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At Southwold, our intent is to provide high-quality geography education that inspires curiosity and fosters a deep understanding of our world. We aim to develop children’s knowledge, skills, and understanding of human and physical geography, environmental issues, and key geographical concepts and skills in line with the National Curriculum. Our geography curriculum is designed to encourage children to be curious and to ask questions, so that they can develop a sense of wonder about the world around them. We also aim to equip our children with the skills they need to investigate, analyse and appreciate the complex relationships between human society and the environment.

We believe that an outstanding geography curriculum is one that is reflective of the needs of our children and that is built around their interests and experiences. Our programme of study is designed to be inclusive and to provide opportunities for all children to excel, irrespective of their starting points.


At Southwold, we use the Kapow Geography spiral curriculum. Children revisit topics throughout their time at Southwold to ensure that they have solidified key knowledge. Cross-curricular links are included throughout each unit, allowing children to make connections and apply their Geography skills to other areas of learning. We build upon prior knowledge the children have rather than starting again every time. Every time a skill is revisited, it is explored in more depth to ensure progression.  Meaning, when children leave Southwold, they are well equipped, successful geographers and well-rounded members of society.

In EYFS geography falls under Understanding the World, People Culture and Communities ELG. Geography is a part of everyday conversations by tapping into the diverse heritage of our pupils. This often involves looking at a map or globe and discussing different features like sea, land and naming countries and continents. We also select story books to create longer, focussed sessions.

Through continuous provision, children will have opportunities to describe their immediate environment using knowledge from observations, discussion, stories, non-fiction texts, and maps. They will have opportunities to explain some similarities and differences between life in this country and life in other countries, drawing on knowledge from stories, non-fiction texts and – when appropriate – maps.

Geography lessons will be taught over one half termly period in Years 1 – 6, following the Cycle A and B Curriculum Overview.

We have developed our geography curriculum around the following 4 strands:

1. Locational Knowledge – At Southwold, children start by learning about their local area, Nottingham. We then progressively widen the scope of their study to include the UK as a whole, and then the wider world. We strive to create an understanding of the globe’s major economies, diverse cultures and political systems – knowledge that is vital to helping our children function effectively in their increasingly connected world.

2. Place Knowledge – Children are encouraged to explore different places beyond their own locality. They learn to describe and understand the physical and human characteristics of different places including their geology, climate and settlements and society.

3. Human and Physical Geography – We teach children to identify, describe and understand the key features of the environments that humans are a part of. This includes topics such as volcanoes, climate change, earthquakes, environmental sustainability and the needs and rights of communities and cultures within different environments.

4. Geographical Skills and Fieldwork – We are committed to ensuring that our children have the chance to learn by exploring, taking measurements, recording observations and using maps, globes and digital technologies. They are given opportunities to take part in fieldwork activities, to support their knowledge, skills and understanding of GIS (geographical information system) and the collection and interpretation of primary and secondary data.

Each strand is woven into every topic at Southwold, meaning year on year the children build on their skills, developing their geographical knowledge.  This is called a ‘Spiral Curriculum’ where the children revisit topics throughout their time at Southwold to ensure that they have solidified key knowledge. Cross-curricular links are included throughout each unit, allowing children to make connections and apply their Geography skills to other areas of learning. We build upon prior knowledge the children have rather than starting again every time. Every time a skill is revisited, it is explored in more depth to ensure progression.  Meaning, when children leave Southwold, they are well equipped, successful geographers and well-rounded members of society.

At Southwold we understand the different types of knowledge the children need to succeed as geographers.

  1. Substantive knowledge (‘knowing about’)

Substantive knowledge is the content that children will learn through studying the Geography curriculum: the recognised knowledge of the world and the human and physical processes that affect the people and environments within it.

  1. Disciplinary knowledge (‘ways of knowing’)

Children gain knowledge of the subject as a discipline, considering how geographical knowledge (such as the substantive knowledge they study) originates through geographical practice. Fieldwork enquiries in each unit give children the opportunity to understand and follow the same processes that geographers follow to find answers to enquiry questions and to consider the validity of these answers.

  1. Procedural knowledge (‘knowing how to’)

Children gain procedural knowledge primarily through the geographical skills and fieldwork strand. They learn knowledge of how to collect, analyse and communicate data and geographical information from fieldwork, maps and use other sources and consider how to interpret this range of sources to answer enquiry questions.

It is important that children consider the ways that geographers’ question and explain the world and begin to ‘think like a geographer.’ We have used this enquiry cycle when planning the fieldwork studies throughout our scheme to encourage children to ask geographical questions and learn how geographers reach their answers through enquiry.

Enquiry questions form the basis for our units, meaning that children gain a solid understanding of geographical knowledge and skills by applying them to answer the enquiry questions.

The questions have been designed to be open-ended with no preconceived answers and therefore they are genuinely purposeful and engage children in generating a real change. In attempting to answer them, children learn how to collect, interpret and present data using geographical methodologies and make informed decisions by applying their geographical knowledge.

Each unit contains elements of geographical skills and fieldwork to ensure that fieldwork skills are practised as often as possible. Our units follow an enquiry cycle that maps out the fieldwork process of question, observe, measure, record, and present, to reflect the elements mentioned in the National curriculum.

This ensures children will learn how to decide on an area of enquiry, plan to measure data using a range of methods, capture the data and present it to a range of appropriate stakeholders in various formats. Fieldwork includes smaller opportunities on the school grounds to larger-scale visits to investigate physical and human features. Developing fieldwork skills within the school environment and revisiting them in multiple units enables children to consolidate their understanding of various methods. It also gives children the confidence to evaluate methodologies without always having to leave the school grounds and do so within the confines of a familiar place. This makes fieldwork regular and accessible while giving children a thorough understanding of their locality, providing a solid foundation when comparing it with other places.

Lessons incorporate various teaching strategies from independent tasks to paired and group work, including practical, hands-on, computer-based and collaborative tasks. This variety means that lessons are engaging and appeal to those with a variety of learning styles. Differentiated guidance is available for every lesson to ensure that all children can access learning through adaptive teaching, and opportunities to stretch children’s learning are available when required. Knowledge organisers for each unit support children in building a foundation of factual knowledge by encouraging recall of key facts and vocabulary.


Children have opportunities to contribute the environmental issues through the Green Team. Pupil leaders address issues at local level (school) and consider wider implications. They have led on initiatives to reduce food waste, improve recycling in school and reduce plastic waste through a school toy swap. Our House Captains, represent the school at the local Primary Parliament. During these sessions, there are further opportunities to discuss environmental issues in the city and how Southwold can support initiatives.

Assessment of Geography at Southwold

We track our children’s’ progress in Geography throughout their time at Southwold and this helps us to focus their learning and ensure that they are making good progress building on previous learning. Through the implementation of our geography curriculum, we will ensure that our children leave Southwold as lifelong learners with a profound knowledge of the world in which they live.

Every lesson begins with the ‘Recap and recall’ section which is intended to allow children retrieval practice of key knowledge relevant to the upcoming lesson. This section also provides teachers with an opportunity to make informal judgements about whether children have retained prior learning and are ready to move on. Each lesson contains the ‘Assessing progress and understanding’ section which helps teachers to identify those children who are secure in their learning or working at a greater depth in each lesson.

Each unit of work assesses children’s understanding and retention of key knowledge using an assessment quiz with nine multiple choice questions and one open-ended question.

In addition, each unit uses either a skills or knowledge catcher, depending on the key strands covered in the unit. This can be used at the beginning and/or end of a unit and gives children the opportunity to further demonstrate their understanding of the key concepts covered. Assessment quizzes, and skills and knowledge catchers provide teachers with a record of summative assessment as evidence of progression throughout the year and as children move between key stages.


After following Southwold’s geography curriculum, children should leave school equipped with a range of skills and knowledge to enable them to study Geography with confidence at Key stage 3. We hope to shape children into curious and inspired geographers with respect and appreciation for the world around them alongside an understanding of the interconnection between the human and the physical.

The expected impact of following our curriculum is that children will:

  • Compare and contrast human and physical features to describe and understand similarities and differences between various places in the UK, Europe and the Americas.
  • Name, locate and understand where and why the physical elements of our world are located and how they interact, including processes over time relating to climate, biomes, natural disasters and the water cycle.
  • Understand how humans use the land for economic and trading purposes, including how the distribution of natural resources has shaped this.
  • Develop an appreciation for how humans are impacted by and have evolved around the physical geography surrounding them and how humans have had an impact on the environment, both positively and negatively.
  • Develop a sense of location and place around the UK and some areas of the wider world using the eight-points of a compass, four and six-figure grid references, symbols and keys on maps, globes, atlases, aerial photographs and digital mapping.

Our geography curriculum aims to have a positive impact on our children’s lives both while at school and beyond. By the time our children leave Southwold, they will have gained essential knowledge, skills and understanding that will enable them to make well-informed decisions, appreciate diversity and have a passion for environmental conservation. Additionally, children will develop a deep understanding of their place in a global context which will be highly valuable in their future careers and lives.

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