Curriculum Intent: Geography

Our Curriculum Drivers

Characteristics of a Geographer

  • An excellent knowledge of where places are and what they are like.
  • An excellent understanding of the ways in which places are interdependent and interconnected and how much human and physical environments are interrelated.
  • An extensive base of geographical knowledge and vocabulary.
  • Fluency in complex, geographical enquiry and the ability to apply questioning skills and use effective analytical and presentational techniques.
  • The ability to reach clear conclusions and develop a reasoned argument to explain findings.
  • Significant levels of originality, imagination or creativity as shown in interpretations and representations of the subject matter.
  • Highly developed and frequently utilised fieldwork and other geographical skills and techniques.
  • A passion for and commitment to the subject, and a real sense of curiosity to find out about the world and the people who live there.
  • The ability to express well-balanced opinions, rooted in very good knowledge and understanding about current and contemporary issues in society and the environment.


Our pupils should be able to organise their knowledge, skills and understanding around the following learning hooks:

  • Investigate places
  • Investigate patterns
  • Communicate geographically 

These key concepts or as we like to explain them to children – learning hooks, underpin learning in each milestone. This enables pupils to reinforce and build upon prior learning, make connections and develop subject specific language. 

For a copy of our humanities progression, please click here. Additional information regarding EYFS progression can be found here.

The vertical accumulation of knowledge and skills from Years 1 to 6 is mapped as follows:

Threshold Concept

Key Skills

Milestone 1

Years 1 and 2

Milestone 2

Years 3 and 4

Milestone 3

Years 5 and 6

Investigate places

 Ask and answer geographical questions (such as: What is this place like? What or who will I see in this place? What do people do in this place?).

• Identify the key features of a location in order to say whether it is a city, town, village, coastal or rural area.

• Use world maps, atlases and globes to identify the United Kingdom and its countries, as well as the countries, continents and oceans studied.

• Use simple fieldwork and observational skills to study the geography of the school and the key human and physical features of its surrounding environment.

• Use aerial images and plan perspectives to recognise landmarks and basic physical features.

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

• Name and locate the world’s continents and oceans.

• Ask and answer geographical questions about the physical and human characteristics of a location.

• Explain own views about locations, giving reasons.

• Use maps, atlases, globes and digital/computer mapping to locate countries and describe features.

• Use fieldwork to observe and record the human and physical features in the local area using a range of methods including sketch maps, plans and graphs and digital technologies.

• Use a range of resources to identify the key physical and human features of a location. 

• Name and locate counties and cities of the United 

Kingdom, geographical regions and their identifying human and physical characteristics, including hills, mountains, cities, rivers, key topographical features and land-use patterns; and understand how some of these aspects have changed over time. 

• Name and locate the countries of Europe and identify their main physical and human characteristics.

• Collect and analyse statistics and other information in order to draw clear conclusions about locations.

• Identify and describe how the physical features affect the human activity within a location.

• Use a range of geographical resources to give detailed descriptions and opinions of the characteristic features of a location.

• Use different types of fieldwork sampling (random and systematic) to observe, measure and record the human and physical features in the local area. Record the results in a range of ways. 

• Analyse and give views on the effectiveness of different geographical representations of a location (such as aerial images compared with maps and topological maps - as in London’s Tube map).

• Name and locate some of the countries and cities of the world and their identifying human and physical characteristics, including hills, mountains, rivers, key topographical features and land-use patterns; and understand how some of these aspects have changed over time.

• Name and locate the countries of North and South America and identify their main physical and human characteristics.

Investigate patterns

 Understand geographical similarities and differences through studying the human and physical geography of a small area of the United Kingdom and of a contrasting non-European country.

• 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. 

• Identify land use around the school.

• Name and locate the Equator, Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere, the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, Arctic and Antarctic Circle and date time zones. Describe some of the characteristics of these geographical areas.

• Describe geographical similarities and differences between countries.

• Describe how the locality of the school has changed over time. 

• Identify and describe the geographical significance of latitude, longitude, Equator, Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere, the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, Arctic and Antarctic Circle, and time zones (including day and night).

• Understand some of the reasons for geographical similarities and differences between countries.

• Describe how locations around the world are changing and explain some of the reasons for change.

• Describe geographical diversity across the world.

• Describe how countries and geographical regions are interconnected and interdependent.

Communicate geographically

 Use basic geographical vocabulary to refer to: 

• key physical features, including: beach, coast, forest, hill, mountain, ocean, river, soil, valley, vegetation and weather. 

• key human features, including: city, town, village, factory, farm, house, office and shop.

• Use compass directions (north, south, east and west) and locational language (e.g. near and far) 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 grid references (A1, B1).

• Describe key aspects of: 

• physical geography, including: rivers, mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes and the water cycle. 

• human geography, including: settlements and land use.

• Use the eight points of a compass, four-figure grid references, symbols and key to communicate knowledge of the United Kingdom and the wider world.

• Describe and understand key aspects of: 

• physical geography, including: climate zones, biomes and vegetation belts, rivers, mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes and the water cycle. 

• human geography, including: settlements, land use, economic activity including trade links, and the distribution of natural resources including energy, food, minerals, and water supplies.

• Use the eight points of a compass, four-figure grid references, symbols and a key (that uses standard Ordnance Survey symbols) to communicate knowledge of the United Kingdom and the world.

• Create maps of locations identifying patterns (such as: land use, climate zones, population densities, height of land).

Aspirations For The Future

Pupils develop an understanding of how subjects and specific skills are linked to future jobs. 

Here are some of the jobs you could aspire to do in the future as a Geographer:
· Marine Biologist
· Helicopter Mission Controller
· Forester
· Farmer

For more careers, please visit First Careers.



Through the explicit teaching of the Geography skills, both the teachers and the pupils assess their learning continuously throughout the lesson. At the end of the unit, pupils use their Learning Passports to reflect on their knowledge and understanding. Our assessment systems enable teachers to make informed judgements about the depth of their learning and the progress they have made over time.   

Pupil Voice

"I love using Google Maps on the ipads to find new places. Google Earth is good too" - Charlie P

"We get to find places on the maps" - Olivia H

"We get to learn about different environmental issues" - Alfie


Here is what Geography looks like at The Meadows:

Disclaimer: This has been developed with reflection upon the National Curriculum (2014) and Chris Quigley’s Essential Curriculum.