Our Vision for Geography

The geography curriculum is designed to stimulate pupils’ curiosity about and sense of responsibility for the world, to allow for and promote both their propositional and procedural knowledge and to help prepare them for future learning and employment as content and productive members of society.

It is designed, firstly, to be meaningful and relevant to the world our pupils live in and then, also, to contribute towards gaining a qualification in later years either in geography or in other subjects.  

Curriculum Intent

Our Earth is a wonderful and fascinating place with innumerable links and interactions between its parts. We are all citizens of the world and as such our pupils need to know about the geography of places, from the local to the global, and how people interact with these, are influenced by them and change them, together with knowing how people can live sustainably so that we are provided for today and the Earth and its people will be provided for in the future. In geography, we seek to foster curiosity about the world and a desire to know how it ‘works’ and how we can all contribute to using it and caring for it - to be local, national and global citizens. 

All KS3 classes start the year with a focus on climate change, its causes and consequences and how it might be managed to lessen its impact. This learning is revisited at key points through the year, during lessons and form time, as part of our being global citizens who can all make a difference if we know how to and why.

Curriculum Implementation

The geography curriculum is organised into topics according to content and key concepts and skills are developed and reinforced through these topics and across years so pupils face knowledge of increasing complexity and need to apply learning in increasingly unfamiliar contexts. Skills are taught in a number of ways, but always then applied in a ‘real world’ context.

Topics are taught in a considered order to promote both the learning of new knowledge and to reinforce and develop key concepts and application of this learning. Opportunities for developing cross-curricular and ‘soft’ skills are built in to each topic and the use of English is promoted and reinforced through each topic.

Schemes of work are written for each topic and include:

  • key learning questions
  • key content - and skills
  • key vocabulary
  • assessment opportunities/requirements - hinge questions
  • threshold concepts - concepts met + developed across topics/years
  • suggested learning approach/activity
  • (career links - being developed)

Schemes of work are expected to be reviewed during and at the end of teaching - to consider effectiveness, key misconceptions, suggested changes and improvements. The review can then be considered and schemes adapted and improved for next teaching.


Year Group Content

Understanding the world

Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community. The frequency and range of children’s personal experiences increases their knowledge and sense of the world around them – from visiting parks, libraries and museums to meeting important members of society such as police officers, nurses and firefighters. In addition, listening to a broad selection of stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems will foster their understanding of our culturally, socially, technologically and ecologically diverse world. As well as building important knowledge, this extends their familiarity with words that support understanding across domains; enriching and widening children’s vocabulary will support later reading comprehension.

Similarities and differences

  • Me and others                                                                         

  • Families, communities and traditions

  • Living things, materials, objects


  • Features of environment and how these change

  • Observations of animals and plants and change (introduction to seasons and growth)

1.1a Seasons (Science and Geography)

What is the Weather like where we live?

  • Observe and record weather for one week during each season.

  • To understand seasonal weather patterns within Bedford.

  • To identify dangerous/adverse weather within Bedford that has occurred (e.g. heat wave/flooding).


  • Field work.- Observe, measure and record.


Foundation for work on climates in 2.1 and 2.2

Building on knowledge in Reception Autumn 2.



1.2 Marvellous Mapping

Our local area- What is it like where we live?

  • Local human and physical landmarks 

  • Introduction to map skills


  • Maps to locate countries, counties and cities.

  • 4 points of a compass

  • Using 2 figure grid references

  • Field work- observe, measure, record and present.


Foundation for all future topics. Builds on 1.1a and 1.1b

Understanding of locations will build on a secure knowledge of the immediate locality. 



1.3 Marvellous Mapping

People and their communities: How do places differ?

  • Villages/Towns/Cities

  • Comparison of Bedford to a contrasting UK city (landscape/climate)


Introduction of wider geographical locations. Comparison study. Case study examples, avoiding stereotypes or misconceptions.

Builds on locational vocabulary introduced in 1.2 and provides a foundation for 3.3. Supports work in 1.1b

2.1 It’s a Wonderful World

What are the 7 continents of our world?

  • 7 continents

  • 5 oceans

  • Lines of latitude- Equator. Northern and Southern Hemisphere

  • Hot and cold climates

  • Famous landmarks


  • Maps to locate continents and oceans

  • 4 points of a compass

  • Aerial photographs


Introduction to some of the world’s natural and manmade features.  

Students draw on all preceding topics.


2.2 Africa

What is life like in Africa?

  • Similarities and differences between places

  • Locational Knowledge

  • Physical Geography- Natural Characteristics

  • Human Geography Comparison of Place and Culture- UK and Kenya

  • Climate/weather


  • Maps to identify countries, cities and features.

  • 4 points of a compass

  • Using 2 figure grid references


Introduces the human and physical environments of Africa as a diverse and dynamic continent, much misunderstood by people in the UK.

Builds on 1.3 Comparison


2.3 Beside the Seaside

What is it like to be beside the Seaside?

  • Physical features of coasts.

  • Human Geography- Tourism

  • Comparison of seaside town to local area. Field work


  • Aerial photos and maps to identify features.

  • 4 points of a compass

  • Using 2 figure grid references

  • Field work- observe, measure, record and present


Introduction to the features of coastlines.

Builds on 2.2 Comparison skills and 2.2 Natural Characteristics

3.1 Volcanoes

How do natural disasters affect people’s lives?

  • Structure (tectonic plates)

  • Distribution

  • Impact of eruptions and earthquakes


  • Maps to locate countries, counties and cities.

  • 8 points of a compass

  • Using 4 figure grid references


Introduction to hazards. Link to Science topic Rocks.

Builds on map skills from all previous Units.


3.2a Stone Age-Iron Age (History and Geography)

How did the Iron Age shape the landscape of the UK?

  • Human Geography- types of settlement and land use.


  • Using OS maps to describe features- contours.

  • Using aerial photos.

  • Using a Key with OS symbols.


3.2b Shang Dynasty (History and Geography)

What was the Geographical Extent of the Shang Dynasty?

  • Locational knowledge historical and modern day comparison. 

  • Key geographical features of the region

  • Location of settlements


  • Maps to locate countries, regions and cities and landscape features.


Introduction to settlements.

Builds on 1.1b Castles and Map work in 1.3 and 2.3


3.3 Our Local Area

What are the places of interest in Bedford?

  • Locational knowledge

  • Natural features- Reasons for settlement.

  • Human features


  • Maps to locate countries, counties and cities.

  • 8 points of a compass

  • Field work- observe, measure, record and present.

  • Using 4 figure grid references

  • Using a key with OS symbols


Introduction to Bedford as a settlement

Builds on 1.2 and 1.3 Marvellous Mapping and 3.2 Settlements of Shang Dynasty.

4.1 South America

How does South America compare to the UK?

  • Locational knowledge

  • Natural features and landmarks

  • Comparison of place


  • Maps to locate countries and cities and to identify features.

  • 8 points of a compass

  • Using 4 figure grid references

  • Using a key with OS symbols


An important comparison study to build global awareness. Allows for development of geographical/map skills.

Builds on how others live (1.2), our world (4.1)


4.2 Rainforests

What is life like in the Rainforest?

  • Tropical climates

  • Plant and animal adaptations

  • Key lines of latitude


  • Maps to locate countries and cities and to identify features.

  • 8 points of a compass

  • Using 4 figure grid references

  • Using a key with OS symbols


Introduction to changing Rainforest environments.

Builds on 4.1 South America, 2.1 It’s a Wonderful World, 2.2 Africa


4.3 Rainforests

How are people affecting the rainforests?

  • Importances of rainforests

  • Reasons for deforestation

  • Impact of deforestation.


  • Maps to locate countries and cities and to identify features.

  • 4 points of a compass

  • Using 4 figure grid references

  • Using a key with OS symbols


Introduction to the geographical factors that affect change.

Builds on 4.2

5.1 Eastern Europe

What are the differences and similarities between Poland and England?

  • Location and countries. 

  • Reasons behind Eastern/Western Europe

  • Physical geography

  • Tourism

  • Comparison of Poland and UK-Whole country 


  • Maps to locate countries and cities and to identify features.

  • 8 points of a compass

  • Using 6 figure grid references

  • Using a key with OS symbols


Introduction to political factors influencing European geography.

Builds on comparison study in 4.1 and 2.2


5.2 Reduce, Re-use, Recycle

How can we help the environment in our local area?

  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle- disposal of waste.

  • Impact locally and globally- Pacific Garbage Patch

  • Field Work- Traffic, pollution, idling, impact on children playing. 


  • Fieldwork- Field work- observe, measure, record and present.


Introduction to field work with purpose- collecting data.

Builds on 4.3 and 3.3.


5.3 Rivers and the water cycle

What are the physical features and natural processes in the formations of rivers?

  • Water cycle

  • Major world rivers

  • The journey of a river

  • Erosion, deposition.


Introduction to physical processes associated with  rivers and builds world knowledge by looking at distribution of some of the world’s great rivers. 

Links to our wonderful world (2.3) and climate and weather (3.1). Also links to Science.

6.1 Extreme Weather and Climate

What is extreme weather and what are the effects of it?

  • Extreme weather and climate patterns.

  • What creates our weather?

  • Significance of lines of latitude- Equator, Tropics, Arctic and Antarctic Circles.

  • Climate change and impact of extreme weather.


  • Maps to locate countries and regions.

  • Interpret graphs

  • Analyse data.


Introduction to causes of weather patterns and the environmental impact.

Building on 5.3 Rivers, 4.2 and 4.3 Rainforests.


6.2 Welcome to the UK

How do settlements vary in the UK?

  • Settlement hierarchy- capital city, city, town etc and the key features.

  • Land use patterns- why major towns (inc. Bedford) are located where they are.

  • Changes over time- Old maps. Reasons

  • Urban fieldwork


  • Analysing maps to locate cities and towns and the physical features of these areas..

  • Using old maps to explore how Bedford has changed.


Real world data handling and analysis, linked to mathematics curriculum for Year 6.  

Building on 3.3 and 5.2


6.3 Trade and Economics

Where do our goods come from?

  • Imports/exports

  • Distribution of natural resources

  • Trade links/economy


  • Analysing Maps to locate countries and regions and natural resources.


Discussion and debate around Fair trade to link to English - making responsible decisions. 

Building on mapping skills and Rainforests 4.3

In Year 7, pupils’ learning at KS2 is built upon and developed through the study of a range of topics: Amazing Africa, What’s Beneath Our Feet? (geology and soil), Water Power (rivers and flooding) and Is it Fair? (development and its global patterns). Key concepts are reinforced and developed through the topics and through the year. A range of skills are developed and learned in the context of different places and pupils use a widening range of maps and other resources. 

Pupils in Year 7 will study the following units:

  • Climate Change
  • Where are we? (map skills)
  • Amazing Africa 
  • Where are we? (latitude and longitude)
  • What’s Beneath Our Feet?
  • Water Power
  • Is it Fair?


Pupils who meet age related expectations will be able to: 

World Knowledge

  • Locate and label major physical and human features of places at a range of scales
  • Describe physical and human features of places at a range of scales
  • Describe and begin to explain the global pattern of deserts
  • Know the location of a widening range of countries
  • Know the location of the world’s oceans, seas, major rivers, canals

Geographical Understanding

  • Describe Africa’s relief and climate
  • Describe the climate of the Sahara Desert
  • Describe and explain the causes of desertification, its impact and possible solutions
  • Describe population density in Africa and explain its link with physical geography
  • Identify links between countries in Africa and others and the impact of these
  • Know the types of rock and their place in the rock cycle
  • Explain how rock type forms different landscapes
  • Know what soil is and consider its importance as a natural resource
  • Know the hydro-logical cycle and rivers’ place in it
  • Describe how water processes change the landscape
  • Explain the causes and effects of flooding and human response to this
  • Use development indicators to describe countries at different levels of development
  • Explain why countries have different levels of development
  • Consider and suggest how inequality of development could be reduced

Geographical Enquiry and Skills

  • Use maps at different scales and of different types – political, physical, thematic
  • Produce and label maps accurately and clearly
  • Begin to select appropriate maps
  • Annotate maps to describe and explain patterns
  • Read and produce latitude/longitude references, contour lines, six-figure grid references
  • Suggest and support different opinions about change
  • Draw, label and annotate sketch diagrams
  • Measure and record fieldwork data and draw conclusions from this
  • Draw and give reasoned conclusions, using data to support these
  • Use and select evidence, including data, to draw and prove conclusions

By Year 8, pupils are fully aware of geography as a separate subject and have a firm understanding of a range of geographical key concepts and ideas. This is developed through the topics: Terrifying Tectonics (earthquakes and volcanoes), People, People Everywhere (population and settlement), By the Sea (coasts and the processes that change them) and New World (globalisation and patterns of industry and development).  In addition to new learning, key concepts from Year 7 are further developed through these topics and pupils re-visit and use prior learning throughout the year in order to fully embed this and to apply it to less familiar contexts - the crux of higher level learning in geography.

Pupils in Year 8 will be taught the following units: 

  • Climate Change
  • Terrifying Tectonics
  • People, People Everywhere
  • By the Sea
  • New World?


Pupils who meet age related expectations will be able to:

World Knowledge

  • Know the location of a widening range of countries and regions
  • Describe physical and human features and patterns of different continents, regions and countries
  • Describe and compare physical and human patterns in and between continents

Geographical Understanding

  • Describe the structure of the Earth and the global pattern of tectonic activity
  • Explain how earthquakes and volcanoes are caused
  • Compare and explain different countries’ response to earthquakes
  • Explain the impact of different factors on birth/death rates
  • Describe the global pattern of population growth – in the past and today
  • Calculate the population density of different countries and give reasons for differences
  • Consider population structures of Germany and Ethiopia and the impact of these
  • Describe the growth of settlements
  • Consider the use of natural resources and the importance of their sustainable use
  • Identify patterns of urbanisation and the impact of this
  • Describe and explain factors influencing rural-urban migration and its impact in less economically developed countries
  • Describe coastal processes and how they combine with geology to change coastlines
  • Describe and explain coastal defences and argue their use
  • Describe how globalisation is leading to increasing global interdependence
  • Know the different sectors of industry and identify the global pattern of industry and trade
  • Consider the impact of globalisation in countries at different levels of development

Geographical Enquiry and Skills

  • Draw, label and annotate accurate cross-sections
  • Use maps to describe patterns of tectonic activity
  • Describe patterns using evidence to support description
  • Use and select evidence, including data, to draw and prove conclusions
  • Read and use a variety of maps, including choropleth and some proportional maps, to describe patterns
  • Calculate population densities
  • Select evidence and maps appropriately
  • Suggest and select appropriate geographical questions

This is the last year that some of our students will study geography as a discrete subject and the basis for the many of our students who will take geography for GCSE. As such, we strive to maintain pupils’ interest in the world - and the vital role they play in it. As ever, and in addition to learning new information and skills, prior learning is further applied and developed through a range of topics: Wild Weather, Changing Climate, Unstoppable China, Glorious Glaciers, Middle East - middle of the world? and Russia - is it the biggest? Through these topics, we aim for a year which maintains and further fosters all pupils’ interest in the world and how we interact with it, expects pupils to work at an increasingly higher level and also gives opportunities to revise key concepts and skills that GCSE pupils will need as a solid foundation for their KS4 studies.

Pupils in Year 9 will be taught the following units:

  • Climate Change
  • Wild Weather, Changing Climate
  • Unstoppable China
  • Glorious Glaciers
  • Middle East - middle of the world?
  • Russia - biggest of the world?


Pupils who meet age related expectations will be able to:

World Knowledge

  • Know the location of a wide range of places, environments and features – from local to global

Geographical Understanding

  • Know the elements of weather and explain how different factors cause different weather
  • Know why micro-climates differ
  • Explain why the weather of the UK is so variable
  • Describe the formation and impact of hurricanes
  • Describe the global pattern of climate and give reasons for this
  • Know what climate change is – its causes, impacts and how it may be slowed
  • Describe the physical geography of different parts of China and explain its impact on population
  • Describe how China is connected with other places
  • Compare the level of development of China with other places
  • Identify how China is changing and explain the environmental impact of this
  • Describe the formation of glaciers and their global location
  • Explain how different glacial processes formed landscapes and their impact in the UK
  • Argue the importance of The Arctic and the link with climate change
  • Describe the physical and human geography of The Middle East
  • Explain the importance of oil and its impact on geopolitics
  • Consider water scarcity in The Middle East and give a reasoned argument for how it may be managed
  • Describe the growth of tourism in Dubai and the impact of this
  • Describe the physical and human geography of different parts of Russia
  • Explain the population structure of Russia and implications of this
  • Investigate the impact of hosting the World Cup and the link between level of development and sporting success
  • Investigate and explain Russia’s global place as a fossil fuel ‘superpower’

Geographical Enquiry and Skills

  • Select data to investigate geographical questions
  • Select data to interpret, make judgements and draw conclusions about geographical questions
  • Express and engage with different points of view about geographical questions, issues and problems
  • Interpret wide range of geographical evidence, including OS maps, topographical and other thematic mapping, aerial and satellite photographs
  • Select maps according to geographical question and combine information from these to describe, explain and draw conclusions
  • Use GIS to view, analyse and interpret places and data
  • Suggest steps for geographical enquiry
  • Use fieldwork to collect, analyse and draw conclusions from geographical data
  • (focus: weather of UK)

We follow the Edexcel (9-1) A specification which includes a broad range of topics, skills and expectations.

Our focus is on ensuring that pupils have the opportunity to reinforce and build on their previous learning as well as learning much new information and many new skills. We organise the curriculum so as to encourage pupils to consistently learn, retrieve information, use information and, ultimately, be able to apply their learning to unfamiliar contexts. Whilst the curriculum content is substantial, we aim to foster and maintain a continuing interest in, and knowledge of, the world and how we interact with it - for our pupils to become true geographers with the wide, and sought after, range of geographical and other skills which geographers have.

Pupils in KS4 will be taught the following units:

Year 10

  • Paper 1 - Topics 1,2,3
  • Paper 2 - Topic 4 start
  • Paper 3 - fieldwork - urban investigation

Year 11

  • Paper 2 - Topic 4 complete, Topics 5,6
  • Paper 3 - fieldwork - coastal investigation
  • Paper 3 - UK challenges 


Pupils who meet age related expectations will be able to demonstrate the following;

  • A broad and deep understanding of locational contexts, including greater awareness of the importance of scale and the concept of global
  • Clear understanding of the processes that lead to geographical changes and the multivariate nature of human-physical relationships and interactions
  • An ability to form valid generalisations and abstractions together with an awareness of the importance of theoretical perspectives and conceptual frameworks in geography
  • Be able to plan and undertake independent enquiry in which skills, knowledge and understanding are applied to investigate geographical questions
  • Show competence in a range of intellectual and communication skills, including the formation of arguments that include elements of synthesis and evaluation of material
  • Be able to use a wide range of cartographic, graphical, numerical and statistical skills