The Geography Subject Leader is Mrs Giles

Curriculum Drivers

Curriculum drivers shape our curriculum breadth and our ambition for our children to study the best of what has been thought and said by many generations of academics and scholars.

They are derived from an exploration of our children’s backgrounds, within our locality, underpinned by our beliefs about high quality education and our values, rooted in the Mission of the Church. They are used to ensure we give our children appropriate and ambitious curriculum opportunities, applicable to them. The fundamental principles of education, within all subject areas, at St Joseph’s are:

  1. Growth: Pupils aspire to be the best and grow to achieve their dreams.
  2. Diversity: Our pupils recognise the diverse world in which we live, in turn broadening their horizons.

Threshold Concepts in Geography

These are the ‘big ideas’ that shape our children’s thinking within each subject. The same threshold concepts will be explored in every year group and the children will gradually increase their understanding of them.

Exploring a concept will never be complete; our children will continue to explore them for as long as they study the subject, within different contexts, to ensure this learning has tangibility and meaning.

  • Investigate places

This concept involves understanding the geographical location of places and their physical and human features.

  • Investigate patterns

This concept involves understanding the relationships between the physical features of places and the human activity within them, and the appreciation of how the world’s natural resources are used and transported.

  • Communicate geographically

This concept involves understanding geographical representations, vocabulary and techniques.

Essential Characteristics of Geography

Each child will develop the following characteristics, during their time at St Joseph’s, when exploring the Threshold Concepts:

  • An excellent knowledge of where places are and what they are like.
  • An excellent understanding of the ways in which places are interdependent and interconnected and how much human and physical environments are interrelated.
  • An extensive base of geographical knowledge and vocabulary.
  • Fluency in complex, geographical enquiry and the ability to apply questioning skills and use effective analytical and presentational techniques.
  • The ability to reach clear conclusions and develop a reasoned argument to explain findings.
  • Significant levels of originality, imagination or creativity as shown in interpretations and representations of the subject matter.
  • Highly developed and frequently utilised fieldwork and other geographical skills and techniques.
  • A passion for and commitment to the subject, and a real sense of curiosity to find out about the world and the people who live there.
  • The ability to express well-balanced opinions, rooted in very good knowledge and understanding about current and contemporary issues in society and the environment.

Breadth of Study

The overview below provides a breadth of study which meets the requirements of the National Curriculum:

Key Stage 1 Key Stage 2
• Investigate the world’s continents and oceans.

• Investigate the countries and capitals of the United Kingdom.

• Compare and contrast a small area of the United Kingdom with that of a non-European country.

• Explore weather and climate in the United Kingdom and around the world.

• Use basic geographical vocabulary to refer to and describe key physical and human features of locations.

• Use world maps, atlases and globes.

• Use simple compass directions.

• Use aerial photographs.

• Use fieldwork and observational skills.

• Locate the world’s countries, with a focus on Europe and countries of particular interest to pupils.

• Locate the world’s countries, with focus on North and South America and countries of particular interest to pupils.

• Identify key geographical features of the countries of the United Kingdom, and show an understanding of how some of these aspects have changed over time.

• Locate the geographic zones of the world.

• Understand the significance of the geographic zones of the world.

• Understand geographical similarities and differences through the study of human and physical geography of a region or area of the United Kingdom (different from that taught at Key Stage 1).

• Understand geographical similarities and differences through the study of human and physical geography of a region or area in a European country.

• Understand geographical similarities and differences through the study of the human and physical geography of a region or area within North or South America.

• Describe and understand key aspects of:

• physical geography, including: climate zones, biomes and vegetation belts, rivers,

mountains,  volcanoes and earthquakes and the water cycle

• human geography, including: settlements, land use, economic activity including trade

links and the distribution of natural resources including energy, food, minerals and

water supplies.

• Use maps, atlases, globes and digital/computer mapping to locate countries and describe features studied.

• Use the eight points of a compass, four-figure grid references, symbols and keys (including the use of Ordnance Survey maps) to build knowledge of the United Kingdom and the world.

• Use a wide range of geographical sources in order to investigate places and patterns.

• Use fieldwork to observe, measure and record the human and physical features in the local area using a range of methods, including sketch maps, plans and graphs and digital technologies.



Because the Threshold Concepts are repeated in every year group, it is important that the children progress in their understanding of them. Therefore, ‘Milestones’ are used, which contain a range of descriptors which give more detail to be discovered within the concept. Over a two year period (for example, Years 1 and 2), the children will become more and more familiar with these details by exploring them in a breadth of contexts. Milestones form part of our internal Medium Term Plans.

Useful Curriculum Links:

BBC – Free curriculum mapped videos


National Geographic – Information and games for children –

Ordinance Survey

Geographical Association

Arctic Travel Experts – created ‘virtual lights over Lapland’ tour –

CAFOD Geography Resources:
KS1 –

KS2 –