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Eaton Primary School

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Geography Curriculum

Our Curriculum Drivers are to promote resilience, develop communication and ensure all pupils have access to all learning possibilities both in and out of the classroom.

‘You can travel the seas, poles and deserts and see nothing.  To really understand the world, you need to get under the skin of the people and places.  In other words, learn about geography.  I can’t imagine a subject more relevant in schools.’ 
Michael Palin



Our Curriculum Intent is for pupils to know more, do more and learn more.

In geography, children will do this by understanding that ‘geography is the study of where places are found, what they are like and the relationships between people and their environments’.

A guiding principle of Geography is that each study draws upon prior learning.  High volume and deliberate practice is essential for pupils to remember and retrieve substantive knowledge and use their disciplinary knowledge to explain and articulate what they know. This means pupils make conscious connections and think hard, using what they know.

Through our curriculum, children will connect and build on knowledge each year, to become ‘more expert’ with each study.


Geography is built around the principles of cumulative knowledge focusing on spaces, places, scale, human and physical processes with an emphasis on how content is connected and relational knowledge acquired. An example of this is the identification of continents, such as Europe, and its relationship to the location of the UK.

What do we teach?

Our Geography curriculum teaches substantive knowledge (the subject knowledge and vocabulary to learn about the content) and disciplinary knowledge (the knowledge of how to think as a Geographer).


Substantive Knowledge:

Location – Where a place is found.

Place – What a location looks like, including the human and physical features. 

Human – The built environment and effect of migration and settlement.

Physical – The natural environment and how it is impacted by physical processes and human effects.

Skills and Fieldwork – Collecting information about people, places and environment.


Disciplinary Knowledge: Thinking Geographically

Place – The impact and influence of people.

Space – Specific location on our earth.

Scale – To understand locality compared to globality (zooming in and out).

Connection – Links to the local area and further on a regional, county, country and global level.

Physical and Human Geography – An appreciation of how places evolve and are shaped from past to present and future.

Environment – Knowing the human and physical features of a place and thinking about our own impact on our world.

Sustainability – How we can be a responsible citizen.

Culture – To understand and know more about how others live all over the world.

Diversity – The difference between places from both a human perspective and physical perspective.


Early Years Foundation Stage (Areas of the curriculum which have geographical elements.)

  • Understanding the world People, Culture and Communities

Recognising similarities and differences between life in the UK and in other countries

Exploring different religions and cultural communities in this country and the world

Investigating natural materials

Understanding to care and respect for the natural environment and all living things


  • The Natural World

Making observations of the world around them

Recognising similarities and differences between environments

Exploring the seasons


  • Mathematics
    Position and Direction (behind, in front, next to, under, beside and above)


Year 1

  • Locational Knowledge

Continents and Oceans

Countries, capital cities and seas of the United Kingdom

  • Human and Physical Geography

Hot and cold locations including: the equator, the North & South Poles and seasonal/daily weather patterns in the United Kingdom

  • Skills and Fieldwork

Mapping and fieldwork (through stories and a school study)


Year 2

  • Place Knowledge

Comparison of a non-European location with a small area of the UK (London & Nairobi)

Compare an alternative non-European locality (Yanomami people of the Amazon rainforest and our local environment)

  • Human and Physical Geography

Local area study focusing on human and physical features

  • Skills and Fieldwork

Mapping and fieldwork including: using simple compass directions (North, South, East and West), introducing different map scales and sketching a map, remembering a map key, title and compass

Year 3

  • Locational Knowledge

UK study focusing on cities and counties, human and physical landmarks, and topological patterns

  • Human and Physical Geography

Local area study using the 8 points of the compass to locate human and physical features

  • Skills and Fieldwork

Mapping and fieldwork: Understanding Ordnance Survey Maps and scale


Year 4

  • Place Knowledge


  • Locational Knowledge

Latitude and Longitude including time zones and day & night

  • Human and Physical Geography

Water Cycle


  • Skills and Fieldwork

Mapping and fieldwork the study of the environmental regions of Europe, Russia, North and South America


Year 5

  • Human and Physical Geography

World countries, cities, biomes, environmental regions and human & physical features   

  • Skills and Fieldwork

4 and 6 figure grid references

Ordnance Survey map and fieldwork including: contour lines and scale


Year 6

  • Place Knowledge

Comparison study of North America, Europe and UK

Settlements, Land Use and Economic activities

  • Human and Physical Geography

Physical processes: studying the earth’s structure, earthquakes, volcanoes and mountains

Settlements, Land Use and Economic activities

  • Skills and Fieldwork

Mapping and orienteering

How do pupils learn?

At the start of each Geography study, children are introduced to a big idea that connects the substantive knowledge to the disciplinary knowledge. They will then explore an enquiry in each lesson which will include activities which revisit prior knowledge, support new vocabulary, practice - engage with – apply new substantive knowledge and explore misconceptions. Children will be supported by a knowledge organiser for each study and a knowledge note for each lesson which includes the enquiry question/s and essential vocabulary with pictorial examples and definitions. At the end of each study, children will be able to show through a variety of ways of recording there knowledge and understanding of that study’s big idea.


Geography is planned so that the retention of knowledge is much more than just ‘in the moment knowledge’. The cumulative nature of the curriculum is made memorable by the implementation of Bjork’s desirable difficulties, including retrieval and spaced retrieval practice, word building and deliberate practice tasks. This powerful interrelationship between structure and research-led practice is designed to increase substantive knowledge and accelerate learning within and between study modules. That means the foundational knowledge of the curriculum is positioned to ease the load on the working memory: new content is connected to prior learning. The effect of this cumulative model supports opportunities for children to associate and connect with places, spaces, scale, people, culture and processes.


The Geography curriculum fulfils and goes well beyond the expectations of the National Curriculum.

How do we know what children have learned (Impact)?

  • Questioning
  • Pupil Book Study
  • Talking to techers
  • Low stakes ‘Drop-in’ observations
  • Quizzing and retrieval practise
  • Feedback and marking
  • Progress in book matches the curriculum intent
  • Structured assessment tasks
  • Cumulative quizzes
  • Discussion