EYFS and Key Stage 1 Geography Rationale  

The EYFS and KS1 geography curriculum is knowledge rich, with topics designed to focus in on those key objectives needed in order to build the fundamental knowledge needed. The basic skills learnt through EY and KS1 are essential building blocks, ready for KS2 discrete lessons.

Geography in the Early Years is taught under the umbrella of ‘Understanding of the World’ from the EYFS. The children are supported in developing the knowledge, skills and understanding that helps them to make sense of the world. The pupils are encouraged to talk about where they live and what’s around them. They are beginning to gain knowledge and understanding of the world through:

  • Photographs
  • Listening to stories and memories of older people
  • Role play activities
  • Discussing various places, they have been to locally
  • Discussing weather changes

In KS1, pupils should develop knowledge about the world, the United Kingdom and their locality. They should 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.

Key Stage 2 Geography Rationale  

The KS2 geography curriculum is based on the only safe assumption that a teacher can make: that the pupil might go on to study the subject at university, require particular subject knowledge in their future career, or need particular subject knowledge or skills to enable them to be active members of society. As a result, the curriculum has been designed to be fit for that purpose. The geography curriculum incorporates fundamental geographical knowledge and skills, allowing pupils to build on a firm foundation in future years. An introduction to settlements, tectonic processes and hydrological and climatic processes introduces Year 3 pupils to concepts, vocabulary and knowledge that is capitalised on in subsequent years, laying important foundations of much of their future geographical learning. When pupils study Migration in Year 4, they will utilise their knowledge of settlement types in order to deepen their understanding of migration patterns. This knowledge and understanding support their comprehension of why communities develop around areas of rich natural resources, and how slums develop. The Natural Resources unit then feeds into the Year 5 unit on Energy and Sustainability, by supporting pupils’ understanding of where energy comes from and how greater sustainability can be achieved. The Year 6 units on Population and Globalisation draw on themes that have been explored throughout KS2, so pupils are really able to approach these complex topics with a great depth and breadth of knowledge. The Rivers unit in Year 4 follows on from the Water, Weather and Climate unit and pupils then continue to build on this knowledge of physical processes through the Biomes unit. The Local Fieldwork unit is in Year 6, so that pupils are exposed to geographical research in KS2. This is a crucial part of a child’s geographical education and we have intentionally incorporated this unit at the end of KS2 to capitalise on their greater maturity and geographical knowledge.


At St Luke’s CE Primary School, we value Geography, and a high-quality geography education should inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Our Geography curriculum aims to equip 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 our pupils’ progress, their growing knowledge about the world will help 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.


A complete annual audit of the Geography curriculum is conducted. Following the findings from this audit, the Geography curriculum has been carefully built and the learning opportunities and assessment milestones for each year group crafted to ensure progression and repetition in terms of embedding key learning, knowledge and skills. For example, in Year 1 they focus on a topic called ‘Weather and Fieldwork Skills’ and then further down the line in Year 3, they revisit the weather topic in ‘Water, Weather and Climate’.

Geography subject specific characteristics, which we expect the children to demonstrate, have been developed and shared with all stakeholders. These characteristics underpin all work in Geography and form a focal point for display areas and provide a common subject specific vocabulary for staff and pupils. These characteristics are:

  • beinspired, curious and fascinated about the world and its people
  • developknowledge about the world to help them deepen their understanding of the interaction between the physical and human processes and the formation of landscapes and environments
  • developcontextual knowledge of the location of globally significant places both terrestrial and marine
  • understandthe processes that give rise to key physical and human geographical features of the world and how these are interdependent
  • collect,analyse and communicate with a arrange of data gathered through experiences of fieldwork
  • interpreta range of maps, diagrams, globes, aerial photographs and (GIS) systems
  • communicate geographical information in a variety of ways maps, numerical skills and writing at length


We use both formative and summative assessment information in every Geography lesson. Staff use this information to inform their short-term planning and short-term interventions. This helps us provide the best possible support for all of our pupils, including the more able. The assessment milestones for each phase have been carefully mapped out and further broken down for each year group. This means that skills in Geography are progressive and build year on year.

Our staff use Geography essays to formative assessments children’s learning and knowledge gained throughout the topic. This is also used to help inform their future planning.

Assessment information is collected frequently and analysed as part of our monitoring cycle. This process provides an accurate and comprehensive understanding of the quality of education in Geography. A comprehensive monitoring cycle is developed at the beginning of each academic year. This identifies when monitoring is undertaken. Monitoring in Geography includes: book scrutinises, lesson observations and/or learning walks, pupil/parent and/or staff voice.

All of this information is gathered and reviewed. It is used to inform further curriculum developments and provision is adapted accordingly.

Geography characteristics

Geography Curriculum Map

Geography Progression Map

Click the link below to view our Geography school blog page to see some examples of how our pupils flourish in Geography at St. Luke’s: