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Our Geography Story

National Curriculum Intent


‘The national curriculum for geography aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • develop contextual knowledge of the location of globally significant places – both terrestrial and marine – including their defining physical and human characteristics and how these provide a geographical context for understanding the actions of processes
  • understand the processes that give rise to key physical and human geographical features of the world, how these are interdependent and how they bring about spatial variation and change over time
  • are competent in the geographical skills needed to:
  • collect, analyse and communicate with a range of data gathered through experiences of fieldwork that deepen their understanding of geographical processes
  • interpret a range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes, aerial photographs and Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
  • communicate geographical information in a variety of ways, including through maps, numerical and quantitative skills and writing at length.’



At Old Clee Primary Academy we place a great emphasis upon the importance of Geography lessons being enquiry based and promoting independent learning. In doing so, we strive to inspire in our pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and to provide them with the opportunities to become global citizens, deepening their interest and wonder in exploring their own place in the world. This has been further enhanced by our recent journey towards becoming a thinking school. Metacognition underpins everything that we do at Old Clee. We aim to develop creative thinkers, resilient problem solvers and reflective questioners who are equipped with the skills and knowledge to make a positive impact in the world around them.


Our children will develop a sense of their world on a local, national and global level understanding both how people affect their environment and how environments affect human behaviour. Areas of study are interleaved with the aim of aiding retrieval and of knowledge becoming part of children’s long term memory.

Our children will gain an understanding of people and places in more distant areas so they can begin to realise the great and rich variety of our world. They will have a clear understanding of their responsibilities within their own society whilst also having a sound awareness into the sustainability of an ever-changing world.

Through the teaching of geography, Old Clee intends to:

  • Increase pupils’ awareness, knowledge and understanding of other cultures.
  • Develop pupils’ key skills, including how to use and interpret maps.
  • Make pupils aware of environmental problems at a local, regional and global level.
  • Encourage pupils to commit to sustainable development.
  • Develop a variety of skills, including those in relation to problem-solving, computing and collecting data in order to form conclusions.




    Our Geography Concepts are continually revisited throughout Years 1 to Year 6. These are the consistent 'umbrella' concepts that all objectives sit under. 

    • To investigate places - this concept involves understanding the geographical location of places and their physical and human features.
    • To investigate patterns - this concept involves understanding  the physical features of places and the human activity within them, and the appreciation of how the world's natural resources are used and transported.
    • To communicate geographically - this concept involves understanding geographical representations, vocabulary and techniques. 


    Each subject concept has its own facet of rich knowledge categories which help to strengthen the geography schema. These are taught and revisited throughout each year group from Year 1 to 6. 






    Criteria for progression sits within the Geography end points set out for each year group. These are the end points pupils should reach to show they are meeting the expectations of the curriculum. The route to achieving the goals includes creating a strong schema, based on rich knowledge, subject specific vocabulary and POP tasks (Proof of Progress). 


    Our long term plans provide a clear list of the breadth of topics that will be covered - they are the curriculum drivers. Each year group has four geography drivers including fieldwork, underpinned by the National Curriculum. Whilst not all knowledge categories are taught within each driver, pupils are exposed to these across each academic year. It is through the revisiting of each category that geography connections are deepened and helps strengthen learning in the long term memory.  


    Foundation Stage

    Within the Early Years Foundation Stage, activities and experiences for pupils are based on the seven areas of learning and development. Provision focuses upon four specific areas:

    • Literacy
    • Maths
    • Understanding the world
    • Expressive arts and design

    In particular, geography-based activities play an important role in developing pupils’ understanding of the world, helping them to comprehend a world beyond their local community.


    Key Stage 1 Geography Drivers

    In Key Stage 1, pupils will develop knowledge about the world, the United Kingdom and their locality. They will be taught how to use basic vocabulary pertaining to human and physical geography. The focus of the KS1 geography curriculum is location and place knowledge with human and physical geography and fieldwork interwoven across the year. In Year 1, the four countries of the United Kingdom as well as Sydney, Australia are interleaved throughout autumn, spring and summer terms. In Year 2, the focus is on the continents and oceans which are also interleaved, along with fieldwork, throughout the three terms.


    Key Stage 2 Geography Drivers

    Pupils should extend their knowledge and understanding beyond the local area to include the United Kingdom and Europe, and North and South America. This will include the location and characteristics of a range of the world’s significant human and physical features. The areas of place and locational knowledge, physical geography, human geography and local geography and fieldwork are interleaved and revisited every term. They are taught during the same academic weeks to allow the Subject Lead to monitor progression across the school.




    Geography is delivered in fortnightly lessons with a Proof of Progress (POP) task at the end of every term (way points). This will give teachers a clear understanding of knowledge retention. Areas of study will be interleaved to develop schema knowledge and aid retrieval so that information can extend to children’s long term memory. A schema is created when pupils organise knowledge into meaningful units. Knowledge webs present topics around the threshold concepts (big ideas) in geography by using relevant knowledge categories. 

    The example below shows how the topic for the Tropical rainforest biome has been presented using the relevant knowledge categories of location, physical features, diversity and human processes.




    Because learning is a change to long-term memory, it is impossible to see the impact in the short term. We do, however, incorporate retrieval practice within our lessons to help learning become part of children’s long-term memory. We use comparative judgement in two ways: in the POP tasks we set and in comparing pupils’ work over time. We use lesson observations to see if the discovery-based lessons allow for deepened learning. POP tasks require pupils to undertake an independent activity which tests the combined retrieval of several previously taught concepts.

    Children have regular opportunities for retrieval practice and to reflect on their learning. They continue to build a range of vocabulary to enable them to articulate their understanding of geography. Children develop their geographical skills by implementing them throughout the year and building on them as they move up the school. They understand the processes that cause change over time to physical and human features. 

    Our children are confident in explaining what it means to be a geographer – that a geographer can locate and describe places across the world and investigate them using resources; can talk about patterns in countries in terms of both weather and physical and human features; and can use geographical vocabulary to describe a place's location and their physical and human features.

    Teachers will feel confident teaching geography and subsequently will be confident in their delivery of our curriculum. CPD, lesson observations, learning walks, feedback and professional dialogue will offer teachers the support they need to build confidence in the subject.


    An example of skill progression within our geography curriculum


    G2.1 Understand seasonal weather and describe hot and cold places in relation to where they are in the world.


    Year 1

    Year 2

    Year 3

    Year 4

    Year 5

    Year 6

    Recognise some similarities and differences between life in this country and life in other countries.

    I can describe patterns in the weather and the seasons and say if the place is near the North or South Pole or the equator.

    I can describe patterns in the weather and the seasons and describe hot and cold places near the North or South Pole and the equator.

    I can find patterns in the characteristics of locations using vocabulary like equator and hemisphere.

    I can use appropriate vocabulary like equator, hemisphere tropics and Arctic and Antarctic Circles to describe patterns in the characteristics of locations.

    I can describe some geographical features and zones (tropics, Arctic and Antarctic Circles and time zones) and say why they are important.

    I can describe in detail some geographical features and zones (tropics, Arctic and Antarctic Circles and time zones) and say why they are important.


    Priorities for 2023-2025

    • A focus on more practical and enquiry based learning outside the classroom. This will embed the skills that the children will need to understand the world around them and apply these in a practical way. 
    • An investment into staff CPD to enhance the teaching of Geography to take learning to the next level. 
    • Exploration of ways to further adapt resources and the curriculum for the needs of SEND children to ensure the curriculum is still ambitious for all.

    Exploring the world using the class map in Year 6