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The Oaks Primary School

From Little Acorns Grow Mighty Oaks


Geography Rationale


Our Geography curriculum is designed to build on from the children’s previous knowledge by designing well planned sequential units of work that build on from the children’s previous knowledge. Children will develop a good understanding of locational and place knowledge as well as understanding the effects of human and physical geography on our planet. Children will use skills and fieldwork to help them create diagrams, models and annotate them to show their understanding of the human and physical world. They will be able to make links with other disciplines such as science, history, art and maths.


In Early Years, children understand the world around them within their own space and family exploring their place in the world, my room, my family roots, my home, my street.  Through stories and narrative they explore similarities and differences between life in this country and life in other countries.


In year 1, children begin to develop a sense of place through understanding their own locality and building up to the United Kingdom as a country. Pupils learn through a journey of expanding areas of interest, starting with the school grounds and culminating in The United Kingdom, including the four countries and capitals that contribute to it. Children are exposed to compass points to support them in describing the location and land use of key geographical features, both human and physical. Key areas of learning will involve: our school, Druids Heath, Birmingham and the West Midlands and the United Kingdom. Children create and use maps to support them in: understanding ‘where things are’, develop a ‘bird’s eye view’ and understand ‘land and sea’. Children conclude the year’s programme in mapping key settlements that they will be studying in later programmes of study.


In year 2, children build on their previously learnt knowledge to develop an understanding of place on a global scale – constantly reviewing where The United Kingdom is compared to other locations on Earth. Children use maps, globes and Aerial images to build an understanding of where key countries, oceans and continents are located. Children build up a knowledge of where our planet’s polar, temperate and tropical zones are and how these affect The United Kingdom’s climate. Children become familiar with the five lines of latitude that divide these zones.


In lower key stage 2, children begin to use their knowledge of place to help understand why people live in certain locations. Children use previous knowledge to look more deeply at settlements around The United Kingdom – developing a good awareness of different settlement types. Children will be taught to use their knowledge of countries and continents to more deeply map the location of rivers, towns and cities around Europe, identifying key patterns such as the majority of capital cities being located on major rivers and why this may be the case, considering trade and requirements for life to thrive. Children begin to compare and contrast their own locality with that of [Berlin], investigating key human and physical factors. Within this phase, children also develop an understanding of key geographical processes that contribute to our country, these include:

  • Coasts – the key physical and human features and how they impact on one and other;
  • Rivers - there key features and how they are formed, as well why humans settle along rivers;
  • The Water Cycle – the geographical and scientific processes that form the cycle including the role of rivers and oceans in this.


In upper key stage 2, children use all of their previously learnt knowledge, including mapping, to develop an understanding of geographical processes which occur on a global scale, such as:

  • Tectonics – role in causing earthquakes and forming volcanoes and how this affects the human population;
  • Mountains – their formation and the role tectonics plays in this, where key ranges are located on each continent e.g. The Andes, The Alps, The Himalayas;
  • Biomes – where they are located, why they are located there and what the environment is like within them.


Children then use this knowledge and apply it to an in-depth study of The United Kingdom. Children broaden their understanding of settlements by comparing and contrasting another locality in North/South America.


Geography Overview Y1 -Y6