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The Federation of St Mary’s Catholic Schools are a secure, friendly and faith-centred community where we seek to realise the full potential of all our family through the living love of Christ. All our work with children and their families, staff, governors, parishioners and the wider community is influenced by our core values which are: Compassion, Respect and Resilience.

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The purpose of our Arches Curriculum is to ensure that our children are successful in life and learning. The ‘Nine Arches’ Sankey Viaduct in Newton-le-Willows has been the inspiration for our curriculum.  The viaduct was built by George Stephenson between 1828 and 1830 and the bridge, built to let trains cross above the Sankey Canal, has international significance as the world’s earliest major railway viaduct still in use.

The ‘Nine Arches’ signifies excellence in engineering that is still successful.  Our curriculum is designed to show our children that our ambitious curriculum will offer them rewards for the future. As a school, our curriculum sets high expectations for each and every child, meaning that we are relentless in our commitment to overcoming barriers faced by our pupils and to developing children to be resilient and self-motivated in their pursuit of learning.

With Christ at the heart and encompassing our Mission Statement, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” we provide a high-quality education within a creative, stimulating, encouraging and mutually supportive environment where children are enabled to develop the skills they require to become successful in geography. 

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Having a secure understanding of Geography disciplines and the 4 strands of geography: locational knowledge, place knowledge, environmental, human, and physical and map skills and fieldwork. 

Encourage students to ask questions and explore local area and the wider world. 

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Collect, analyse and communicate with a range of data  

Interpret a range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes, aerial photographs etc. 

Understanding how different communities show resilience in the face of hardships. 

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As a Catholic school we place Christ at the centre of all that we do. We integrate Gospel values and the teachings of the Catholic Church into every aspect of learning and teaching in our geography teaching. 

Field work is embedded in every year group as “geography is learned through the soles of our feet.” It is one of the distinctive features of a geographical education and feeds our children’s curiosity about the world.

Through our geography curriculum, we promote stewardship, caring for the Earth and how we are all interconnected. 

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Appreciating the big concepts of environmental impact, sustainable development, cultural awareness, and cultural diversity 

Appreciation of the world around them and feeling a sense of place 

Promoting physical outdoor activity through fieldwork in each year group.  

Feeling a sense of connectedness to their friends around the world 

Global citizenship 

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Disciplinary literacy – reading like a Geographer! 

Map skills are taught to automaticity  

Having both disciplinary and substantive knowledge to be geographers 

‘Knowledge Maps’ in every classroom to showcase that geography is everywhere 

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To have secure substantive knowledge to be able to make connections between their learning and their lived experiences.   

To have the foundations for later geographical studies.  

To be enthused and engaged with geographers.   

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At St Mary's, our commitment is to instil in children an enduring curiosity and fascination for the world and its people, fostering a foundation that will accompany them throughout their lives and prepare them effectively for further education and beyond.

Our meticulously crafted curriculum is geared towards providing pupils with a comprehensive understanding of diverse places, people, resources, and both natural and human environments. We aim to cultivate a profound comprehension of the Earth's fundamental physical and human processes. The geography curriculum at St Mary's also plays a pivotal role in nurturing moral, social, and cultural development among our students.

As students’ progress through our school, their expanding knowledge of the world empowers them to delve deeper into the intricate interplay between physical and human processes. They gain insights into the formation and utilization of landscapes and environments, contributing to their holistic development.

At St Mary's, we hold a deep appreciation for our beautiful planet and the global community we are part of. Our Geography curriculum is designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to become responsible Geographers. We inspire them to make a positive impact on, embrace, protect, and cherish our local environment, the UK, and the world at large—all while being conscientious of their ecological footprint.

In essence, geography is about comprehending the world through activities such as comparing locations, conducting investigations, researching diverse sources, expressing thoughts in writing and speech about different places, and posing and answering questions. Through these engaging learning experiences, we aim to nurture well-rounded individuals who are not only academically proficient but also socially and environmentally conscious.


Our curriculum is meticulously designed with a set of guiding principles aimed at cultivating a profound and secure understanding of Geography disciplines. The curriculum revolves around the four key strands of geography: locational knowledge, place knowledge, environmental (human and physical), and map skills and fieldwork. Each principle is carefully interwoven to inspire a holistic appreciation for the diverse facets of our world.


The curriculum is structured to ensure students develop a secure understanding of Geography disciplines, with a focus on locational knowledge, place knowledge, environmental (human and physical) aspects, and proficient map skills and fieldwork.


Students are encouraged to ask questions and explore not only their local area but also the broader global context, fostering a curiosity that drives their learning journey.  Recognizing that "Geography is learned through the soles of our feet," fieldwork is embedded in every year group, promoting a direct and immersive connection to the subject matter.  Students are encouraged to appreciate the big concepts of environmental impact, sustainable development, cultural awareness, and cultural diversity, instilling in them a profound sense of place.

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VALUED - We value vocabulary in geography and it underpins everything we do.
IDENTFIED - Geography vocabulary is identified by the geography subject leader and is explicitly planned for.
TAUGHT - Vocabulary is explicitly taught in every lesson. Our knowledge organisers are used as a teaching tool for key geography vocabulary and the geography medium term plans include additional vocabulary to be taught.
APPLIED - Once vocabulary is taught, it is applied. Children apply their vocabulary in their speaking and listening, writing and assessment outcomes in geography.
LEARNED - Vocabulary is revisited and relearned. Vocabulary sticks in the children’s long-term memory. Lesson by lesson, year by year, children revisit and relearn key art and design vocabulary.


Through an ‘explosion of experiences’, our youngest geographers are exposed to the foundations of their geography learning. Carefully planned geography experiences are provided for our children. High quality lessons, stories and rhymes and continuous provision in EYFS provides the building blocks for our St Mary’s geographers. Geography vocabulary is planned for and staff ensure children are exposed to the correct terminology when exploring experiences that have geographical links. Staff are role models in demonstrating geographical vocabulary and this is further enhanced in our excellent provision. The foundations of geography learning in EYFS is linked to Year 1 and beyond. 


Both our staff and children are enthusiastic about geography. Through ongoing quality CPD, we strive to ensure our teachers have expert knowledge of the geography that they teach. Our pedagogy is firmly based upon our curriculum intent of embedding concepts into long-term memory so that they are able to be recalled, to ensure substantive and disciplinary knowledge and skills can be applied fluently. Recap sessions within our 5-part lesson structure is designed to ‘interrupt the forgetting’. 

Our ‘St Mary’s Quality First Teaching’ model ensures that lessons are effectively sequenced so that new knowledge and skills build on what has been taught before and towards defined end points. Pre-assessments are planned with the lesson structure to support staff when planning for learning. 

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Our curriculum will provide children with the cultural capital that will enable to use geographical vocabulary accurately and understand the different strands of geography, with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. Children will begin to contemplate and apply both substantive and disciplinary knowledge beyond the realm of geography, recognizing its interconnectedness with other subjects rather than treating it in isolation.

They will enhance their inquiry skills and cultivate a curious mindset about the world and its impact on them. Every child will recognize that they possess the agency to make choices that contribute to a positive commitment to the environment and the future of the planet. Children will develop proficiency in collecting, analysing, and effectively communicating diverse sets of data. They will gain the ability to interpret a variety of geographical information sources and articulate geographical insights through a range of communication methods. All students in the school will confidently express their knowledge, skills, and learning in the field of geography.

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