Purpose of study

“Geography explains the past, illuminates the present and prepares us for the future. What could be more important than that?”  
 ~ Michael Palin

Geography helps children make sense of the world around them and develops a healthy curiosity in places, people and processes that shape our natural world.

Geography at St.Patrick’s is designed to inspire our pupils and stimulate their curiosity in the world and its people whilst equipping them with the knowledge and skills needed to be confident investigators of geography.

Our goal is for all children to develop a love and fascination of geography.


Through our geography curriculum pupils will develop:

  • An excellent knowledge of where places are and what they are like.
  • A sense of their own surroundings through learning about their own locality, and the interaction between people and environment.
  • An interest in and knowledge and understanding of contrasting localities in Britain, Europe and the rest of the world.
  • A knowledge and understanding of the human and physical processes which shape places.
  • An appreciation of the similarity and difference in the world about them and to respect other people’s beliefs, attitudes and values.
  • An understanding of geographical skills and vocabulary necessary to carry out effective geographical enquiry.
  • The ability to formulate appropriate questions, develop research skills and reach clear conclusions and develop a reasoned argument to explain findings.
  • The ability to express well balanced opinions, rooted in knowledge and understanding about current and contemporary issues in society and the environment.
  • Highly developed and frequently utilised fieldwork and other geographical skills and techniques.
  • An enjoyment of geographical experiences that build confidence and understanding.
  • 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.


Geography explores the relationship between the earth and its peoples through the study of the physical and human features of earth, the influence of the environment on human behaviour and lifestyles, and the natural resources people use.

The objectives of geography teaching at St. Patrick’s are based on the requirements of the National Curriculum programmes of study for key stages 1 and 2. In addition, we use Chris Quigley Curriculum Companion to help develop and embed content for our teaching and to support teacher subject knowledge. As concepts are weaved through every year group and purposeful repetition is planned for, this helps us deliver a ‘year built on year’ geography curriculum. Through this, pupils form a geography schema (organized knowledge) within their long term memories.

‘Threshold Concepts’ or the big ideas that underpin geography are used to help build a geography schema. The three threshold concepts in geography are:

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.

Each threshold concept has its own knowledge categories/web which include; location, physical features, human features, diversity, physical processes, human processes and techniques. These help strengthen and build a geography schema. Knowledge categories/webs help pupils meet attainment goals or milestones at the end of a two year period.

Milestone one is for year one and two, milestone two is for year three and four and milestone three is for year five and six. Each of these milestones provides specific subject knowledge, with a progression of skills for various topics. Many of these milestones are repeated in two consecutive year groups, meaning that children learn about each topic on two separate occasions in two separate year groups, Please see our geography overview for year specific topics studied.

We use a variety of teaching and learning styles in our geography lessons at St. Patrick’s. Whole-class teaching methods are combined with enquiry-based research activities and fieldwork activities form an integral part of children’s learning. We encourage children to work both collaboratively in small groups and independently to ask as well as answer geographical questions.

We offer children the opportunity to use a variety of data, such as maps, statistics, graphs, pictures, video and aerial photographs, and we enable them to use ICT in geography lessons where this serves to enhance their learning, for example through Purple Mash, Inspire Education and Google Earth.

Children learn about other places through reading stories with settings in different places and in different landscapes. They make outside visits and engage in a wide variety of problem-solving activities. Wherever possible, we involve the children in ‘real’ geographical activities, e.g. research of a local environmental problem.


Outcomes in topic books, geography books, wall displays demonstrate a broad and balanced Geography curriculum at St. Patrick’s. As children progress through school, they acquire key knowledge and skills and develop a sound knowledge and understanding of both human and physical Geography. Children appreciate their local area and its place within the wider geographical context. Children gain an appreciation of life in different societies and develop a sense of other cultures.