What is Geography?

 Geography is a subject packed with excitement and dynamism that synthesises aspects of the world and helps us to better understand its people, places and environments, as well as the interactions between them. Geography also helps us understand how and why places are changing, and to better imagine, predict and work towards, likely and preferred futures. Underpinning all of this is a strong spatial component that deepens our understanding of what places are like, why and how they are connected, and the importance of location.

At Mabe Primary School, we are passionate that our children develop a love for Geography in the classroom, in the environment, in their travels and in their futures. In fulfilling the requirements of the National Curriculum for Geography, we aim to provide a broad, balanced and differentiated curriculum. Our Progression of Skills grid demonstrates that our geographical curriculum is progressive, with each year group building on the knowledge and understanding gained in previous learning experiences.


 At Mabe Primary School, we aim for a high-quality Geography curriculum which should inspire in children a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people. Our teaching equips pupils with knowledge about places and people; resources in the environment; physical and human processes; formation and use of landscapes. In addition to gaining a global knowledge base, we strive for our children to develop geographical skills. We want them to be able to read maps, collect and analyse data with true purpose, learn how to present findings in a persuasive manner and generally develop practical skills that could help make a difference to our futures. Our belief is that fieldwork and educational visits bring Geography to life. Children can explore the geography of a place using all of their senses. It is important to remember that elements of Geography are practical in the same way as subjects such as Design & Technology.

Curriculum Planning

In planning Mabe Primary School’s Geography scheme of work, we referred to the Geographical Association diagram shown below. The National Curriculum acts as an umbrella, stipulating what must be taught, but it was our job to exploit the ‘Mabeness of Mabe’ and create unique coverage for our locality. Mabe boasts two reservoirs, a hill location, exposed granite bedrock and many features associated with a ‘traditional village.’ It also has close links with the neighbouring towns of Penryn and Falmouth. Studying the locality makes learning relevant for the children. Relevance generates enthusiasm and with enthusiasm comes engagement. This is the ultimate goal for our pupils.

The Mabe Ethos embedded in the intent of our Geography curriculum. 


Pupils are motivated to learn about Geography through practical fieldwork activities where the children are given the opportunity to immerse themselves in the physical and human geography of their locality. Where it is unfeasible to visit particular places of study, children are motivated by ‘wow days’, role play, videos, presentations and much more.



Pupils are assisted in developing a ‘sense of place’ (the essence of Geography) by beginning with the familiar. Upon joining Mabe Primary School, pupils learn about their home, school and the village of Mabe. As pupils progress through the school, there are opportunities to ‘revisit’ Mabe again, but at a more challenging level. Geography is an enquiry-led subject that seeks answers to fundamental questions such as “Where is this place? What is like? How is it changing?” This process assists children in gaining a ‘sense of place’ as it provides them with a framework for exploration.



Pupils are taught to believe in the importance of learning about Geography by being exposed to issues that impact on humans and the environment. They learn that they can make a difference if they believe in the importance of protecting the world around them.  They believe that their geographical awareness gives them a voice.



A varied range of topics based on places or phenomenon ensure pupils are continually excited to increase their geographical knowledge and understanding.


In ensuring high standards of teaching and learning in Geography, we implement a curriculum that is progressive throughout the whole school. Progression is important not only in terms of skills, but also in terms of knowledge and the locations studied.

At Mabe Primary School, we ensure that Geography is treated with the same respect and importance as the core subjects. We believe that it is crucial for children to begin to develop a ‘sense of place’ as soon as they join our school in the nursery class.

Exploring the school grounds and our locality are crucial experiences which help children identify the ‘Mabeness of Mabe.’ We believe it is so important that children study the familiar before exploring other locations. Therefore, during their time in EYFS and in the first topic in Year 1, children will be focusing on home, school and our village. As they progress through Year One, they begin to look at how a village can be compared to a city in this country and in another continent. In Year Two, children continue their geographical journeys with a more in-depth study of Mabe followed by a global taste of plant origins and the Galapagos Islands.

In Key Stage Two, classes are mixed-age and so we operate a two-year cycle of topics. The first half of each half term is led by a History topic and the second half by a Geography topic. This ensures that we have time to fully develop children’s understanding across six-eight sessions. Careful thought and consideration have been put into topic allocation to ensure that there are opportunities to re-visit key processes and skills. When learning about a new location in a non-geographical topic (namely History and Science), children will have the opportunity to develop a sense of place, albeit in less depth than in a Geography-led unit. This will take the form of the COWWS series of questions in KS1 and HOTCLUB series of questions in KS2. Our aim is that children appreciate how significant the geography of a place is upon historical decision making, scientific discovery and so on.
"Many of the ‘memorable moments’ of a child’s primary school education come from the first-hand, hands-on experiences of being a geographer. The inclusion of fieldwork is an essential element that enables pupils to connect with a place, community or environment and it doesn’t even have to be beyond walking distance."
Geographical Association


Impact is measured via topic quizzes completed at the beginning and at the end of each unit of learning. This allows children to reflect on how well they have developed a ‘sense of place’ and/or understood how natural phenomenon occur. As well as meeting age related expectations set out in the National Curriculum, we firmly believe it is essential that the children are equipped with geographical skills and knowledge that will enable them to be ready for the curriculum at Key Stage 3 and for life as an adult in the wider world. We aspire that they will become good citizens within their local community and across the globe. They need to know that geography ‘happens’ everywhere and with the predicted environmental changes ahead, be aware that they have a key role to play in protecting the world around them.

Example Geography Knowledge Organisers
At Mabe Primary School, our Geography knowledge organisers include maps, a glossary of terms and 'Five Fast Facts.' These facts are the sticky knowledge that we want the children to know by the end of the unit.  Our History knowledge organisers follow the same format, but with timelines as the key focus rather than maps. 

Example Geography Lesson Presentations
Across the school, Geography slides follow the same format and must include the lesson objective, success criteria, enquiry question, vocabulary, images (including maps), progression across the lesson and a challenge element. History slides include the same criteria for continuity.

Example Planning Units
Here are planning block examples from across the school. 

Samples of Recorded Learning
Take a look at the learning we have completed in our books. 

Geography in our Topic Floor Books
Each class has a Topic Floor Book in which you can see a range of photos, scripted conversations, answers to questions and more. 

Geography Displays
Take a look at the Geography learning on display across the school. 

Geography in Action
Take a look at the photographs below to see Geography in action!