A high-quality geography education inspires in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Teaching equips pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes.
As pupils progress, their growing knowledge about the world helps them to deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments. Geographical knowledge, understanding and skills provide the frameworks and approaches that explain how the Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and change over time.
Our curriculum for geography 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
It also aims to ensure that they 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.
Key stage 1
Pupils are taught to develop their knowledge about the world, the United Kingdom and their locality. They learn to understand basic subject-specific vocabulary relating to human and physical geography and begin to use geographical skills, including first-hand observation, to enhance their locational awareness.
Pupils are taught to:
- name and locate the world’s seven continents and five oceans
- name, locate and identify characteristics of the four countries and capital cities of the United Kingdom and its surrounding seas
- understand geographical similarities and differences through studying the human and physical geography of a small area of the United Kingdom, and of a small area in a contrasting non-European country
Human and physical geography
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.
They are also taught to use basic geographical vocabulary to refer to:
- key physical features, including: beach, cliff, coast, forest, hill, mountain, sea, ocean, river, soil, valley, vegetation, season and weather
- key human features, including: city, town, village, factory, farm, house, office, port, harbour and shop
Geographical skills and fieldwork
- use world maps, atlases and globes to identify the United Kingdom and its countries, as well as the countries, continents and oceans studied at this key stage
- use simple compass directions (North, South, East and West) and locational and directional language (for example, near and far; left and right), to describe the location of features and routes on a map
- use aerial photographs and plan perspectives to recognise landmarks and basic human and physical features; devise a simple map; and use and construct basic symbols in a key
- use simple fieldwork and observational skills to study the geography of their school and its grounds and the key human and physical features of its surrounding environment.
Key stage 2
Pupils are taught to extend their knowledge and understanding beyond the local area to include the United Kingdom and Europe, North and South America. This includes the location and characteristics of a range of the world’s most significant human and physical features.
They will be encouraged to develop their use of geographical knowledge, understanding and skills to enhance their locational and place knowledge.
Pupils are taught to:
- locate the world’s countries, using maps to focus on Europe (including the location of Russia) and North and South America, concentrating on their environmental regions, key physical and human characteristics, countries, and major cities
- name and locate counties and cities of the United Kingdom, geographical regions and their identifying human and physical characteristics, key topographical features (including hills, mountains, coasts and rivers), and land-use patterns; and understand how some of these aspects have changed over time
- identify the position and significance of latitude, longitude, Equator, Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere, the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, Arctic and Antarctic Circle, the Prime/Greenwich Meridian and time zones (including day and night)
- understand geographical similarities and differences through the study of human and physical geography of a region of the United Kingdom, a region in a European country, and a region within North or South America
Human and physical geography
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: types of settlement and land use, economic activity including trade links, and the distribution of natural resources including energy, food, minerals and water
Geographical skills and fieldwork
- use maps, atlases, globes and digital/computer mapping to locate countries and describe features studied
use the eight points of a compass, four and six-figure grid references, symbols and key (including the use of Ordnance Survey maps) to build their knowledge of the United Kingdom and the wider world
use fieldwork to observe, measure, record and present the human and physical features in the local area using a range of methods, including sketch maps, plans and graphs, and digital technologies.
A high-quality history education helps pupils gain a coherent knowledge and understanding of Britain’s past and that of the wider world. It inspires pupils’ curiosity to know more about the past.
Teaching will equip pupils to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement. History helps pupils to understand the complexity of people’s lives, the process of change, the diversity of societies and relationships between different groups, as well as their own identity and the challenges of their time.
Our curriculum for history aims to ensure that all pupils:
- know and understand the history of these islands as a coherent, chronological narrative, from the earliest times to the present day: how people’s lives have shaped this nation and how Britain has influenced and been influenced by the wider world
- know and understand significant aspects of the history of the wider world: the nature of ancient civilisations; the expansion and dissolution of empires; characteristic features of past non-European societies; achievements and follies of mankind
gain and deploy a historically grounded understanding of abstract terms such as ‘empire’, ‘civilisation’, ‘parliament’ and ‘peasantry’
- understand historical concepts such as continuity and change, cause and consequence, similarity, difference and significance, and use them to make connections, draw contrasts, analyse trends, frame historically-valid questions and create their own structured accounts, including written narratives and analyses
- understand the methods of historical enquiry, including how evidence is used rigorously to make historical claims, and discern how and why contrasting arguments and interpretations of the past have been constructed
- gain historical perspective by placing their growing knowledge into different contexts, understanding the connections between local, regional, national and international history; between cultural, economic, military, political, religious and social history; and between short- and long-term timescales.
Key stage 1
Pupils are taught to develop an awareness of the past, using common words and phrases relating to the passing of time. They will learn where the people and events they study fit within a chronological framework and identify similarities and differences between ways of life in different periods.
They will be taught to use a wide vocabulary of everyday historical terms. They should ask and answer questions, choosing and using parts of stories and other sources to show that they know and understand key features of events. They should understand some of the ways in which we find out about the past and identify different ways in which it is represented.
In planning to ensure the progression described above through teaching about the people, events and changes outlined below, teachers will often introduce pupils to historical periods that they will study more fully at key stages 2 and 3.
Pupils are taught about:
- changes within living memory. Where appropriate, these are used to reveal aspects of change in national life
- events beyond living memory that are significant nationally or globally
(for example, the Great Fire of London, the first aeroplane flight or events commemorated through festivals or anniversaries)
- the lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements. Some should be used to compare aspects of life in different periods:
(for example, Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria, Christopher Columbus and Neil Armstrong, William Caxton and Tim Berners-Lee, Pieter Bruegel the Elder and LS Lowry, Rosa Parks and Emily Davison, Mary Seacole and/or Florence Nightingale and Edith Cavell)
- significant historical events, people and places in their own locality.
Key stage 2
Pupils will continue to develop a chronologically secure knowledge and understanding of British, local and world history, establishing clear narratives within and across the periods they study. They should note connections, contrasts and trends over time and develop the appropriate use of historical terms.
Pupils will regularly address and sometimes devise historically valid questions about change, cause, similarity and difference, and significance. They should construct informed responses that involve thoughtful selection and organisation of relevant historical information. They will be taught to understand how our knowledge of the past is constructed from a range of sources.
In planning to ensure the progression described above through teaching the British, local and world history outlined below, teachers will combine overview and in-depth studies to help pupils understand both the long arc of development and the complexity of specific aspects of the content.
Pupils are taught about:
- changes in Britain from the Stone Age to the Iron Age
(for example, late Neolithic hunter-gatherers and early farmers, Skara Brae; Bronze Age religion, technology and travel, Stonehenge, Iron Age hill forts: tribal kingdoms, farming, art and culture)
- the Roman Empire and its impact on Britain
(which could include: Julius Caesar’s attempted invasion in 55-54 BC; the Roman Empire by AD 42 and the power of its army; the successful invasion by Claudius and conquest, including Hadrian’s Wall; British resistance, for example, Boudica; ‘Romanisation’ of Britain: sites such as Caerwent and the impact of technology, culture and beliefs, including early Christianity)
- Britain’s settlement by Anglo-Saxons and Scots
(which may include: the Roman withdrawal from Britain in c. AD 410 and the fall of the western Roman Empire; Scots invasions from Ireland to North Britain (now Scotland); Anglo-Saxon invasions, settlements and kingdoms: place names and village life; Anglo-Saxon art and culture; Christian conversion – Canterbury, Iona and Lindisfarne.)
- the Viking and Anglo-Saxon struggle for the Kingdom of England to the time of Edward the Confessor
(which could include: Viking raids and invasion; resistance by Alfred the Great and Athelstan, first king of England; further Viking invasions and Danegeld; Anglo-Saxon laws and justice; Edward the Confessor and his death in 1066.)
- a local history study
(examples include: an in-depth study linked to one of the British areas of study listed above; a study over time tracing how several aspects of national history are reflected in the locality (this can go beyond 1066); a study of an aspect of history or a site dating from a period beyond 1066 that is significant in the locality.)
- a study of an aspect or theme in British history that extends pupils’ chronological knowledge beyond 1066
(which may include: the changing power of monarchs using case studies such as John, Anne and Victoria; changes in an aspect of social history, such as crime and punishment from the Anglo-Saxons to the present or leisure and entertainment in the 20th Century; the legacy of Greek or Roman culture (art, architecture or literature) on later periods in British history, including the present day.)
- the achievements of the earliest civilizations – an overview of where and when the first civilizations appeared and an in-depth study of one of the following:
?Ancient Sumer; The Indus Valley; Ancient Egypt; The Shang Dynasty of Ancient China
- Ancient Greece – a study of Greek life and achievements and their influence on the western world
a non-European society that provides contrasts with British history – one study chosen from: early Islamic civilization, including a study of Baghdad c. AD 900; Mayan civilization c. AD 900; Benin (West Africa) c. AD 900-1300.
a significant turning point in British history, (for example, the first railways or the Battle of Britain)