As Clifton Geographers, we will develop our knowledge and understanding of:

  • Diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes.
  • The world and the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments.
  • How the Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and change over time.

As Clifton Geographers, we will do this by:

  1. Investigating locations
  2. Investigating places
  3. Investigating human and physical geography patterns
  4. Applying geography skills and fieldwork   (These are our over-arching learning objectives that will ‘develop’ and ‘deepen’ as the children grow, learn and move through our school – see below)

Geography Intent:

At Clifton Primary School geography education should be fully inclusive to every child. Our aims are to fulfil the requirements of the National Curriculum for Geography; providing a broad, balanced and differentiated curriculum; ensuring the progressive development of geographical concepts, knowledge and skills; and for the children to develop a love for geography. Furthermore, we aim to inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Teaching should equip pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. (The 2014 Primary National Curriculum in England)

Geography teaching at Clifton Primary School has a wide application to everyday life, teaching the children to enjoy learning about the world and to have a better understanding of how people live in different locations.

The aims of teaching geography in our school are:

  • To inspire pupils’ curiosity to discover more about the world
  • To enable children to know about the location of the world’s continents, countries, cities, seas and oceans.
  • To develop in children the skills of interpreting a range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes, aerial photographs and Geographical Information Systems (GIS).
  • To help children understand how the human and physical features of a place shapes its location and can change over time.
  • To develop in children through Geography the ‘Seven Cs of Clifton’.


To ensure high standards of teaching and learning in geography, we implement a curriculum that is progressive throughout the whole school. Geography is taught as part of a termly topic, focusing on knowledge and skills stated in the National Curriculum. At Clifton Primary School, we ensure that geography has the same importance given to it as the core subjects,, as we feel this is important in enabling all children to gain a breadth of ‘real’ experiences to support their knowledge acquisition and retention.

The geography curriculum at Clifton Primary School is based upon the 2014 Primary National Curriculum in England, which provides a broad framework and outlines the knowledge and skills and taught in each Key Stage. Teachers plan lessons for their class using our progression of knowledge and skills document (see below) in geography and our ‘Seven C’s of Clifton’ Learning Values. Progression in skills and knowledge are planned using the ‘Clifton Curriculum Compass’ where children learn in a two-year spiral: EYFS; Y1 and 2; Year 3 and 4; Year 5 and 6. Progression of skills are planned, again on a two-year spiral, with skills being revisited and reinforced on numerous occasions, each time in greater depth, to ensure children have the opportunities to ‘master’ their geographical skills in a range of different contexts, alongside revising, revisiting and making links in geographical knowledge.

When teaching geography the teachers plan to ensure their learning is engaging, broad and balanced. A variety of teaching approaches are used based on the teacher’s judgement.

Geography provides excellent opportunities to enhance the learning of more able pupils through the investigations, analysing sources and writing extending pieces.

At Clifton Primary School we provide a variety of opportunities for geography learning inside and outside the classroom. We regularly hold whole school ‘House Days’, where children work across the school on the overarching theme of their learning across school. We also plan and deliver regular ‘theme’ days where children become immersed in their themed learning, with activities and learning guided by the children’s interests as learning themes progress. These ‘theme’ and ‘house’ days also offer an opportunity for parents to engage with the school and join in with their children’s learning.

Educational visits are another opportunity for the teachers to plan for additional geography learning outside the classroom. At Clifton Primary School, the children have had many opportunities to experience geography on educational visits. The children have explored the local area including orienteering, river studies or the rivers Eamont and Eden and looking at the impact of the Carlisle floods of 2005, 2009 and 2015.  Local landmarks also provide an opportunity to further geography learning, as well as trips to local woods, castles and using map reading skills during residential trips.


Within geography, we strive to create a supportive and collaborative ethos for learning by providing investigative and enquiry based learning opportunities. Emphasis is placed on investigative learning opportunities to help children gain a coherent knowledge of understanding of each unit of work covered throughout the school.

Our geography curriculum is high quality, well thought out and is planned to demonstrate progression. We focus on progression of knowledge and skills and discreet vocabulary progression also form part of the units of work.

We measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods:

  • Assessing children’s understanding of topic linked vocabulary before and after the unit is taught.
  • Summative assessment of pupil discussions about their learning.
  • Cumulative ‘low stake’ quizzes.
  • Different methods of ‘retrieval practice’.
  • Images and videos of the children’s practical learning.
  • Interviewing the pupils about their learning (pupil voice).
  • Moderation staff meetings where pupil’s books are scrutinised and there is the opportunity for a dialogue between teachers to understand their class’s work.
  • Annual reporting of standards across the curriculum.
  • Marking of written work in books.

Geography Progression of Skills

  Year 1 & Year 2 Year 3 & Year 4 Year 5 & Year 6


a.     I can name the 4 countries of the UK.

b.    I can name the 4 capital cities within the UK.

c.     I can name the seas surrounding the UK.

d.     I can name the five oceans.

e.     I can name the world’s seven continents.

f.     I can compare the human and physical features of our local area with a contrasting area in the UK.

g.     I can identify the position of latitude, longitude, Equator, Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere.

h.    I can understand the Prime/Greenwich Meridian and time zones (including day and night).

i.      I can locate the world’s countries, using a map focusing on Europe (including the location of Russia) and North and South America.

j.     I can name and locate, on a map, counties (Cumbria, Northumberland, Lancashire and surrounding counties) and cities within the UK.

k.     I can identify the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn

l.     I can identify their environmental regions, key physical and  human characteristics of countries

m.   I can name some major cities in leading world countries.

n.    I can identify and name the Arctic and Antarctic Circle.

o.     I can identify North and South America and their environmental  regions

p.     I can identify and name some European countries, detailing their physical and human characteristics

q.     I can identify land-use patterns.

r.     I can understand how some of these aspects have changed over time.


a.    I can understand  geographical  similarities and differences of a small  area within the UK (Clifton)

b.     I can understand  geographical  similarities and  differences of a small area of the UK (Clifton / Cumbria), hot and cold  countries (e.g. Costa  Rica, Fiji, Norway, Russia and Iceland) and  of a small area in a contrasting non-European country  (e.g. Malawi)

c.    I can understand geographical similarities and differences of regions of the UK.

d.    I can compare settlements within the UK.

e.     I can understand geographical similarities and differences of the UK and a region within North or South America.

f.     I can understand human and physical geographical similarities and differences between European countries.

g.    I can understand geographical similarities and differences of the UK and a region within North or South America (e.g. California and Ring of Fire).


a.    I can use basic geographical vocabulary.

b.     I can name key physical features

c.    I can name key human features

d.    I can say what type of  buildings are in a place

e.     I know if a place is a town, village, city.

f.      I can identify seasonal and daily weather patterns in UK and hot and cold areas in the world.

g.    I can talk about the location of hot and cold areas of the world in relation to the  Equator and the North and South Poles.

h.     I can understand how  mountains are formed

i.      I can understand  different types of  settlement (Clifton village, Penrith town and  Carlisle / London)

j.     I can describe the River  Eden

k.    I can identify climate  zones, biomes and vegetation belts

l.      I know why some plants only grow in some places.

m.  I know where key rivers and mountains are (the Nile, Egypt).

n.     I can identify the key stages of a river.

o.     I can talk about different stages of the water cycle.

p.    I can identify types of settlement and land use.

q.    I can describe and  understand key  aspects of physical  geography, including:  volcanoes and  earthquakes (e.g. California, Ring of Fire)

r.     I can explain how volcanoes are formed.

s.      I can say where volcanoes are.

t.      I can explain how earthquakes are caused.

u.     I can identify the distribution of natural resources including energy, food minerals and water.

v.    I understand how economic activity including trade links across the world is affected by the distribution of natural resources.

4.      a.     I can use simple fieldwork and observational skills to study the geography of school and its grounds.

b.    I can identify landmarks and features of the local area.

c.     I can use aerial photographs to recognise landmarks

d.     I can use simple  compass directions  (North, South, East and West).

e.     I can use locational and directional language (near and far; left and right) to describe the location of features and routes on a map.

f.      I can create a simple map.

g.     I can use basic symbols in a key.

h.     I can use 8 points of  the compass

i.     I can use four figure grid references and begin to use six-figure grid references.

j.     I can identify symbols and keys when using maps (including the use of Ordnance Survey maps).

k.    I can use maps, atlases, globes with confidence.

l.     I can use digital/computer mapping to locate countries and describe features studied.

m.  I can use fieldwork to observe, measure, record and present the human and physical features in the local area.

n.     I can use 6 figure grid  references

o.    I can create sketch maps, plans and graphs.