Message sent from:

Geography Curriculum Overview


“Geography explains the past, illuminates the present and prepares us all for the future. What could be more important than that?” Michael Palin

Geography in our own words

At Carlton Hill Primary School, children are encouraged see themselves as Geographers, to develop a greater understanding of the world, as well as their place in it. In essence to develop their own sense of ‘place and space’. We say, “Geography is developing our understanding about people, places and spaces.” Through Geography, we foster curiosity in our children and equip them with the confidence and skills to better understand their place in the world, where they live and who they are. It helps us to see ourselves as Global citizens, understand how we are all connected and how we can make the world a better place.

Geography is, by nature, an investigative subject that provides answers to questions about natural and human aspects of the world. The Geography curriculum enables children to develop knowledge and skills that are progressive and transferable to other curriculum areas. We seek to inspire in children a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people which will remain with them for the rest of their lives. We also aim to promote the children’s interest and understanding of diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes.

How is our Geography curriculum organised?

Geography at Carlton Hill is taught in topics throughout the year that start with a key geographic question which leads to practical tasks using a range of geographic tools and ending with a conclusion drawn from the data and evidence gathered.

As children work through our geography curriculum they will know more, understand more about the world around them. 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.

As children work through the curriculum they will know more and understand more about their local area, the UK, Europe and the World. Children learn about key geographical concepts such as place, space, the environment and interconnection. Over time, children will add to their conceptual understanding with many examples of geographical knowledge in context. Children 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? Children will gain an understanding of what geographers do, what they look for and what they may say about a place.

The Geographic Process

Question – What do we want to know about?

‘Being Geographers‘

Investigation/Doing – What will we do to answer the question? (look at maps, use aerial photographs, carry out fieldwork etc)

Conclusion – What was the answer to the question? What skills did we use? What have we learnt about ….?

This three part method of question, investigation and conclusion, is evident both in the design of an individual lesson, as well as in the design of a six week unit of learning. Children are encouraged to repeat the process with greater independence and apply their new skills through an ‘end of unit’ individual research project.

Through their work in Geography, children learn about their local area and compare their life in this area with that in other regions in the United Kingdom and in the rest of the world. As pupils progress, they deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments. They learn how to draw and interpret maps and use subject-specific vocabulary relating to human and physical Geography, with accuracy and confidence.

The progressive development of these skills from year group to year group is fundamental to and underpins all the learning and teaching at Carlton Hill. As with all subjects at Carlton Hill Primary School, key vocabulary is also deliberately taught and revisited.

Each year our geography curriculum begins with a ‘Locational Geography’ unit that explicitly teaches general geographical knowledge, position and significance, UK and Global. This includes 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, identifying elevation on relief maps and more. Additionally, this includes fieldwork focus in the final week. The locational units for each year group are positioned at the beginning of the year to teach skills which will then be used in context throughout the rest of the year as children apply those skills to learn more about people, places and the environment. The map skills lessons build on prior knowledge before moving children on as the level of challenges increases from year to year.

In Key Stage One the Locational units require children to undertake fieldwork and use observational skills to study the geography of their school and the surrounding environment. In Key Stage 2 children continue to build their map skills and undertake fieldwork to observe, record and present the human and physical features in the local area, focussing on an issue that the local area faces. The aim of the units is to build children’s 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.

When studying these areas, children look at the defining physical and human characteristics of our local area and regions of the UK, 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.

During their second geography focus children, from Year 2 to Year 6, study European and World geography. These units introduce regions of Europe, climate, trade, industry, landmarks, physical features and contrasting environments. Children interpret a range of geographical information including maps, diagrams and climate graphs. Comparisons will be made between Europe and the local area. Areas studied in Mediterranean Europe. Studying Europe in detail will not only help children to understand people, places and environments in the regions, but will provide foundational knowledge for their studies in other subject areas, for example their studies of the Romans in History.

Alongside their study of the UK and Europe, children extend their knowledge beyond these regions to study world geography. When studying world geography children will focus on places such as North America, South America and Africa (Kenya). Applying their knowledge and understanding of the globe, latitude, longitude, the hemisphere’s and time zones, children will describe and understand physical geography of countries and continents and including biomes, vegetation belts, rivers, mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes. They consider a range of human geographical features such as settlements, land use, trade links and natural resources.

What is the impact of our Geography curriculum?

The impact of our History curriculum is assessed in a variety of ways.

1. Knowledge. At the start of a unit children are given an opportunity to show off their current understanding of key physical and human features of Geography through a practical task. They receive a cover sheet which they annotate weekly building a picture of their knowledge, skills and understanding of the topic.

2. Skills. During a unit, geography skills are explicitly taught, and children are given the opportunity to acquire and embed them. In order to assess pupil’s use of these skills, children are then given the opportunity to use and apply them by undertaking their own independent research project. Independent research projects allow children to develop their own area of interest related to a place, often as part of a comparative study, leading to children planning and presenting their findings and reflecting on the geography skills they used to answer their question.

3. Pupil voice and book look. The Geography Coordinator meets with pupils to look at and celebrate recorded work in books and discuss their experience of teaching and learning in geography.

4. Planning review and teacher feedback. The Geography Coordinator routinely reviews planning and meets teachers to discuss their experience of teaching and learning in history and provide feedback on evidence in books, pupil voice and planning. This is a critical dialogue about successes, areas for development and identifying how best to support teachers with ideas, resources or CPD.

What are the inspirations for our geography curriculum?

Inspiration for our geography curriculum comes from our amazing locality. We are fortunate to live in a geographically unique and culturally diverse ‘city by the sea’.

What do our pupils have to say about geography?

“It’s about our world and how we can all look after it.”

“I think that it is about us all being part of one big family.”

“We look at maps and the world.”

“We find out about other people and places."

Progression of skills and knowledge

Hit enter to search