Aims and purposes

Geography teaching offers opportunities to:

  • stimulate students's interest in their surroundings and in the variety of human and physical conditions on the Earth's surface;

  • foster students's sense of wonder at the beauty of the world around them;

  • help students to develop an informed concern about the quality of the environment and the future of the human habitat; and

  • thereby enhance student's sense of responsibility for the care of the Earth and its people.

Content of geography

Geography is about developing knowledge, skills and understanding relating to people, places and environments at different scales, in the United Kingdom and overseas, and an appreciation of how places relate to each other and the wider world.

Geography offers opportunities for students to:

  • investigate and learn about the physical and human features of their own environment and appreciate how their locality is similar to and different from other places;

  • investigate a wide range of people, places and environments at different scales around the world;

  • focus on geographical questions like What is it like?/ Where is it?/ How did it get like this?/How and why is it changing?

  • study geographical patterns and processes and how political, economic, social and environmental factors affect contemporary geographical issues;

  • investigate how places and environments are interdependent;

  • carry out geographical enquiry, including identifying geographical questions and developing their own opinions;

  • carry out geographical investigations inside and outside the classroom;

  • develop and use a range of geographical enquiry skills and resources, including fieldwork, making and using different types of maps and atlases, using photographs and satellite image, texts and ICT.

Language and communication


  • develop language skills through talking about their work and presenting their own ideas using sustained and systematic writing of different kinds;

  • use geographical language and draw maps and diagrams to communicate geographical information;

  • read fiction and non-fiction, and extract information from sources such as reference books, e-mails and the internet.

Values and attitudes


  • work with others, listen to each other's ideas, and treat them with respect;

  • have opportunities to consider their own attitudes and values, and those of other people;

  • develop respect for evidence and critically evaluate ideas which may or may not fit the evidence available;

  • develop a respect for the environment and be encouraged to evaluate their own and others' effect or impact on it.

Building on children's earlier experiences

Experiences are likely to have included:

  • an increasing awareness of their surroundings;

  • focusing on the variety and diversity of human and natural resources;

  • being introduced to moral responsibility;

  • developing ideas of citizenship and challenging stereotypes;

  • learning mapwork skills.

This curriculum aims to build on these early experiences.

Features of progression

Progress in geography can be characterised by:

  • an increase in breadth of studies: the gradual extension of content - places, themes and environments - to be considered;

  • an increasing depth of study: the gradual development of general ideas and concepts and deeper understanding of increasingly complex and abstract processes, patterns and relationships;

  • an increase in the spatial scale of study: the shift in emphasis from local, smaller scale studies to more distant, regional, national, continental and global scales;

  • a continuing development of skills: to include the use of specific geographical skills such as mapwork and more general skills of enquiry matched to children's developing cognitive abilities;

  • increasing opportunities for children to examine social, economic, political and environmental issues: the chance to develop greater appreciation and understanding of the influence of people's beliefs, attitudes and values on alternative courses of action relating to people, places and environments.