS3


TNHA Geography curriculum map KS4

Supporting pupils with SEN and disabilities in Geography

We have been awarded our Eco-school flag! Our Geography curriculum has heavily influenced this.


Environment and Lifestyle 

In addition to the National Curriculum we teach Environment and Lifestyle which is adapted from the Swedish curriculum. 

Children are taught:

  • How food and other goods are produced, transported, and how they impact the environment and health 
  • How to be economical and make effective use of food and other consumption goods at home
  • Some different forms of environmental labeling of products and their importance
  • Choice and use of goods at home, and how they impact the environment and health
  • Recycling in the home and in the local area and how it functions 
  • Current societal issues concerning personal finances, food and health 

Fieldwork - Human and Physical features in Swaffham

Fieldwork - Wells-Next-The-Sea

Maps and aerial photographs

Year 5 have been looking at maps and aerial photographs of Swaffham. They have sketched their own maps of Swaffham.

Chinese New Year - Year of the Tiger

Recycling Week

The whole school learnt about Recycling Week, 20-24th September. Here is some of the work created following this learning.

Local Environment  

Year 2 have been working hard to make a difference to our local environment. Through their Science topic they have been exploring the impact of different materials on the environment and the potential dangers. Using their knowledge of our local environment, they went litter picking. The found lots of plastic and brought it back to school, leading onto a discussion about the effect this may have had on the local wildlife and residents. 


Year 1

Squirrel Class have been learning about Stonehenge and landmarks in London.

Earth Day April

Year 3 planted 2 trees on Earth Day. They have been learning about the importance of trees and how they can help reduce the effects of Carbon Dioxide on the environment and global warming.