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St Dominic Savio Catholic Primary School ‘Serve the Lord with Joy’


The geography curriculum fulfils the requirements of the National Curriculum for England. Throughout their time at St Dominic Savio, our children will develop a love for the subject of geography but also provide them with the skills and knowledge to become a responsible global citizen. Our curriculum builds over time, is ordered coherently and one where conceptual learning is at the heart. Throughout primary school, the children will gain the knowledge and skills that are required to become a geographer as well as beginning to understand more of the world around them. Every year group begins with spatial sense which introduces - and later revisits - key geographical skills like using an atlas, maps and understanding and using geographical data.  



In Reception, children begin to learn about the key geographical concepts such as place, space, the environment and interconnection. Their learning begins with ‘All about Me’ where they discuss the location of where they live and the local area. These are the building blocks for knowledge to come in Years 1 and 2. To aid their learning, Reception take a trip to Woodford Park to explore one of the physical features of our local area. This knowledge will infiltrate into later learning within the year where the Reception children will answer questions like ‘What food can I find locally?’ and ‘How does my local community and places described in books differ?’ Understanding their school and their local surroundings are both revisited in Years 1 and 2 within the Spatial Sense units.  



Year 1 

In Year 1, the children will recap previously taught knowledge in Reception and then begin building on this by finishing their spatial sense unit by drawing a map of the school. Throughout the unit, the key geographical concepts that were introduced within Reception are revisited. This local knowledge is essential for their unit of the UK where the children will focus on the four countries that make UK the United Kingdom. This knowledge of the United Kingdom will help them with their final topic about the Seven Continents. This unit prepares our children for their work on The British Isles in Year 2, UK Geography in Year 3, London and the South East in Year 4, a Local Study in Year 5 and British Geographical Issues in Year 6.  


Year 2 

Year 2 begins with Spatial Sense which builds on their understanding on previously taught skills and knowledge in Year 1 and Reception. This unit focuses on drawing maps of the school and local area building upon their map work from Year 1 as they begin to use a key and add both human and physical features. During their Spatial Sense unit, Year 2 will take a trip to Woodford Park to undertake and apply their fieldwork skills as well as use their observational skills. This will build on their trip from Reception as they begin to look at the local area in much more detail. Building upon their knowledge of the UK taught in Year 1, the children will look at the countries within the British Isles in more detail. As they become more confident, they will start to compare the UK with a different location and finish the unit by answering the question ‘What is it like to live in the British Isles?’ like a geographer. In the summer term, Year 2 will learn about Northern Europe. They will know that this is a country within the same continent as the UK due to previously taught knowledge in Year 1 about the seven continents. Within this unit, the children will begin to look at countries, climate and physical and human features of Northern Europe. They will also focus on Roald Amundsen, a famous Norwegian explorer, to tie their knowledge together. Year 2 finish their unit by answering the question, ‘What would a person see if they visited Northern America?’ where they will use their knowledge from the unit to answer.  




Year 3 

Geography in Year 3 begins with Spatial Sense where the children build on the skills and knowledge taught in all KS1 year groups. They begin to work on using grid references on maps as well as contrasting their knowledge of the local area to somewhere else in the world. The children then move on to learn about geography within the UK. This builds upon knowledge previously taught in Year 1 and 2. To assess their learning, they will answer the question ‘What would a geographer say about the South of England?’ They know how to answer this style of question due to the similar nature in Year 2. To end their learning in Year 3, the children learn about rivers and settlements. They already know how to local rivers on a map due to their skill work within their spatial sense topics. Within this unit, they will study a river locally as well as in Europe which links to the knowledge from Year 2. The children will have a chance to participate in fieldwork related to rivers, using the knowledge from this topic to enhance their findings.


Year 4 

Spatial Sense begins geography in Year 4, building upon the key geographical skills taught previously. They learn new knowledge about the globes and the tropics but build upon their grid reference knowledge from Year 3. They will refer back to knowledge taught in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 by looking at our local area in more detail as well as how it has changed over time. After studying spatial sense, the children will extend their knowledge on the continent of Europe by focusing on Mediterranean Europe. From their unit on Northern Europe in Year 2, they will have some understanding about the potential climate, key places and some landscapes and settlements. They will gain knowledge about Mediterranean Europe and then answer the question, ‘Mediterranean Europe is similar to the rest of Europe. Do you agree or disagree?’ To successfully answer this question, the children will need to factor in previously taught knowledge and newly acquired knowledge. Following on Mediterranean Europe, Year 4 turn their focus back to the UK where they learn about London and the South East in detail. This builds upon their knowledge about the UK taught in Year 3 as well as their knowledge from the British Isles in Year 2 and The UK in Year 1. Within this topic, they learn about key locations within the UK including London, Canterbury, Brighton and Dover ending with the question, ‘What are the physical and human features of the South East of England?’ 



Year 5 

Building upon their geographical skills, Year 5 having a particular focus within their Spatial Sense unit on mountains as well as relief maps and maps drawn to different scales. They also look at the world in different sections, revisiting knowledge from Year 4 where they learnt about the tropics. They finish this unit by answering the question, ‘What do cartographers need to think about when they create maps?’. Within their answer, they will include knowledge taught from Year 5 but also build in previously taught knowledge. Following on from Spatial Sense, the children will look outside of Europe and at another continent – Oceania/Australasia. They will use their continent knowledge from Year 1 as well as their farming and climate knowledge from Year 4 to help them understand what this part of the world may look like. They will also need to use their spatial sense knowledge to understand that this part of the world is in a different hemisphere than Europe which was a focus in Year 4 and 2. Throughout the unit, children will apply their knowledge of the globe but also start to describe and understand physical geography of the continent including biomes, rivers, mountains and earthquakes. They will also consider a range of human geographical features including settlements, land use and natural resources. These both build upon prior knowledge about rivers and settlements taught in Year 3. To end Year 5, the children partake in a local study. This is an opportunity where the children can use their knowledge about the local area and undertake fieldwork to observe, record and present the human and physical feature in the local area, focusing on an issue that the local area faces. This leaves the children well prepared for the British Geographical Issues taught in Year 6. 



Year 6 

Year 6 begins like every other year with a unit on Spatial Sense. This unit solidifies all the prior learning that happens within the 6 years at primary school. The children will look at various geographical skills in detail including time zones, latitude and longitude and the Arctic and Antarctic circles. They finish by answering the question, ‘How is life different for people around the globe?’. To be able to answer this question successfully, the children need to not only factor in knowledge taught within Year 6 but also what they have been taught in all year groups prior as they are the backbone to the knowledge why life is different around the globe. After Spatial Sense, Year 6 learn about North and South America in detail. Within this unit, they look into the biomes within North America, the rivers and cities that can be located as well as the agriculture and industries within Brazil. The children finish off by learning about the Amazon Rainforest. Knowledge from Year 5 is revisited here when learning about biomes from their unit on Australia and New Zealand. To showcase their knowledge from this unit, they finish by answering the question, ‘What are the differences between North and South America?’. When answering the question, the children need to consider both human and physical features of both continents. They may also refer to their knowledge and skills from their Spatial Sense unit about time zones and how the climate and biomes may differ due to differences in latitude and longitude along with other reasons. The final unit Year 6 cover is British Geographical Issues. Within this unit, the children will build upon their knowledge from Year 5 from their local study. The children will learn about air pollutions, climate change, waste, litter and then look at this in a local context. They will finish off their learning by answering the question, ‘What are the environmental challenges we face in Britain?’ To be successful with their response, they will need to include maps and data and explain what they represent. They will have looked at similar data within the unit but also from their Spatial Sense units from Year 6. Their knowledge from Year 4 and Year 2 will be useful when answering the question as they can consider what would happen in the UK if we had a warmer climate but still had as much rainfall.  

Geography Curriculum