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Geography Intent Statement


Geography is essentially about understanding the world we live in. From our EYFS through to Y6, we aim to provide opportunities for our children to explore geography which will provoke and provide answers to questions about the natural and human aspects of the world.  Geography is an investigative subject, which develops an understanding of concepts, knowledge and skills.


At Mill Lane Primary School, our aim is to inspire children’s curiosity, interest and appreciation for the world that we live in and the people within it; to promote the children’s interest and understanding of diverse places and people for the rest of their lives. We intend to equip children with geographical skills to develop their knowledge through studying places, people and natural and human environments. As geographers, pupils are exposed to a rich and balanced curriculum that provides them with new vocabulary and ‘sticky’ knowledge. As pupils progress through the school, they will develop an insight into the links between physical and human processes and how landscapes and environments have changed and continue to change. 


Our geography curriculum forms an important part of the wider curriculum offer and will be taught individually as well as being incorporated across other areas of the curriculum.  Where possible, geography is woven into other lessons, for example, history – to ensure children have a good understanding of how changes have occurred over time. As the national curriculum states, ‘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 topics taught have been specifically selected to ensure all pupils make progress and embed knowledge throughout the years progressively. 


Our whole curriculum aims to enable all children, regardless of background, ability, additional needs, to be inspired, to achieve their very best and aspire for the future.  We teach the National Curriculum, supported by a clear skills and knowledge progression.  This ensures that skills and knowledge are built on year by year and sequenced appropriately to maximise learning for all children.  Existing knowledge is checked at the start of each new topic.  This ensures that teaching is informed by the children’s starting points and takes account of pupil voice.  Lesson content and tasks are designed to provide appropriate challenge to all learners, in line with our commitment to inclusion. 


At Mill Lane Primary School, we have mapped out and developed a curriculum that focuses on enriching discussions and expand learning and understanding through first-hand experiences. The learning challenges are carefully crafted to ensure they make sense to the learners and be something that is within their immediate understanding.  We feel that we have so many opportunities on our door step and so our curriculum will allow children to closely explore links with our local area and gain first-hand experiences through local studies.


The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) follows the ‘Development Matters in the EYFS’ guidance which aims for all children in reception to have an ‘Understanding of the World’; People, Culture and Communities.  At Mill Lane, our youngest children in EYFS will experience the world around them and extend their knowledge by visiting parks, libraries and museums and have the opportunity to meet important members of society such as police officers, nurses and firefighters.


In Key Stage 1 children will develop their knowledge about their own locality before developing their understanding of the United Kingdom and the wider world. They’ll learn how to use maps, atlases and globes as well as learn simple compass directions. The children will also study seasonal and daily weather patterns in the United Kingdom and look at the hot and cold areas of the world in relation to the equator and the North and South Poles.  Our KS1 children will look closely at their local area, including Roseberry Topping, Ropner Park and cityscapes in Middlesbrough and Stockton.


In Key Stage 2 the children will look to extend their knowledge to beyond their local area and will study Europe as well as North and South America.  They will begin to look at similarities and differences of human geography such as types of settlement and land use.  They will also study physical geography elements such as climate zones, rivers, mountains, volcanoes and earthquakes.  Children will continue to use maps, atlases and globes and will use the 8 points of the compass in their work.  They will start to consider the use of four and six figure grid references and ordinance survey maps.  These skills will be developed and explored in different ways, for example, through orienteering in PE and chess in Y3 and 4.  As children move through Key Stage 2, their knowledge of the United Kingdom will be built on and they will begin to explore a wider range, outside of their local area.  Throughout KS2, the children will use maps to focus on Europe and North and South America, concentrating on their environmental regions, key physical and human characteristics, countries, and major cities.

The children in our nurture class are taught using their own personalised curriculum.  They access a hands-on curriculum that follows the thread of the whole school planning.  Their work is differentiated following assessments using PIVATs and personal assessments. 

Through the study of geography at Mill Lane Primary School, children learn to ask perceptive questions, think critically, weigh evidence, sift arguments, and develop perspective and judgement.  Children at Mill Lane will leave KS2 with a clear understanding of the world around them and they will:

  • Have an excellent knowledge of where places are and what they are like and have an excellent understanding of the ways in which places are interdependent and interconnected and how much human and physical environments are interrelated.
  • Have an extensive base of geographical knowledge and vocabulary.
  • Be fluent in complex geographical enquiry and the ability to apply questioning skills and use effective analytical and presentational techniques.
  • Have the ability to reach clear conclusions and develop reasoned arguments to explain findings.
  • Have highly developed and frequently utilised fieldwork and other geographical skills and techniques.
  • Have 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.
  • Have the ability to express well-balanced opinions, rooted in very good knowledge and understanding about current and contemporary issues in society and the environment.


In order to ensure progression and that our aims have been met, we scrutinise topics through:

  • Assessing children’s understanding of topic linked vocabulary before and after the unit is taught.
  • Talking to and recording responses and contributions through pupil voice meetings and during class discussions.
  • Moderation where pupil’s books are scrutinised and there is the opportunity for a dialogue between teachers to understand their class’s work.
  • Sharing good practice in staff meetings.
  • Marking of written work in books against the schools marking policy.