Geography Subject Leader: E Garthwaite

Geography encourages pupils’ awareness of what is around them globally and locally, by enhancing their knowledge of countries, regions, cultures, and environments. 


At Cliffe Woods Primary School, we strive to inspire our children to have a curiosity and fascination about the world that we live in and the diversity around them. Our goal is for all children to develop a love of geography that we hope will continue throughout their school journey and into adulthood. Our ambitious geography curriculum is designed to have concepts weaved throughout every year group to encourage purposeful repetition and to ensure the progressive development of geographical concepts, procedural and semantic knowledge which consistently build on previous understanding. Our high-quality teaching of geography enables our children to understand their rights and responsibilities towards other people and the environment in which we live and instils a curiosity of the world which will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Pupils will be equipped with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments which is underpinned by geographical vocabulary enabling children to effectively communicate the interaction between physical and human processes in their community and the wider world.

In line with the National Curriculum (2014) and Quigley’s Essentials Curriculum, at Cliffe Woods we aim for all pupils to:

  • Be equipped with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments.
  • Contribute to a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes.
  • Explain how the Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and change over time.

In this way they will:

  • Develop contextual knowledge of the location of globally significant places (both terrestrial and marine)
  • Understand the processes that give rise to key physical and human geographical features of the world
  • Recognise that such processes bring about spatial variation and change over time.
pupils looking at the globe in georgraphy at cliffe woods primary school
pupils using computers to research geography


To ensure high standards of teaching and learning in geography, at Cliffe Woods Primary School we implement a curriculum that is progressive throughout the whole school. Our curriculum provides a framework which 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

Planning in school is structured systematically using the Chris Quigley Geography Curriculum Companion; this ensures that units are in line with our school approach of a concept-driven curriculum. Although a unit may have a particular focus, the learning progress is based on the geographical concepts: location, physical features, human features, diversity, physical processes, human processes and map techniques. We recognise that these will strengthen the schema as the basis of all geographical knowledge.

The needs of our children are met through a range of resources built on the Quigley Geography Curriculum Companion. Through the purposeful repetition of concepts, teachers know their children’s prior learning and are mindful of their own endpoints in relation to the expectations contained in subsequent years. A coherently planned and sequenced set of lessons is taught which consistently builds on previous understanding to embed key concepts in long-term memory. This repetitive approach ensures that geographical concepts are weaved throughout every year group to encourage purposeful repetition to ensure the progressive development of geographical concepts, procedural and semantic knowledge. Children have opportunities to revisit, apply and extend what they have already covered to ensure that learning is both cumulative and permanent. We believe that this is the best way for children to develop the knowledge and skills needed for mastery of a subject. Teachers have high expectations of children to use discussion to further learning and children are increasingly expected to give precise explanations, using technical and geographical terminology appropriately. Teachers model this practice, using the correct language within all learning. The promotion of a language-rich geography curriculum is essential to the successful acquisition of knowledge and understanding in geography.


As children move through school, their knowledge will develop progressively, and they will be constantly making links to prior learning. This will enable children to retain, use and build on their understanding as they make the transition to secondary education. Learning is continuously assessed throughout lessons and misconceptions are explained. Assessment trackers are updated throughout the year to assess the children’s understanding and acquisition of semantic and procedural knowledge within each milestone. Outcomes in geography books show a range of geographical objectives being taught and children are often encouraged to reflect on what they have learnt. Geography displays are present in all classrooms, displaying current learning and signposting geographical skills. Progressive weather charts in all classrooms provide opportunities for continuous learning in geography. Children develop an understanding and tolerance of diversity around the world and become confident, resilient geographers.

pupils researching about the world in georgraphy class at cliffe woods primary school

Geography in Each Stage

In our reception classes (EYFS), all children are taught geography as an integral part of the learning covered during the academic year. Geographical development within the EYFS is underpinned by the objectives of the early learning goal of Understanding the World, where children learn about their environment whilst comparing this to different environments, as well as understanding some natural processes such as the water cycle and seasonal changes. Teaching staff provide all children with rich geographical opportunities through playing, exploring and active learning. Children are continually encouraged to make meaningful connections in their learning.

georgraphy globe

In Key Stage 1, pupils will continue to build on their knowledge and understanding of the world around them. Pupils are given opportunities to use a range of resources, such as maps (including digital mapping) atlases and globes to investigate the world’s continents and oceans, as well as the countries and capitals of the United Kingdom. Pupils’ knowledge and skills are developed through their understanding of geographical similarities and differences between the human and physical geography of their locality and a non-European country (Australia.) Weather and climate, both in the locality and around the world, are explored and children identify seasonal and daily weather patterns and the location of hot and cold areas of the world in relation to the Equator and the North and South.

There are many opportunities for simple fieldwork where the pupils develop observational skills to study the geography of their school and its grounds and the key human and physical features of its surrounding environment.

pupil learning about earth in georgraphy class at cliffe woods primary school

In Key Stage 2, pupils extend their knowledge and understanding of the world to include the continents of Europe and North and South America. This understanding incorporates the location and characteristics of a range of the world’s significant human and physical features. Pupils will describe and understand key aspects of the physical geography of these places including climate zones, biomes, rivers, mountains, volcanoes, earthquakes and the water cycle, as well as the human geography of the areas such as types of settlement, land use and economic activities including trade links and the distribution of natural resources including energy, food, minerals and water supplies.

Pupils use a wide range of geographical sources to investigate places and patterns and use maps, atlases, globes and digital mapping to locate countries and describe the features studied. Children are familiar with using the eight points of the compass, four-figure grid references, symbols and keys to building their knowledge of the world.

Opportunities for fieldwork are given where pupils can observe, measure and record the human and physical features in the local area using a range of methods.

pupils researching about the indian ocean in geography lesson

Geography Progression

Geography Curriculum Overview


Geography Curriculum Milestones


SEND Information

Consideration will be given to how learners will be aided to support the school’s commitment to inclusion. Geography lessons will be accessible to all, with teachers adapting and differentiating the expectations and activities based on the needs of the children in their classes.

Geography Extra Resources

For remote learning, please visit our remote learning page or contact our Head of Geography for more information.