Subject Curriculum Vision

Through our teaching of Geography at Birley Primary Academy, we aim to instill within our children an all-encompassing understanding and curiosity of their local surroundings and wider world – including the people within it – that will remain with them throughout their lives. Our aim is to ensure that through an accumulation of knowledge, our children develop a level of respect for the diverse range of range of people, places, cultures and environments found both near and afar. Further to this, as children progress through our geography curriculum, their growing knowledge about the world will deepen and links between physical and human processes will help them make sense of the world they live in and how it has changed over time.


Aims of The National Curriculum

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.

The Teaching of the Curriculum

We believe that Geography helps to provoke and provide answers to questions about the natural and human aspects of the world. The geography curriculum and enquiry focused approach at Birley Primary Academy enables children to develop knowledge and skills that are transferable to other curriculum areas and which can be used to promote their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. In addition, through our enquiry-based approach, our pupils not only build subject knowledge and understanding, but they become increasingly adept at critical thinking, using specialised vocabulary and grasping subject concepts – outlined here.

Geography is delivered through subject-specific teaching, organised into the academy’s blocked curriculum under carefully chosen themes. Our curriculum is therefore ‘knowledge rich’ rather than content heavy as we recognise that if we attempt to teach geography topics, places, themes and issues in their entirety, we restrict opportunities for pupils to master and apply critical thinking skills and achieve more challenging subject outcomes. 

At Birley Primary Academy, we strive to ensure that our children develop a secure knowledge that they can build upon; therefore, our Geography curriculum is organised into a progression model that outlines the skills, knowledge and vocabulary to be taught in a sequentially coherent way. These can be viewed on the academy’s skills progression document below.

Meaningful cross curricular links are made with other subjects to strengthen connections and understanding for pupils while exploring historical contexts, particularly within our English Curriculum. Where possible, Reading and Writing lessons are linked to the topics and enrichment activities are planned in order to help immerse the children in the topic helping to make the learning more memorable. 

Our teaching and learning in geography is interactive and practical allowing opportunities for pupils to work independently, in pairs and also in groups of various sizes both inside and outside of the classroom.  Wherever possible, we provide our pupils with a range of resources and geographical evidence (including maps, Google Earth, photographs, artefacts etc.) and also films to analyse and from which to reach conclusions and make judgements.  Similarly, we provide varied and differentiated ways for pupils to record the outcomes of their work including the use of PowerPoint, concept mapping, annotated diagrams, improvised drama and the application of a wide range of writing genres. Only through meaningful cross-curricular links will knowledge become embedded and ‘sticky’ and ensure that our pupils can build on what they know and understand from one year to the next. Our teaching and learning in geography also recognises the importance of the local area with investigations involving observation, recording, presentation, interpretation and the evaluation of geographical information outside of the classroom.

Finally, at the start of each topic, children will review previous learning and will have the opportunity to share what they already know about their current topics. At the end of the topic, children complete a post-assessment task which assesses their retention and focusses upon geographical knowledge. Throughout each topic, children are provided with a knowledge organiser detailing some key information, dates and vocabulary. This is not used as part of an assessment, but to support children with their acquisition of knowledge and is used as a reference document.

Geography in the Early Years

In the Early Years, it is the first opportunity to see how a child interacts with their environment and how the environment influences them. Staff follow the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Statutory Framework which aims to guide children, to make sense of their physical world and their community by allowing them to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment – this is the first step of becoming a geographer.


Educational visits are an integral part of the curriculum at Glebe. They help bring geography ‘alive’ and give real substance and relevance to classroom learning. For example, as part of their geographical topic Hot and Cold Places, Year 1 children participate in a visit to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park to encounter animals that they may find in both of these contrasting locations.


At Birley Primary Academy, the impact of quality first teaching and a carefully planned Geography curriculum is that it fosters a love and enthusiasm for the subject. Pupils are able to talk with confidence about what they have learnt in Geography using subject specific vocabulary. They develop a deep geographical understanding through which a love of and curiosity for the world and people around them is fostered. They have a wide range of vocabulary and skills to draw upon which they can implement both in lessons and in real life situations. As children progress throughout the school, they develop a secure knowledge, understanding and appreciation of their local area and its place within the wider geographical context of the World. 

How do we monitor the impact of our geography curriculum?

At Birley Primary Academy, we monitor and measure the impact of our curriculum through learning walks, book scrutiny, pupil voice and formative and summative assessment. The impact of the curriculum will be judged by how well the pupils can remember, understand and apply the core knowledge they have learned. Key geographical skills, concepts and knowledge are mapped through statements describing the expectations for pupils in each year group. Teachers use the school assessment framework to regularly assess pupils’ learning against specific criteria by using a range of assessment tools to monitor pupil progress, for example: recall quizzes, assessment for learning, structured discussion-based activities, independent work completed, end-of-topic assessments and pupil voice. All summative assessment grades are inputted termly on the academy’s tracking system, DC Pro. Teachers meet to review and moderate individual examples of work against exemplification materials on an academy and locality level to validate judgements.

Readiness for Next Stage of Education

We endeavour to ensure that the sequence of content enables our children to progress whilst they are with us whilst also providing our pupils with the necessary foundations to build upon as they progress into secondary education and beyond. Further to this, from our teaching, all children will realise that they have choices to make in the world developing a positive commitment to the environment and the future of the planet.

Promotion of British Values and SMSC

Through our Geography curriculum, we ensure that our children are well-equipped for life in modern Britain. British Values are present throughout our Geography curriculum and are developed in numerous ways, such as:

  • Developing children’s questions by allowing them to consider questions regarding how different cultures live and work throughout the world.
  • We develop respect for our fellow pupils and encourage everyone to have the confidence to express their ideas and opinions regarding geographical issues such as pollution, environmental issues, water and globalisation. 

Further to this, our History curriculum is also driven by SMSC development and this can be exemplified in the following ways;

  • Spiritual – Through teaching geography, we can also develop children’s spiritual development. Essentially, Geography is about studying people; where they live and our relationship with the environment. This involves providing children with the opportunities to reflect on their own values and beliefs and those of others.
  • Moral – Most geographical issues provide opportunities for distinguishing a moral dimension; for example, should deforestation be allowed in a rainforest? Such issues are explored through fun decision-making activities, where children understand the views held by society, and by various groups within society, and will develop their own attitudes and values in relation to these.
  • Social – Fieldwork and classroom opportunities that the geography curriculum provides, enhances social development as pupils rely on collaborative skills to ensure the learning is successful. Geography also teaches an understanding of citizenship, where debates and discussions teach pupils about the planning process in a town or city.
  • Cultural – An essential component of Geography is place knowledge. By understanding the features and characteristics of their local area, children understand why it is like that, and can contrast where they live with more distant localities, in this country and abroad. This understanding ensures children are aware of the cultural traditions associated with the place they are studying, as well as our own multicultural society.


Geography Curriculum Overview

Geography Skills Progression