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Geography - Skills Progression


Key Stage 1

Lower Key Stage 2

Upper Key Stage 2

Locational and Place Knowledge

  • Use maps and globes to identify the continents and oceans and understand that both a map and a globe show the same thing;
  • Locate the continents on a paper map;
  • Use simple compass directions (North, South, East and West) to describe the location of features on a map;
  • Study pictures / videos of a locality and ask geographical questions e.g. What is it like to live in this place? How is this place different to where I live? Express own views about a place, people and environment;
  • Draw and label pictures to show how places are different to the UK;
  • Give detailed reasons to support own likes, dislikes and preferences.
  • Build on prior knowledge of UK regions by using maps to locate countries of Europe;
  • Study maps to make assumptions about the different areas of Europe e.g. using map keys to identify mountainous areas, urban areas;
  • Identify hilliest areas and flattest areas as well as decide which rivers they think are the largest;
  • Study pictures of different parts of Europe (e.g. top of a mountain, on the banks of a river, on a farm) and make reasoned judgements about where the pictures are taken and defend e.g. a mountain top may be in France because there is a large mountain range there;
  • Match key landmarks to the country and make suggestions as to how landmarks affect a country (tourism, economy etc.) i.e. Eiffel tower in Paris generates a lot of revenue through tourism. Relate to UK landmarks;
  • Use the language of ‘north’, ‘south’, ‘east’, ‘west’ to relate countries to each other;
  • Using maps, locate the Equator, the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. Consider the countries and climates that surround these lines and discuss the relationships between these and the countries;
  • Critically study photographs – ask if they were taken close to the Equator / North Pole or further away;
  • Look at maps, pictures and other sources to identify similarities and differences between a UK region and another country;
  • Compare physical and human features, draw conclusions, pose questions and use prior knowledge of map reading;
  • Identify main trade and economy in another country and compare to region of the UK;
  • Look at settlements, particularly in relation to volcanoes – see what conclusions can be drawn;
  • Analyse evidence and draw conclusions e.g. make comparisons between locations using photos/pictures, temperatures in different locations and population numbers.
  • Identify the different hemispheres on a map;
  • Use the compass points N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, NW to direct and locate using a compass;
  • Locate and label different countries / continents in the Northern and Southern hemispheres;
  • Raise questions about the different hemispheres;
  • Use and explain appropriate geographical language;
  • Use maps to compare and contrast differences between the UK and other countries – climate, agriculture, tourism etc. Discuss and compare these differences and relate this knowledge to the weather in the local area;
  • Reach reasoned and informed solutions and discuss the consequences of humans around the world;
  • Locate the key physical and human characteristics. Relate these features to the locality e.g. population sizes near tourist landmarks / rivers, transport links and mountains;
  • Locate all the man-made features of a country e.g. Statue of Liberty, Golden Gate Bridge, Grand Canyon, Yosemite National Park, The White House etc. and relate to UK landmarks. Reflect on the importance and value of the tourism industry in these areas.

Human and Physical Geography

  • Use basic geographical vocabulary to refer to key physical features including: beach, coast, forest, mountain, sea, river, season, weather;
  • Use basic geographical vocab to refer to key human features, including: city, town, village, factory, farm, house and shop;
  • Be able to verbalise and write about similarities and differences between the features of two localities;
  • Ask questions about the weather and seasons;
  • Identify the Equator and locate the places on the Equator which are the hottest;
  • Observe and record e.g. draw pictures of the weather at different times of the year or keep a record of how many times it rains in a week in the winter and a week in the summer;
  • Express opinions about the seasons and relate the changes to changes in clothing and activities e.g. Winter = coat, hat, scarf and Summer = shorts and t-shirts.
  • Locate places in the world where volcanoes occur. Understand and be able to communicate in different ways the cause of volcanoes and the process that occurs before a volcano erupts. Draw diagrams, produce writing and use the correct vocabulary;
  • Ask, research and explain the following questions: Why did original settlers choose to settle where they did? What were their settlements like? How did they use the land and how has land use changed today? How did they trade? How is that different today? Relate land use and trade to settlements;
  • Study how land in the local area was used during the historical periods studied. Look at land use in the same area today and consider how and why this has changed.
  • Use the language of rivers e.g. erosion, deposition, transportation;
  • Explain and present the process of rivers, earthquakes, volcanoes;
  • Research and discuss how geographical features such as rivers, topography and coasts can impact human settlements;
  • Identify trade links around the world based on a few chosen items e.g. coffee, chocolate, bananas;
  • Discover where food comes from;
  • Discuss land use and draw conclusions about the reasons for this based on human inhabitants and changing needs;
  • Ask and answer geographical questions to unpick why human geography may have changed over time.


  • Study maps and aerial photographs and use simple compass directions (North, South, East and West) and locational and directional language to describe the location of features and routes on a map;
  • Draw own maps of the local area: use and construct basic symbols in a key;
  • Observe and record the features around the school e.g. the different types of plants, the animals seen by the mere compared to the animals seen on the road, the different amounts of traffic at Brierlow Bar compared to the village;
  • Children to make suggestions for the cause of the differences and communicate findings in different ways e.g. reports, graphs, sketches, diagrams, pictures;
  • Children make sketches / notes of their trip to school / walks around village and then create a map to direct others which uses a key and includes the main physical and human features.
  • Create maps: e.g. - Plan a tour of the school, which includes a map/ plan of the school and the main geographical features you would see identified, with a key;
  • Undertake environmental surveys of the school grounds - litter, noise, likes/ dislikes, areas for improvement;
  • Undertake weather surveys, including wind direction, where the sun shines (north, south, east, west), recording changes and observations using a method of choice e.g. rainfall – if it is the same on all sides of the school;
  • Make an aerial plan/map of the school;
  • Classify local buildings and use recognised symbols to mark out local areas of interest on own maps;
  • Choose effective recording and presentation methods e.g. tables to collect data;
  • Present data in an appropriate way using keys to make data clear;
  • Draw conclusions from the data.
  • Look for evidence of different land use in the village by visiting the location e.g. lime kiln, mortuary;
  • Make field notes/observational notes about land features;
  • Visit a river / hill / coast and locate / explain the features. Take photographs to support findings e.g. showing different transport used in the area today which would not have been used during Victorian times;
  • Study pictures of historic elements of a site and compare and contrast to present;
  • Select a method to present the differences in transport in the area today;
  • Undertake a survey in the local area or on a visit – drawing comparisons. Collate the data collected and record it using data handling software to produce graphs and charts of the results;
  • Ask Geographical questions e.g. how is traffic controlled? What are the main problems?