Geography at Millfields

Our geography curriculum at Millfields is designed to develop children’s curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Children investigate a range of places – both in the United Kingdom and around the world – to help develop their knowledge and understanding of the Earth’s physical and human processes.

We develop pupils’ knowledge and geographical understanding by first immersing them in the area where they live. By providing children with opportunities to investigate and make enquiries about their school grounds and the local area, they can develop a real sense of who they are, their heritage and what makes our local area unique and special.  We then gradually widen their horizons and increase their awareness of the United Kingdom, other countries and continents as they progress through both KS1 and KS2. Children are regularly presented with opportunities to make sense of the increasingly complex and rapidly changing world in which they live. They are encouraged to think critically about world issues and to develop an awareness of the impact our actions can have on others.

Our geography curriculum is ambitious because it is knowledge-rich, promotes deep thinking and allows students to apply their knowledge and understanding and question like a true geographer.

Geographers at Millfields

Through high-quality teaching, we develop the following essential characteristics of geographers:

  • A secure knowledge of where places are and what they are like, both in the United Kingdom and the wider world

  • An understanding of the ways in which places are interdependent and interconnected

  • An extensive base of geographical knowledge and vocabulary

  • Fluency in geographical enquiry and the ability to apply questioning skills

  • The ability to reach clear conclusions and explain their findings

  • Excellent fieldwork skills

  • The ability to express well-balanced opinions, rooted in very good knowledge and understanding about current issues in society and the environment

  • A genuine interest in the subject and a real sense of curiosity about the world and the people who live here.

Geography Big Ideas and Knowledge Categories

How is Geography taught at Millfields

The geography curriculum is designed to help pupils form a geography schema within their long-term memories. Schema theory states that all knowledge is organised into units. A schema is, therefore, a conceptual system for understanding knowledge. Our geography schema is a way of organising geography knowledge in a meaningful way; it is an appreciation of how facts are connected and the ways in which they are connected.

Big Ideas help form the basis of the schema. Big Ideas are key concepts that underpin the subject. There are three Big Ideas in geography:

  • Investigating Places – (understanding the geographical location of places and their physical and human features)

  • Investigating Processes – (understanding the physical and human processes and activities that occur in a place, and why they might occur)

  • Communicating Geographically – (understanding geographical representation, vocabulary and techniques)

Each Big Idea has knowledge categories which help to strengthen the schema. Learning knowledge in each of the categories throughout their time in school allows pupils to express and demonstrate their understanding of the Big Idea.

These Big Ideas are returned to over and over again so the pupils gradually build a secure understanding of them.

At Millfields we have developed detailed sequences of learning, which ensure high standards of teaching and learning in geography. Geography knowledge and skills are taught discretely alongside English lessons where texts and writing opportunities are chosen to complement and enrich the geography curriculum. We use the National Curriculum as the basis for our planning, which feeds into detailed curriculum overviews with specific objectives to be included in the geography topics we teach.  These overviews ensure that progression is clear, that teachers make links to learning in previous year groups and build upon this to ensure the steady building of knowledge and skills throughout each Key Stage. Topics are taught over a term to allow time for students to grasp the key knowledge needed for a good understanding of the topic, and to apply this knowledge to a range of contexts. This also allows time for spaced repetition and recall of the most important knowledge over time.

Geography Trips, Visits & Workshops

Trips, workshops and enrichment activities are highly valuable for developing a deep understanding of the Big Ideas in geography and bringing the subject to life. We strongly believe that geographical skills need to be put into practice and high-quality learning opportunities can be developed through practical fieldwork. Our staff are always looking at how to incorporate these enriching opportunities into the curriculum. Previous geography trips have included visits to the coastlines of Whitstable and Happisburgh, learning about the rainforest at Kew Gardens, orienteering and local fieldwork projects.


Geography at Home


There are lots of ways in which you can support your child with their geography learning.

  • Having access to an atlas is a fantastic way for children to ask questions and become curious about the various countries around the world.

  • Spending ten minutes a week investigating a new country within the world is a great way to ignite children’s fascination with our planet. For example, you could look at a country’s location in comparison to the UK or investigate food that might be eaten there.

  • Google Earth is another great tool for investigating the world.

  • BBC Geography

  • Geography Online Learning Games

  • DK Find Out!

  • Geography Quizzes

  • National Geographic Kids


In EYFS, children follow the ‘Development Matters in the EYFS’ in which key characteristics underpin learning through play and allow children learn to observe, think critically, problem solve and explore the world around them. Children explore places and all the things within them such as trees in the natural environment and roads and traffic in the built environment. They learn about seasons, the weather, features in the local area and the people in our community. Supported by skilled early years practitioners, they are encouraged to ask questions, consider similarities and differences between locations, and explain their thinking using appropriate vocabulary.


In KS1 children investigate their locality by asking questions and using fieldwork including observation. Children identify features in their own area and carry out fieldwork in the school grounds and local area. Children identify the countries and capitals of the United Kingdom, exploring these further by using maps and aerial photographs to identify key physical and human features. Understanding geography on a global scale, children learn about the world’s continents and oceans, study hot and cold places in the world, and compare and contrast the United Kingdom with a country on the continent of Africa.


In KS2, children expand their geographical vocabulary and world knowledge by identifying the geographic zones and locating the world’s countries. They explore geographical similarities and differences through the study of a region in Europe and a region in South America. Children learn about physical geography and processes such as rivers, mountains and volcanoes and human geography including settlements, land use and economic activity. They utilise maps, globes and computer mapping, and study these in greater depth. Alongside this, children use a range of sources and fieldwork techniques to observe, measure and record the human and physical features in the local area using a range of methods.