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Geography Curriculum Design

The study of geography is more than just recognising places on a map. It is about understanding the complexity of our world.  

President Barack Obama


At Thorpe Willoughby, we believe that Geography is, by nature, an investigative subject, which plays a critical role in developing children’s understanding of the world. We value the fascination with the world around us that geography can inspire.  At Thorpe, we seek to inspire in children this fascination and curiosity about the world through our curriculum design and half-termly themes where Geography is often a driver subject for our themes.


It is our aim that through these themes, our geography curriculum promotes children’s interest and understanding about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human features. We intend that our geography curriculum helps to provoke and answer questions about the natural and human world. We consider how we can live school values through learning about our locality and wider world and promote children’s spiritual, moral, social and cultural development when considering the impact on the Earth and its natural resources. 


As children progress through our geography curriculum, their growing knowledge of the world deepens through our themes. We intend that children learn about significant people, places and events in a geographical context. We want our children to know significant and famous landmarks and geographical features locally and globally. We intend that children learn about significant events that have impacted on our local areas such as canals, industry and also globally such as volcanoes erupting, rivers flooding and how the world has evolved evaluating the interaction between these physical and human processes.


To ensure children can further develop their geographical knowledge and understanding, our curriculum focuses on subject-specific vocabulary. When planning our themes, the vocabulary required to succeed is identified, planned and modelled to ensure it enriches and widens children’s vocabulary.


What Geography Looks Like at Thorpe Willoughby

At our Foundation Stage, we teach Reception aged children geography through the EYFS Development Matters for Early Years. Understanding the World is one of the four specific areas within the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and guides children to make sense of their physical world and their community. We want our geography curriculum to offer a range of experiences to increase their knowledge and sense of the ecologically diverse world around them.

Our geography curriculum for Key Stages 1 & 2 is developed around the Primary National Curriculum, England. Geography is taught through our half-termly themes for example Location Knowledge of North & South America is taught through our ‘Under the Stars’ theme. Geography often serves as the main driver subject for our themes ensuring explicit geography teaching within an immersive curriculum.


Within our Geography Curriculum, we ensure:

  • Three geography studies are taught explicitly each year. Additional geography studies are identified within the history curriculum where relevant.
  • All children perform studies of local areas and understand issues relating to local areas.
  • All children engage in geographical studies in the UK, Europe and the wider world.
  • All children will develop their geographical skills and fieldwork. They will regularly use maps, atlases, and the internet to explore geography in a range of ways. 
  • Children learn about significant people, places and events from around the world.
  • Enhanced experiences are provided to engage and support children’s learning. For example: visits to local areas and conducting practical fieldwork activities.


Geography - Whole School Overview