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National Curriculum

Geography key stage 1

Statutory content

This content relates to the 1999 programmes of study and attainment targets.

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Teaching should ensure that 'geographical enquiry and skills' are used when developing 'knowledge and understanding of places, patterns and processes', and 'environmental change and sustainable development'.

Explanatory text

During key stage 1 pupils investigate their local area and a contrasting area in the United Kingdom or abroad, finding out about the environment in both areas and the people who live there. They also begin to learn about the wider world. They carry out geographical enquiry inside and outside the classroom. In doing this they ask geographical questions about people, places and environments, and use geographical skills and resources such as maps and photographs.

Knowledge, skills and understanding

Geographical enquiry and skills

1. In undertaking geographical enquiry, pupils should be taught to:

  1. ask geographical questions [for example, 'What is it like to live in this place?']
  2. observe and record [for example, identify buildings in the street and complete a chart]
  3. express their own views about people, places and environments [for example, about litter in the school]
  4. communicate in different ways [for example, in pictures, speech, writing].

2. In developing geographical skills, pupils should be taught to:

  1. use geographical vocabulary [for example, hill, river, motorway, near, far, north, south]
  2. use fieldwork skills [for example, recording information on a school plan or local area map]
  3. use globes, maps and plans at a range of scales [for example, following a route on a map]
  4. use secondary sources of information [for example, CD-ROMs, pictures, photographs, stories, information texts, videos, artefacts]
  5. make maps and plans [for example, a pictorial map of a place in a story] .

Knowledge and understanding of places

3. Pupils should be taught to:

  1. identify and describe what places are like [for example, in terms of landscape, jobs, weather]
  2. identify and describe where places are [for example, position on a map, whether they are on a river]
  3. recognise how places have become the way they are and how they are changing [for example, the quality of the environment in a street]
  4. recognise how places compare with other places [for example, compare the local area with places elsewhere in the United Kingdom]
  5. recognise how places are linked to other places in the world [for example, food from other countries].

Knowledge and understanding of patterns and processes

4. Pupils should be taught to:

  1. make observations about where things are located [for example, a pedestrian crossing near school gates] and about other features in the environment [for example, seasonal changes in weather]
  2. recognise changes in physical and human features [for example, heavy rain flooding fields].

Knowledge and understanding of environmental change and sustainable development

5. Pupils should be taught to:

  1. recognise changes in the environment [for example, traffic pollution in a street]
  2. recognise how the environment may be improved and sustained [for example, by restricting the number of cars].

Explanatory text

Note for 1b

Cross reference to mathematics

Ma2 Number: Processing, representing and interpreting data

5. Pupils should be taught to:

a. solve a relevant problem by using simple lists, tables and charts to sort, classify and organise information

Note for 1d

Cross reference to English

En1 Speaking and listening: Speaking

1. To speak clearly, fluently and confidently to different people, pupils should be taught to:

b. choose words with precision
d. focus on the main point(s)
e. include relevant detail
f. take into account the needs of their listeners

En3 Writing: Composition

1. Pupils should be taught to:

a. use adventurous and wide-ranging vocabulary
c. put their ideas into sentences
d. use a clear structure to organise their writing
e. vary their writing to suit the purpose and reader
f. use the texts they read as models for their own writing

Cross reference to mathematics

Ma2 Number: Using and applying number

1. Pupils should be taught to:


e. use the correct language, symbols and vocabulary associated with number and data
f. communicate in spoken, pictorial and written form, at first using informal language and recording, then mathematical language and symbols


g. present results in an organised way

Note for 2

Geographical skills are developed in the context of geographical enquiry.

Note for 2b

Fieldwork skills are developed during fieldwork investigations outside the classroom.

Note for 2c

ICT opportunity

Pupils could use a programmable toy to develop instructions for following a route.

Note for 2c, 2e

Cross reference to mathematics

Ma3 Shape, space and measures: Understanding properties of position and movement

3. Pupils should be taught to:

a. observe, visualise and describe positions, directions and movements using common words
b. recognise movements in a straight line (translations) and rotations, and combine them in simple ways [for example, give instructions to get to the headteacher's office or for rotating a programmable toy]

Note for 2d

Cross reference to English

En2 Reading: Reading for information

2. Pupils should be taught to:

a. use the organisational features of non-fiction texts, including captions, illustrations, contents, index and chapters, to find information
b. understand that texts about the same topic may contain different information or present similar information in different ways
c. use reference materials for different purposes

Cross reference to ICT

Finding things out

1. Pupils should be taught how to:

a. gather information from a variety of sources [for example, people, books, databases, CD-ROMs, videos and TV]

Note for 3b

This begins to develop pupils' framework of locational knowledge.

Note for 3e

This provides a basis for pupils' understanding of global citizenship in later key stages.

Note for 4

'Pattern' refers to the way in which physical and human features occur or are arranged (for example, weather changes, street layout). 'Process' refers to a series of events that cause changes in a place or environment (for example, flooding, increasing traffic).

Note for 4a

ICT opportunity

Pupils could use a digital camera to record places, people and events observed outside the classroom.

Breadth of study

6. During the key stage, pupils should be taught the Knowledge, skills and understanding through the study of two localities:

  1. the locality of the school
  2. a locality either in the United Kingdom or overseas that has physical and/or human features that contrast with those in the locality of the school.

7. In their study of localities, pupils should:

  1. study at a local scale
  2. carry out fieldwork investigations outside the classroom.

Explanatory text

Note for 6

The 'locality' of the school is its immediate vicinity, including school buildings and grounds and the surrounding area within easy access. The contrasting locality should be an area of similar size.

Note for 6b

ICT opportunity

Pupils could use CD-ROMs or the internet to investigate a contrasting locality.

Note for 7a

'Scale' refers to the geographical extent of a study. A local-scale study is a study of a small area (for example, a neighbourhood, village or small town).

This content relates to the 1999 programmes of study and attainment targets.

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