Geography at Highfield Ely, modelled on and adapted from the National Curriculum, is designed to inspire lifelong curiosity in our learners and to develop an interest about the world around them. This is planned and delivered in a way that reflects our different Pathways and the range of needs within them. Our students gain knowledge about diverse places, people, natural resources, natural and human environments, and an understanding of the earth’s key physical and human processes.​ School trips and focused activities and lessons in school ensure that children experience a wide range of geographical learning to suit their individual learning needs.​

Blue Pathway

In the Blue Pathway, learning takes place in a multisensory and experiential manner to suit the needs of learners. Pupils may explore different areas of the school with objects of reference to support transitions, or make changes to new environments, such as tree planting on ranger days. Learning takes place with links to inspiring topics and familiar texts. Above you can see one of our students enjoying an immersive "ocean" experience in our lights room, while the learner on the left is singing songs from different cultures with adult support and guidance.





Green Pathway

Geography is taught within the ‘My World’ area of the Green Pathway Framework. It is delivered in a contextual and meaningful manner, drawing on links to topics and familiar texts that inspire and challenge learners. Activities range from exploring the school and its grounds to exploring wider geographical topics such as climate change. Teaching is adapted to meet the individual needs of learners and classes.

Yellow Pathway

In the Yellow Pathway, Geography is taught through discrete lessons. Learning takes place through topic based work and is brought to life through geographical fieldwork opportunities including map reading, planning and going on visits, orienteering and exploring the local environment. 

We sequence lessons to ensure that students have covered the skills required to meet the aims of the national curriculum, making adaptations for their learning needs. The content allows for a broader, deeper understanding of the four areas of geography identified in the national curriculum. They develop contextual knowledge of the location of globally significant places and understanding of the processes that give rise to key physical and human geographical features of the world, along with how they bring about variation and change over time. Pupils develop curiosity and a fascination of the world and its people. Lessons improve children’s geographical vocabulary, map skills and geographical knowledge.

In KS4 Yellow Pathway classes, Geography is not taught as a discrete lesson. Instead, it takes forward prior learning from KS3 and forms a key part of the ASDAN Personal and Social Effectiveness qualification that students work towards in their ‘The Environment’ unit. 

Topics covered are directly linked to preparing students for adulthood and include:

  • Undertake a study on an aspect of British heritage
  • Present a report on a walk or visit to a local beauty spot
  • Visit a popular beauty spot and carry out a litter survey to improve the environment


We have adapted the National Curriculum framework to meet the wide ranging needs of our pupils. Across all Pathways, learners have a range of opportunities to experience geography through practical engaging tasks beyond the classroom. Below is a snapshot of the learning aims our pupils work towards.

Blue Pathway

  • Use all their senses in hands-on exploration of natural materials

  • Begin to show an understanding of the need to respect and care for the natural environment and all living things

  • Understand position. For example, “The bag is under the table”

  • Anticipate a familiar route

Green Pathway

  • Begin to use maps and recognise physical and human features to do with the local area, building to using maps to explore the continents and oceans of the world

  • Begin to compare where they live to places outside of Europe and ask and answer geographical questions

  • Know that there are different countries in the world and talk about the differences they have experienced or seen in photos

  • Discuss routes and locations, using words like ‘in front of’ and ‘behind’

  • Know about similarities and differences between themselves and others, and among families, communities and traditions

  • Know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things. Begin to communicate about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another

Yellow Pathway

  • Use basic geographical vocabulary to refer to key human features, including: city, town, village, factory, farm, house, office, port, harbour and shop

  • Use world maps, atlases and globes to identify countries, continents and oceans

  • Use simple compass directions and locational and directional to describe the location of features and routes on a map

  • Devise a simple map; and use and construct basic symbols in a key

  • Use simple fieldwork and observational skills to study the geography of the surrounding area, including key human and physical features, using a range of methods

  • Develop map skills further using digital maps, more keys and symbols

  • Begin to further develop fieldwork skills

  • Name, locate and identify characteristics of the four countries and capital cities of the United Kingdom and its surrounding seas

  • Compare the UK with a contrasting country

  • Compare a local city/town in the UK with a contrasting city/town in a different country

  • Use key vocabulary to demonstrate knowledge and understanding in this strand: South America, London, Brasilia, compare, capital city, China, Asia, country, population, weather, similarities, differences, farming, culture, Africa, Kenya, Nairobi, river, desert, volcano.

  • Name and locate the world’s seven continents and five oceans

  • Use key vocabulary to demonstrate knowledge and understanding in this strand: United Kingdom, England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, town, city, village, sea, beach, hill, mountain, London, Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh, capital city, world map, continent, ocean, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australasia, North America, South America, Antarctica

  • Identify seasonal and daily weather patterns in the United Kingdom and the location of hot and cold areas of the world in relation to the Equator and the North and South Poles

  • Use basic geographical vocabulary to refer to key physical features, including: beach, cliff, coast, forest, hill, mountain, sea, ocean, river, soil, valley, vegetation, season and weather

  • Use key vocabulary to demonstrate knowledge and understanding in this strand: compass, 4-point, direction, North, East, South, West, plan, record, observe, aerial view, key, map, symbols, direction, position, route, journey, the UK, changes, tally chart, pictogram, world map, country, continent, human, physical


Impact is seen in a multitude of ways. With some of our learners, we may see increases in explorative skills, interaction, engagement and attention or showing curiosity when exploring an unfamiliar environment. Other students may show the impact of geographical learning through an increased vocabulary, development of specific knowledge and skills or the ability to have a conversation with someone about places they have visited.

Whatever the starting point of the young person, the impact of our curriculum is that they are able to interact more positively with the people, environments and places of our world.


Our History curriculum is modelled on the National Curriculum and then adapted to meet the wide range of learning needs of our students. It is designed to help pupils gain a deeper understanding of the past. It inspires pupils' curiosity to know more about the past and equips them, where possible, to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments and develop perspective and judgement. 

Our curriculum helps pupils to better understand the complexity of people's lives, the concept and processes of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of the time they live in. School trips, visitors to the school and a range of focused activities enhance this learning.

Blue Pathway 

Learning takes place in a multisensory and experiential manner to suit the needs of learners. Students in this Pathway may work on better understanding object permanence, so that they can consider what has happened in the past or learning may be related to the passing of time through engaging activities such as ‘Days of the week’. They will consider what has occurred in their lives so far through examining their own baby or childhood photos and they will explore historical places in our local community such as Ely Cathedral or the Oliver Cromwell museum.

Green Pathway

History is taught within the ‘My World’ area of the Green Pathway. It draws on links to topics and familiar texts that inspire and challenge learners and is taught in a practical and hands-on manner. Practical activities range from building castles using junk modelling, sampling recipes from the past or dressing up as characters from a certain historical era. Visits to The Toy Museum or Ely Museum will also take place throughout the year.

Teachers use pupils' and their families own lives and experiences to illustrate history. Students gain an understanding of how we need to respect and care for historical artefacts; begin to compare how we live today to events of the past and begin to understand how the past has shaped our world today. They know about some similarities and differences between themselves and people from the past and gain an understanding of the passing of time.

Yellow Pathway

History is taught as a discrete lesson in the Yellow Pathway. Learning takes place through topic based work and is brought to life through visits to places such as Denny Abbey Museum, the Museum of Anthropology or the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.

We sequence lessons to ensure that students have covered the skills required to meet the aims of the National Curriculum, making considered adaptations for their learning needs.

Teachers make learning more relevant and engaging by incorporating History into a cross-curricular plan to work alongside other subjects such as Design Technology, English and Art. Students gain an understanding of chronology by looking at events in a sequential order and learn about historical enquiry and the important of understanding a source's reliability. 


Impact is seen in a multitude of ways. With some of our learners, we may see increases in explorative skills, interaction, engagement and attention or showing curiosity. Other students may show the impact of historical learning through an increased vocabulary, development of specific knowledge and skills or the ability to have a conversation with someone about links between past and current world events.


Our Religious Education (RE) curriculum gives students planned access to experiences that help them learn about and reflect on different religions and beliefs. This is often linked to planning around ‘big questions’, and may include opportunities to construct knowledge and reflect on different religions, beliefs and practices through stories, sensory experiences and visits. Our curriculum reflects the syllabus planned by the local SACRE (Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education) group, although many of our learners will experience this learning at a different pace and at different stages to those suggested for mainstream schools.

The religions and beliefs taught and explored initially reflect the beliefs of the students' home environments and communities, the local area, the UK and then the wider world. Our syllabus includes Christianity, Judaism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Humanism. Lessons often reflect the celebrations and festivals happening at that time of year in to add further meaning and a real-life aspect to the content. Lessons are planned to ensure students access teaching and experiences which enable them to both experience facts and knowledge as well as reflect on how they or others feel about a question or situation.

Blue Pathway

Students following the Blue Pathway are engaged in pre-formal learning, which is not subject specific. RE is incorporated into the six Pathway areas but has significant links within the My World area. Students are supported to work towards curriculum targets such as:

•Experience a range of different cultures and religions, through celebrations, stories objects and food

•Develop an understanding of places away from the immediate environment

The RE experiences planned for these students will be based on themes which are pertinent to them and the community they live within. This will include Christian themes, festivals and ideas but may also include Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism beliefs, festivals, stories, places of worship, routines and celebrations. These themes are taught and experienced through sensory stories, music, tasting and sensory opportunities, massage, dance, visits and role play.  The student on the right is being supported to throw paint-covered cotton wool balls after learning about the festival of Holi.


Green Pathway

Students are supported to work towards curriculum targets such as developing:

  • an understanding of themselves and their own beliefs and views. The views and beliefs of people around them and to develop their knowledge of the wider world and the views and beliefs within it (the student on the left is making samosas after a lesson linked to religion in India)
  • communication skills to enable themselves to express views, preferences, ideas and thoughts. They will be supported to develop their questioning skills
  • positive attitudes towards other people and their right to hold different beliefs, appreciating similarities and differences in people their views and beliefs



RE also links to other areas of the Green Pathway such as My Communication; students may listen to and reflect on religious stories. My Play; students may use role play to experience and think about different ceremonies. My independence; students may develop and apply their independent skills when visiting places of worship. My Body and Wellbeing- students will have opportunities to reflect on how they feel and where appropriate how other people feel. My Thinking- Students will be supported to look for similarities and differences within belief systems, ceremonies, buildings etc

Students following the Green Pathway will have the opportunity to learn about and reflect on Christian, Islamic, Hindu, Jewish, Sikh and Buddhist themes, festivals and ideas over a 5 year period with Christian elements featuring every year. Teachers ensure that the content they present is meaningful and accessible to all including reflecting and respecting the home beliefs of students.

Yellow Pathway

Through learning about the major world religions, pupils are supported to develop;

  • an understanding of their own theological and philosophical views and beliefs

  • their ability to engage in discussions about world views including the ability to ask questions

  • an understanding of the main beliefs, ideas, celebrations and themes within worldviews and will notice similarities and differences between these

  • their subject knowledge of worldviews, places of worship and major religious celebrations

RE in this Pathway is taught and learned through stories, music, tasting opportunities, role play, visits and planned reflection time. Cross-curricular opportunities with other subjects are made to reinforce prior learning.

RE Annual Plan


Through our RE curriculum, our students become more open minded - they have a better understanding of a range of belief systems; an increased awareness of and reflection upon their own beliefs and those of other people. They are more able to think about and communicate their thoughts on life's big questions. 

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