The Geography curriculum is a knowledge rich curriculum. The knowledge pupils will gain has been carefully specified, ordered coherently and builds over time. As pupils work through our geography curriculum they will know and understand more about the world around them.
A good geographical understanding relies on firm foundations of knowledge and skills. The skills our curriculum develops, like the knowledge, are specified, ordered coherently and progress over time. This curriculum structure helps pupils to deepen their understanding of physical and human geographical processes, fostering curiosity and fascination for the world we live in.
Approaching primary geography with a knowledge rich focus means that the knowledge pupils will be taught has been identified, in each year group, in each unit and in each lesson. As pupils work through the curriculum they will know more and understand more about their local area, the UK, Europe and the World. This rigorous approach, builds geographical knowledge and understanding in a way that builds on pupils’ prior knowledge, allowing them to make meaningful connections and gain an understanding of how our world is connected.
Conceptual understanding is at the heart of our curriculum. Pupils will learn about key geographical concepts such as place, space, the environment and interconnection. Over time, pupils will add to their conceptual understanding with many examples of geographical knowledge in context. Pupils will become more skilled at answering questions such as; what is it like to live in this place? What are the challenges of this environment? How have people changed this landscape over time? Pupils will gain an understanding of what geographers do, what they look for and what they may say about a place.
Our geography curriculum equips pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people and environments. Our aim is that arming pupils with powerful knowledge about the world around them will help them to develop a love for the subject of geography, and recognise their own role in becoming a responsible global citizen.
Following the 'Primary Knowledge Curriculum', each year begins with a ‘Spatial Sense’ unit that explicitly teaches geographical skills such as locating places on a map, positioning items on a map, using symbols in a key, interpreting scale, reading climate graphs, identifying locations using co-ordinates, interpreting population data and more. The spatial sense units for each year group are positioned at the beginning of the year to explicitly teach skills which will then be used in context throughout the rest of the year as pupils apply those skills to learn more about people, places and the environment. The spatial sense units build on prior knowledge before moving pupils on as the level of challenges increases from year to year. The aim of the spatial sense units is to build pupils’ geographical literacy so that they are able to use an atlas, maps and geographical data with ease to answer questions they may have about the world.
Pupils’ knowledge and understanding of British geography builds over time. Beginning with a general understanding of the countries of the UK, pupils then study units that focus closely on areas of the UK including the South West of England, London and the South East. When studying these areas, pupils look at the defining physical and human characteristics of the regions, key topographical features such as hills, mountains, coasts and rivers, how the landscapes and environments have formed over time and how they are used today.
In years 2 and 4, pupils will study units of European geography that introduce regions of Europe, climate, trade, industry, landmarks, physical features and contrasting environments. Pupils will interpret a range of geographical information including maps, diagrams and climate graphs. Comparisons will be made between places in Europe and the local area. Areas studied include Northern Europe and Eastern Europe. Studying Europe in detail will not only help pupils to understand the people, places and environment in the regions, but will provide foundational knowledge for their studies in other subject areas, for example their studies in History.
Alongside their study of the UK and Europe, pupils will extend their knowledge beyond these regions to study world geography. When studying world geography, pupils will focus on places such as New Zealand and the South Pacific, North America and South America. Applying their knowledge and understanding of the globe, latitude, longitude, the hemispheres and time zones, pupils will describe and understand the physical geography of countries and continents, including biomes, rivers, mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes. They will consider a range of human geographical features, such as settlements, land use, trade links and natural resources.
Geographical vocabulary develops and evolves from EYFS to KS1 and through to KS2. The promotion of a language rich geography curriculum is essential to the successful acquisition of knowledge and understanding in geography.
To enhance our Geography offer, pupils will also participate in a whole school ‘Environmental’ theme week, where each year group explores a specific environmental issue. This includes recycling, reducing waste, litter and plastic pollution, food waste, energy, climate change and air pollution.
The curriculum is the progression model. If pupils are able to demonstrate they are able to know and remember more against our curriculum expectations they are making good progress and attaining expected standards.
During and/after lessons, pupils are assessed through informal assessment techniques: questioning, conferencing, reviewing written work against learning objective/success criteria, short retrieval activities.
At the end of units, pupils are assessed using multiple choice questions, high quality conversations, use of knowledge organisers/quizzes and pieces of extended writing assessed against our unit expectations.
Beyond the Curriculum
- Where possible, trips are planned to support pupil understanding and fieldwork.
- Our whole school Environmental theme week explores a range of environmental issues, including current local concerns. The school’s location supports work on safer and healthier travel plans.
- Units have been carefully identified considering our local context and ensuring learning experiences relate to our pupils.
- WE Project participation – campaign to bring about change in a single issue. Pupils are encouraged to use their voice to campaign for change.
- Involvement in geographical debates supports pupils in becoming effective communicators and collaborators.
- Pupils live and breathe sustainability, which comes through our assemblies, Geography curriculum, Bowes Parliament and Rights Respecting Schools.
- Participation in community projects, e.g. the local Food Bank, Anti-Idling Campaign and The Felix Project.
Please find available for download the Geography Primary National Curriculum and our Geography Overview.