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Geography is the study of places and people. Geography teaching provides children with the chance to develop their understanding of the relationship between the world and the people inhabiting it. It looks at the human and physical features of the Earth and how they affect each other. Geography promotes a want to discover more about the world around us, both in proximity to where we live and more broadly across the world. It helps us to understand how our actions can affect the world and makes us think about being responsible citizens.


At Cottingley we believe that Geography provides children with the opportunity to ask questions about the world they live in and develop their understanding of our place in the world. We aim to ensure we provide children with a broad and balanced geography curriculum, exposing them to different viewpoints and sources to enable children to form their own views of the world they live in. Our curriculum is broad, which allows children to discover a range of places and develop a varied geographical understanding. The curriculum also has depth, which allows the children to think like a Geographer and revisit themes throughout their primary career to build on skills and ideas. We aim to inspire a fascination of awe and wonder as we expose children to all different aspects of the Earth. Our aim is to create students who are inspired and prepare them for their future into KS3 and beyond.

Geography starts right from Nursery at Cottingley, with children exploring their space and developing their understanding of the world. Throughout their time at Cottingley, key skills and knowledge are continually built on to help create curious, globally aware citizens. Geography is taught through theme blocks and learning is made cross curricular where possible. These links are not forced but intended to imitate real life where there are links and overlaps between ideas.


At Cottingley Village Primary School we aim to -

  • 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.
  • Be competent in the geographical skills needed to collect, analyse and communicate with a range of data gathered through experience of fieldwork that deepens 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.

(From the National Curriculum 2014)

Continuous Provision

At Cottingley, we aim to ensure children are exposed to Geography more often than just for a few lessons each theme. Through the use of a world and UK map, children are constantly exposed to different destinations around the world. The maps are built up over the course of the year, and therefore revisited to build long-term links in the children’s brains. The maps should be bespoke for each class, focussing on children’s interests, as well as identifying key destinations discovered during learning.

Progression and Assessment

Our Geography curriculum is based around four main themes:

  • Human Geography
  • Physical Geography
  • Mapwork
  • Fieldwork

At the end of each theme, children are assessed against a progressive set of knowledge and skills criteria. These criteria build from EYFS up to Year Six. Children will only be assessed against relevant criteria for each theme. The use of assessment will identify any gaps children have that need to be revisited going forward. Assessment also gives teachers the opportunity to identify those more able children, that can be challenged and moved forward in future themes.

Monitoring, evaluating and improvement

It is the role of the subject leader to ensure that the curriculum we provide is thorough and allows all children to succeed. The subject leader will provide teachers with Knowledge Organisers to enhance teacher confidence and subject knowledge. The subject leader will review the pupil outcomes each half-term and work with teachers to celebrate strengths and to ensure teachers know their children’s next steps. This cycle of monitoring and evaluating forms the main part of the subject leader’s action plan. Keeping track of these improvements and strengths over time means that the subject leader can understand how effective geography teaching in our school is and look to implement new strategies where necessary. 


At Cottingley Village Primary school we teach Geography as part of our Learning Challenge Curriculum. The skills and knowledge are developed and built upon each year so that progression can be seen clearly across the school. All children are exposed to key geographical concepts each year, giving  them the opportunity to explore, develop and embed their skills, knowledge and understanding, from our youngest children in Early Years to our eldest in Year Six.   

Learning sequences start with a challenge question for the children to explore and investigate. They are encouraged, through discussion, to decide what prior knowledge, skills and learning from prior geographical learning and other subjects will help them to achieve this.  The children then evaluate their work and answer the original Learning Challenge question.

Through self and peer evaluation, the children will discuss what they have done well and what they will need to continue to practise and develop in order to continue to improve ‘working as a geographer through those concepts. Staff also make suggestions and refer back to previous modelling to support the children. Children will record their evaluations and reflections using a range of different ways. For example: Sentence stems, written annotations, whole class collective discussions, Ipads and interactive online platforms. Children’s work will be evidenced through theme books, class floor books  and displays within the classrooms and around school. 

Knowledge Organisers

Knowledge organisers provide staff with knowledge and teaching ideas to ensure curriculum coverage and progression through school. They provide opportunities for cross curricular links to be made.


Children have access to a range of resources – class sets of atlases, globes, selection of atlases in the classroom, world map and UK map (continuous provision). They also have access to digital resources – Digimaps, Google Earth


The understanding and development of Geographical vocabulary is key to the success of having a sound Geographical understanding. There is a clear progression of the expected vocabulary through school which allows children to revisit and further embed key vocabulary.

The Locality

Children’s sense of place is developed through fieldwork in both the school grounds and locality

Residential Visits

Cottingley Village Primary School  provide opportunities for children to take part in residential visits from Year Two through to Year Six. These visits are carefully chosen to enhance the geography curriculum and take place across the region from Whitby to the Lake District. Geography. Fieldwork will form part of all residentials, providing a Geographical purpose to the visits.


  • Children will achieve the expected age-related standard at the end of the year.
  • Children will retain Geographical knowledge and skills and build on this year by year.
  • Children will have a good understanding of the world around them and how it has been shaped and changed.
  • Children will have a good understanding of both local and global Geography.
  • Children will develop an understanding of the wider world and the impact that citizens like themselves can have on it.
  • Children will leave CVPS as curious, globally aware citizens.

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