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Biggin Hill School, Bromley


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. Teaching should 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 pupils progress, their growing knowledge about the world should 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 framework and approaches that explain how the Earth's features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and change over time.


The national 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
  • 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

Attainment targets

By the end of each key stage, pupils are expected to know, apply and understand the matters, skills and processes specified in the relevant programme of study.


In the EYFS Curriculum, some geographical concepts are introduced within Development Matters and the Early Learning Goals in the Knowledge of the World section. In particular, for children to have an opportunity to:

  • Comment and ask questions about aspects of their familiar world such as the place where they live or the natural world.
  • Talk about some of the things they have observed such as plants, animals, natural and found objects.
  • Talk about why things happen and how things work
  • Develop an understanding of growth, decay and changes over time
  • Show care and concern for living things and the environment.
  • Know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things.
  • Talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another.
  • Make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur and talk about changes.

Key stage 1

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. Pupils should be taught to:

Locational knowledge

  • name and locate the world's 7 continents and 5 oceans
  • name, locate and identify characteristics of the 4 countries and capital cities of the United Kingdom and its surrounding seas

Place knowledge

  • 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
  • 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 should extend their knowledge and understanding beyond the local area to include the United Kingdom and Europe, North and South America. This will include the location and characteristics of a range of the world's most significant human and physical features. They should develop their use of geographical knowledge, understanding and skills to enhance their locational and place knowledge. Pupils should be taught to:

Locational knowledge

  • 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)

Place knowledge

  • 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 in 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 8 points of a compass, 4- and 6-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

Curriculum time

Because at BHPS we use the Learning Challenge curriculum, topics are organised via a series of enquiry based lessons which capture the interests of the children and make the learning relevant to them, whilst meeting the National Curriculum requirements.

The starting points take the form of a big question with subsidiary questions that help to broaden the learning and ultimately allow the big question to be answered. They are usually taught on a block basis, with lesson times varying dependent upon aspects being covered and fieldwork visits. Cross curricular working may also include some geographical aims within a broad context of enquiry.

Enriching Geography

We aim to facilitate opportunities which develop the skills, talents and experiences of classes, groups and individuals.

We aim to widen and enrich the geography curriculum with educational visits to places of interest. We try to use our local environment as much as possible and, in connection with this, we sometimes take children on walks around our local area. Such visits are a very important aspect of curriculum provision for all classes: they are linked to current work, and provide children with first-hand, memorable experiences, invaluable to their learning.

Year 6 are given the opportunity each year to take part in a residential visit. These have proved to be very enjoyable, and highly beneficial to all-round development.


We aim to ensure that all children have equality of opportunity in their access to the geography curriculum, regardless of race, culture, gender or special educational needs.

All children are given tasks appropriate to their individual needs. No one teaching strategy will be sufficient in itself but teachers may use any of the following approaches:

  • children can be given different resources to assist them.
  • children can be given differing levels of support by the teacher and other children.
  • children can be given open-ended tasks which allow for a range of different outcomes.


Teachers are responsible for the safety of their children and they ensure at all times that the children are working and behaving in a manner that will not cause harm to themselves, other children or staff. A Risk Assessment is carried out prior to any fieldwork activity.

Geography Road Map

Curriculum Quicklinks