Introducing the new Victorian Curriculum : Geography

Following on from the fabulous announcement for Geography from the Deputy Premier and Minister for Education The Hon James Merlino at Annual Conference, and after consultation with the GTAV, the DET and VCAA have released the new Geography Victorian Curriculum. Below are the significant improvements outlined by VCAA's Monica Bini.

Victorian Curriculum : Geography

The Victorian Curriculum has been released and will be implemented in all schools from 2017. In 2016 schools can choose to continue with their current curriculum or transition partly or fully.

When you go to the site, there is an Introduction and a Curriculum tab in white on the bar above. See the Scope and Sequence as well as the detailed Content Descriptions with new VC codes. Click on the VC Codes to see the Elaborations. The VC codes have been developed to link with the AC codes and all linked resources.

Please note that this document outlines changes compared to the current AusVELS curriculum (the former VELS curriculum) and the new Victorian Curriculum. Schools teaching this current curriculum and also those schools teaching from the AusVELS Geography pdf dated 11 December 2013, should note the following key changes :

Rationale and Aims

Structure :

A banded curriculum with Levels A-D (Towards Foundation: This is for students with disabilities), F - 2 and then two level bands: 3 - 4, 5 - 6, 7 - 8 and 9 - 10.
Two strands: Geographical Concepts and Skills, and Geographical Knowledge.

Further information on the structure.

Concepts :

The curriculum identifies the concepts of place, space, environment, interconnection, sustainability, scale and change as integral to the development of geographical understanding. Geography (VC) introduces and applies all concepts, including spatial concepts, by the end of levels 5 - 6.
Progression is achieved through both the Geographical knowledge Content descriptions and the Place, space and interconnection sub-strand Content descriptions. The Place, space and interconnection sub-strand is a sub-strand of the Geographical concepts and skills strand and identifies an explicit progression in the development of conceptual thinking.

While the emphasis is on the concepts of place, space and interconnection, the concepts of change and scale are also clearly integrated. The concepts of environment and sustainability are emphasised in the Geographical knowledge Content descriptions. The Geographical knowledge strand contributes to the development of all concepts.

The Elaborations for the Place, space and interconnection sub-strand pick up a range of Elaborations from the Geographical knowledge strand to illustrate how teaching this knowledge contributes towards the development of conceptual understanding. This should assist teachers to see the links between the concepts and knowledge content descriptions. Note that the Elaborations are illustrative only and not mandatory, unlike the mandatory content descriptions.

Further information on concepts.


The Victorian Geography curriculum contains a clearly delineated progression in skills essential for Geography in the Geographical concepts and skills strand and the sub-strand Data and information. This progression is expressed in three different categories concerned with geographical data and information:

  • Collecting and recording
  • Selecting, organising and representing
  • Interpreting, analysing and evaluating

The Victorian curriculum should be read like one book rather than a series of self-contained curricula or “books”, in that it sets out content in distinct areas or ‘chapters’ that can then be threaded together to create courses. For example, content on questioning and other aspects of inquiry.


While the content to be covered and topics such as Water in the world (designated as sub-strands in the Victorian curriculum) are substantially the same as the AusVELS Geography December 2013 pdf, there have been a number of refinements to wording to improve clarity and coherence. This typically involves refinement to content description wording, or a reduction in content descriptions in cases where duplication within a band was identified, or merging of content descriptions to create a cleaner and smoother expression of content to be taught.

In a very small number of cases, new content has been introduced, for example in Biomes and food security (Levels 9-10) students will study: Land and resource management strategies used by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples to achieve food security over time.

Barbara Petchenik
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