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  2. Our Curriculum


Subject Co-ordinators:  Mrs K Cooper

Link Governor: Mr Brentnall

Check out our coverage documents to see what the children will be learning in our Geography curriculum, term by term.


Key Stage 1

Key Stage 2


Our fiver drivers underpin our Geography curriculum:

Throughout the school we teach geography to help pupils acquire and develop a better understanding about, “… the complexity of our world, appreciating the diversity of cultures that exist across continents.” [Barack Obama]

It is our intention that pupils become more expert as they progress through the curriculum, accumulating and connecting substantive and disciplinary geographical knowledge.

  • Substantive knowledge- this is the subject knowledge and explicit vocabulary used to learn about the content
  • Disciplinary knowledge– this considers how geographical knowledge originates and is revised. It is through disciplinary knowledge that children gradually become more expert by thinking like a geographer.

This ensures that pupils develop the knowledge, skills and understanding of the key geographical concepts of contextual knowledge, processes (both physical and human) and geographical skills ensuring that they achieve/exceed the aims of the National Curriculum for Geography – Key Stages 1 and 2 (DfE, 2013


Geographical knowledge is taught explicitly in geography lessons so that children know more, remember more and can do more.

Substantive knowledge is organised into four interrelated forms locational knowledge, place knowledge and human and physical processes and geographical skills to ensure that pupils’ knowledge, skills and understanding are built upon through successive years towards clearly identified year group learning outcomes.

We follow the Curriculum with Unity Schools Partnership (CUSP) Geography scheme of work to support all levels of planning and teaching. This scheme has enabled a strategic sequence of study that builds content and concepts over time, with vocabulary comprehensively structured and thoughtfully sequenced across year groups with progression in knowledge. It ensures that pupils’ knowledge, skills and understanding are built upon through successive years towards clearly identified year group learning outcomes.

Wherever possible learning in geography is linked to overall topics to enable children to add new learning to increasingly complex schemata that demonstrate the inter-relatedness of curriculum content. Our geography curriculum respects both the natural and social sciences and the interplay between them.

To ensure our curriculum is taught to develop cumulatively sufficient knowledge by the end of each Key Stage we follow the stages outlined below:

1.)    Substantive knowledge for each subject is mapped from EYFS to Year 6 to ensure our children learn cumulatively sufficient knowledge by the end of each Key Stage.

2.)    Disciplinary knowledge as geographical skills and fieldwork is mapped from EYFS to Year 6 to enable children to apply their knowledge as skills.

3.)    Explicit teaching of vocabulary is central to children’s ability to connect new knowledge with prior learning. Teaching identifies Tier 2 words, high frequency words used across content e.g. verify, and Tier 3 words, specific to subject domains e.g. biome

4.)    Spaced retrieval practice, through questioning, quizzes and peer-explanations, further consolidates the transfer of information from working memory to long-term memory. Quizzing etc are primarily learning strategies to improve retrieval practice – the bringing of information to mind.

5.)    The use of knowledge organisers and knowledge notes for some subjects keeps essential information together to guard against split-attention effect. Children are taught to forge connections between their current learning and the ‘big picture’ of subject content.

Our Early Years Curriculum is carefully planned and implemented to enable children to achieve the Early Learning Goals (ELGs). Through the Understanding the World goal children learn about their immediate environment, recognise places on maps and aerial photos, make their own maps and explore and contrast other places through images, video and stories. ELG objectives with geography content are mapped against Key Stage 1 objectives to ensure teaching is sequential throughout the school, building upon the children’s prior learning.

Our geography curriculum capitalises on Coldean’s unique location as part of the city of Brighton & Hove, on the edge of the South Downs National Park and four miles from the sea. Our extensive grounds ensure fieldwork knowledge and skills are taught practically and our programme of educational visits within and beyond the locality consolidates children’s knowledge.

Engagement with our “Coldean 50” ensure children achieve from a wider curriculum offer, for example, how growing and harvesting food supports a more sustainable lifestyle. Children also participate in programmes such as, Eco Schools’ Green Flag Award, regular Active Travel events, Regeneration Project, Grounds Week that help provide rich experiences to connect their geographical knowledge and understanding to tangible outcomes.

Our ‘Good-Life’ programme provides an additional pathway through our Geography curriculum whereby our ‘Good-Life’ Ambassadors promote the message of ecological sustainability so that our pupils are armed with the necessary knowledge to look after our world for future generations.

Our curriculum design takes significant guidance from Ofsted’s “Research review series: geography” (June 2021)



Our Geography curriculum ensures that children leave Coldean:

  • Remembering key knowledge of places and locations as outlined in the National Curriculum and how to source geographical information as required.
  • Able to use a variety of vital vocabulary with which to discuss their geographical knowledge and understanding.
  • Knowing how their actions affect the local environment and the sustainability of the Earth’s resources.
  • Knowing how their actions support the continued award of Eco-School’s Green Flag Award.

Training, planning and teaching our Geography curriculum ensures:

  • Teachers with secure subject knowledge, an appreciation of the structure of geography as a subject and an appreciation of the relationship between the two.
  • Teachers able to assess pupils’ learning against our Progression Map objectives.