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Curriculum Intent for Geography

Children develop a growing understanding of where they are in the world.  They acquire a developing knowledge of human and physical features and the impact people have upon them.  Children start by understanding their immediate locality and through the school this is used as a basis to compare and contrast with other locations around the world.  Through an enquiring and inquisitive approach to teaching children realise the complexity of geographical events and issues.  Children realise that their actions and the actions of others have an impact and can influence the world in which they live.   



Fieldwork is an essential part in children acquiring key Geographical skills and knowledge; learning about their local environment which then can be compared to other areas around the world. 

Maps, globes, atlases and aerial photographs are used to support children in their understanding of their place within the world.   There is also a progression in using maps and mapping skills in a meaningful way as a source of information.

Key geographical vocabulary is planned, developed explicitly in teaching and revisited.






Autumn 1

Autumn 2

Spring 1

Spring 2

Summer 1

Summer 2




Journey on the playground Gingerbread man


Naughty Bus



Year 1


Weather science

Mapping Skills



Local history -canals

Weather science

Year 2



London and Macclesfield

Melbourne Australia

Historical explorers.


Year 3








Year 4

Romans – Italy 

Water cycle science


Rocks and soils



Year 5

Ancient Greece


Economic development


Local Environment



Year 6

Aztecs –Mexico/Spain



Local study





*   Links to other subjects  

Early Years

Children explore their local area and begin to understand that a map can represent a journey.  They use characters to plot a trail around the school grounds and begin to draw this as a map.  They use directional language to explain where things are e.g. left and right.  They also use positional language e.g. next to or under.   They look at what features make up their immediate locality and start to learn about similarities and differences between communities. 




Year 1

Children build on their understanding in the Early Years to develop their knowledge of mapping skills.  They are taught that a plan view is taken from above and shows only those objects that do not move and is a representation of what that place is like at that moment in time.  They use this to create a plan of the classroom including the key features.  They learn that like plan views maps show where things are and are linked to aerial photographs, which are taken from above.  They look at an aerial photograph of Pussbank school and identify what they can see.  Children become aware that landmarks can be identified as physical (e.g. wooded area in school grounds) and human features (e.g. car park) and are able to distinguish between them.  Children refer back to the journey maps they created in the Early years to draw maps of the physical and human features surrounding Puss Bank School.  They begin to know that symbols and keys are used to represent landmarks in the real world, these are included in the children’s own work.  In order to locate where things are children are taught to use a compass and use this to show what is south, north, west or east of our school. 

Children begin to look beyond our local area, to Macclesfield’s position in the UK and the UK’s position in the world. They identify hot and cold areas of the world in relation to the Equator and the North and South Poles (link with Science theme – Weather).  Then they study a town in Kenya.  They look for similarities and differences, focussing on human and physical features.  They begin to understand that the weather changes depending on where you live in the world. 


Year 2

Children use world maps, atlases and globes to look in more detail at the United Kingdom and its countries (building on Y1 map skills).  They identify these on the maps, learning the names of the capitals of the countries of the United Kingdom and the surrounding seas.  They then focus on London and make comparisons with Macclesfield, looking at physical and human features.  They use aerial photographs and maps to study the two geographical areas of the UK.  They carry out fieldwork and use map skills to identify physical (e.g.River Thames vs River Bollin or the Canal) and human features (e.g. Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament vs the town hall) in their local area. 

They study a small area in a contrasting non-European country (Melbourne, Australia – link to Summer term History – Amelia Earhart). They build on work in Year 1 thinking about how weather is different in other counties depending on their proximity to the equator.  They also build on their knowledge of similarities and differences by making comparisons with their own locality.   They use aerial photographs to observe human and physical features of Melbourne. 


Year 3

They start by using maps and globes to identify climatic zones of the world.  They build on work in KS1, thinking about how distance from the equator affects the weather.  They start to identify the position and significance of latitude and longitude and the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.  They identify environmental regions with specific focus on rainforests and South America.  They also use world maps to identify other rainforest regions referring back to their location.  They are introduced to the idea of biomes and vegetation belts and use this to make comparisons between the plants and animals found in and around Macclesfield and those in South America.  They discuss the reasons for the differences focusing on the climate.  They begin to understand the economic importance of natural resources and why the rainforests are important not only for the environment but also for financial reasons and the difficult balancing act between these often opposing benefits e.g. palm oil and deforestation.  


Year 4

Children use map skills to locate the counties where volcanoes are found and develop their use of atlases to identify plate margins across the world and how these link to natural disasters.    They refer back to work in Year 3 creating their own maps labelling the tropics, equator and well-known volcanoes.  Through observations they think about why people might be located near volcanoes and the implications that eruptions can have on a country.  

Year 5

Children refer back to the concept of natural resources (studied in Year 3 – Rainforests).  They build on this to think about what other natural resources can have economic benefits and then concentrate on growing foods around the world.  They refer back to previous work on climate and think about why certain foods come from different countries.  Again building on prior work on South America (Y3 Rainforests), they use maps to identify where foods come from with a focus on bananas from Colombia.  They think about the journey the banana takes from its starting point to being in our houses.  They use the cost of one banana to think about all the people involved in its harvest, transportation and selling and how much money people will get at each stage.  This links to Fairtrade fortnight and a discussion about sustainability and fair pay for farmers around the world. Children look at other areas in which bananas are grown and start to think about air miles and the impact on the environment.  Again referring back to the work on the rainforest, they discuss the environmental vs economic benefits of using natural resources. 

To extend their understanding of environmental impact they look at their school grounds and discuss ways they could make it better both for the environment and the children.  They use fieldwork skills to draw maps plans and sketches in order to locate areas they think need improving and make suitable recommendations.  


Year 6

Children are asked why rivers and water are important to our lives and how settlements are built up around them.  This links back to previous year groups (the Thames in London in Year 2 and the River Nile and the Amazon in Year 3).  This also links back to science work on the water cycle in Year 4.   The children find out how rivers are formed and the journey they take to the sea.  Using atlases, they locate the main rivers of the United Kingdom and compare this to the location of major cities.  They study our local river (Bolin) through fieldwork at Macclesfield Forest looking at key features including erosion, deposition, meanders and the journey of the river.  The children then use maps and atlases to locate other major rivers of the world, they look at the Mississippi and make comparisons, thinking about similarities and differences with the River Bolin.