We believe that Geography is a key foundation in helping children to understand their place in the world and their ability to influence the outcomes of human activities. As we prepare children to take custody of our planet, we aim to help them understand its beauty and fragility, and the power of their choices to protect it.
Human geography (places, landmarks, trade, economy, communities, cultures)
Physical geography (natural features, processes and patterns)
The geography curriculum has been designed on the concept of starting small and with the familiar then moving further afield and developing a greater depth of knowledge to underpin understanding and skills. It builds the skills that are necessary for secondary school as well as equipping our children with an understanding of maps, places and the world.
A major theme running through every topic is the identification of physical and human characteristics of the places. This is returned to frequently and in increasing depth across topics. This links to our understanding of how ‘who is in charge’ impacts human activity and its effects, which is a key thread linking our humanities curriculum.
In the Foundation Stage, early geographical concepts are begun through the Prime areas including communication and language and early mathematics strands, and the Understanding of the World strand. Across the rest of the school, Geography is taught as a discreet subject in blocks. Through each year, fieldwork and mapping skills are developed progressively as seen on the progression map. Children use digital technology such as Barefoot Atlas, Google Earth and River Runner to complement their learning.
In the Foundation Stage
Children start to think about different locations through their topics – for example, they may consider where different animals are found in the worlds. They begin to recognise how different environments are similar and different to where they live. They begin to describe the position of different things suing prepositional knowledge which is a key foundation for map work. They discuss the originals of different materials and where these are found, for example shells, and how to respect different environments. They begin to understand that people are diverse and may come from different countries.
In Key Stage 1
The children will begin to build local knowledge: my house – my street – my village with the focus being on Sutton Courtenay.
The children will learn about another city in the UK (London).
They will study this city and make connections back to their knowledge of Sutton Courtenay.
In KS1 the children need to learn that the world is round (and point to the Equator), there are different continents, we live in the UK/England, surrounded by sea, weather patterns. They will also touch on there being four countries in the UK and their capital cities.
In Year 3
Knowledge is widened to look in more detail at the four countries in the UK. They will need to know the capitals and identify them on a map. They will study some new towns/cities in the UK. These could be the capitals or could be other towns that link to coasts. They will need to be able to name the seas around the UK.
They need to know how beaches are made (two types of waves) and touch lightly on erosion. They could also learn about the importance of ports/trade.
In Year Four
Children will look at Europe and study Italy (in detail) and Russia (in brief). Using Italy, they will learn about mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes. They will locate Italy and surrounding counties and think about trading across the land and seas. They will study Pompeii.
The children will study water, weather and climate with Russia as a case study. They start to learn about biomes e.g. polar in Northern Russia (Siberia), tropical in Southern Russia (Sochi on Black Sea coast).
In Year Five
The children will begin to see their disciplinary knowledge in the context of current world affairs. In physical geography they will study rivers, the water cycle and climate (including impacts of climate change nationally and internationally). They will investigate rivers around the world, in particular Africa, and make links with their learning in History about Ancient Egypt and the River Nile making comparisons to the River Thames. Within the human geography framework , the children learn about national and international migration, the effects this has on people and places and the impact of climate change (including flooding) on future migration. Studying migration enables children to further develop their locational and place knowledge.
In Year Six
The children will deepen their understanding of biomes and climate zones, developing their understanding of the consequences of climate change. They will compare the biomes seen in North and South America. There is also a strong focus in Year 6 on geographical skills, particularly the use of maps to navigate. The children will learn to undertake an in depth fieldwork study in the local area.
Progression in Geography
Over their time at school, children will:
Deepen their geographical knowledge so that they are aware of relative locations and their geographical physical features
Become increasingly aware of how human activity has shaped the locality and wider world that they currently live in.
Build on prior-learning and explicitly make connections between what they have previously learned and what they are currently learning.
Participate in high-quality visits and field work to further investigate geographical questions and hypothesise in response to data
Become increasingly critical and reflective within their thinking be able to use these in their discussion and written work, making informed and balanced judgements based on their knowledge of the locational features
Explore and identify where the power lies in different localities and how this impacts on human life.
Geography is assessed through staff collaboration and discussion around the evidence of children’s work. A summative judgement is made each year and reported to parents.
See how this group of Year 5 children were able to use their knowledge of European geography and history to explain their understanding of events in Ukraine, March 2022.