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The Geography Curriculum at St Thomas


At St Thomas’, we deliver an ambitious, knowledge-based geography curriculum that aims to inspire pupils’ curiosity to know more about their own locality and the wider world. It helps pupils gain skills  to be able to utilise maps in ‘seeing’, understanding, interpreting, recognising symbols and features, from the local to the global; by providing opportunities to develop and enhance the core skills to do so.

It builds foundations for children to know where we are and know what is there, giving us a sense of location; to understand the spatial layout, locations and organisation of the world and recognise the spatial distributions, landscape patterns and relationships in the environment.

A coherent, sequential knowledge and understanding of spatial sense enables them to use core knowledge to talk confidently about a range of places in Britain and the wider world.

The geography curriculum builds upon prior knowledge in a carefully sequenced curriculum, both within and between year groups, and makes links to other subject areas.

Pupils develop an understanding of key substantive concepts (maps, location, size, scale, view, landscape, country, city, place, environment, physical, human and climate) that act as threads throughout the geography curriculum from the beginning to the end of the pupils’ primary education.


How is geography taught at St Thomas? 

Map study at start of year

Every child is provided with a map that is added to throughout the year with new units studied. This map should be referred to at the start of every unit and where necessary in lessons.


Structure of lesson:


Children will take part in a short, independent task where they will be required to retrieve previously gained knowledge. The children may have acquired this knowledge in a previous lesson, unit of work or even a previous year group. This task is designed to strengthen our pupils’ memories of key knowledge, enabling them to permanently remember and make progress across the curriculum.


Children will be introduced to key vocabulary (STAR words) at the beginning of the lesson. Children will be challenged to learn the meaning of these words and apply them correctly during the lesson. Teachers will provide children with actions to match each of these words, to support the children in remembering them.


The teacher will share the core knowledge for the lesson with the children. This is an opportunity for children to listen to and understand the new information. Older children are encourgaed to take notes.

Partner Talk:

Children will work with a partner to complete a short task or discuss new information. Children will be expected to apply their understanding of the new information taught (they may even use the STAR words!).

Independent Task:

The children will now work independently on a task. This is often a written task that will require the children to apply everything they have learned. The children may also demonstrate newly acquired skills in this part of the lesson. 


  In every lesson, our children are expected to read and be exposed to quality texts. The reading can be incorporated into any aspect of the lesson. Children will read a range of texts, from online blogs to information texts. We believe reading is the key to all learning, so have therefore made reading a priority in every lesson. 

What do we expect to achieve through our geography Curriculum? 


By the end of KS1, our pupils will:

Know that an aerial view means to look at something from above.

Know that maps tell us the location and show us information of different places.

Be able to identify and describe locations on a globe or world map.

Understand compass points and use a compass to show direction.

Recognise and locate physical and human features of the local area. (Y2)

Understand what makes a good map and use a map to plan a route.

Name and recognise the seven continents of the world.

Understand that the United Kingdom is a union of four countries.   

Recognise the countries in the British Isles.

Describe countries, features and climate in Northern Europe. (Y2)

Use maps confidently.

Use a wide range of geographical terms.


By the end of KS2, our pupils will:

Confidently name and use a wide range of maps and explain purposes. 

Use compass points, grid references, scale and symbols to describe and locate places on a map.

Identify hemispheres, lines of longitude and latitude and world time zones. (Y4, Y5)

Understand and describe different types of settlements and trade.

Understand population concepts of dense or sparse.

Know different parts and stages of a river and name rivers of the world. (Y3)

Compare and contrast climate, land and key features of places in Britain and the wider world.

Name key features of mountain ranges around the world. (Y5)

Understand history of the formation of continents, countries and cities across the globe. (Y6)

Develop further knowledge of human and physical geography.

Construct informed, detailed written responses that involve organisation of relevant geographical information and show an awareness of key vocabulary.

Develop further understanding of the substantive concepts

Expand and develop use of geographical terms.





  • St Thomas Church of England Primary School,
  • Kenyons Lane, Lydiate, Liverpool, Merseyside, L31 0BP
  • E:
  • T: 0151 531 9955