Geography: Statement of Intent
Our intent is to inspire in students a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Our aim is to provide a rich and knowledge-based Geography curriculum which allows our students to have an improved knowledge of the world, a better understanding of how it works and the geographical skills to support their understanding.
The Geography curriculum will enable students to be confident, to understand, and ask questions about the world around them. The intent is to develop a holistic knowledge of the subject at Key Stage 3 in order establish a strong foundation which will be built on at GCSE; inspiring students to elect to continue to study Geography at both GCSE and post 16. Learning will take place both in and outside the classroom raising the curiosity of our students, ensuring students have a life-long and responsible attitude towards the world around them.
Through the framework of the 2014 National Curriculum, Geography aims to help students to:
- Develop age-appropriate, accurate knowledge of the location, physical and human characteristics of a wide range of globally significant places as determined by the 2014 National Curriculum at Key Stage 3 and the AQA GCSE curriculum at Key Stage 4.
- Use this knowledge to provide a geographical context to study and understand the actions of important geographical processes.
- Understand that these processes give rise to the key physical and human geographical features of the world, how these are interdependent and how they bring about variation and change to the geographical landscape.
- Use geographical vocabulary which is appropriate and accurate and which develops and evolves from Key Stage 3 to Key Stage 4.
- Collect, analyse and present a range of data, gathered through experiences of fieldwork, to deepen understanding of geographical processes.
- Use and interpret a wide range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes and aerial photographs.
- Develop skills in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) (software and interactive resources) which allow for digital mapping, analysis of data and data models.
- Communicate geographical information in a variety of ways, including through maps, numerical and quantitative skills and writing at length.
- Fulfil the requirements of the 2014 National Curriculum for Geography (Key Stage 3).
- Expand their own spiritual, moral, social and cultural (SMSC) development helping them to have a greater understanding of their place in the world, and their rights and responsibilities to other people and the environment.
- Recognise and uphold British Values through their behaviour in the classroom and the topics we study.
In Key Stage 3, students have Geography lessons 3 x 50 minutes per week. Geography is delivered to each group on a half term basis. GCSE classes receive 3 x 50 minute lessons per week, and is integrated into the World Studies Department.
The department undertakes subject specific CPD and due to the ever-evolving nature of the subject, staff review the curriculum in conjunction with the latest academic findings, to ensure the curriculum remains current and up-to-date. Case studies come from the 21st century and are consistently reviewed and updated to reflect our changing planet.
The Geography curriculum follows a spiral approach (A spiral curriculum can be defined as a course of study in which students will see the same topics throughout their school career, with each encounter increasing in complexity and reinforcing previous learning.) with geographical language, skills, understanding and application ever-evolving and developing over time. Student’s introduction to Geography begins with two topics: Where are we? and Map Skills. The purpose of these units are to ensure all of the basics such as: What is our own country called? What is a continent? so all students have a solid foundation to build their geographical knowledge successfully. The spiral curriculum approach ensures that threshold concepts are taught early and revisited frequently.
Human and Physical Geography are as equally weighted as possible so students develop learning from both sides of the discipline. This is applied through Key Stage 3 and GCSE to provide a varied and balanced curriculum. By this means students access the curriculum through alternative methods of study: in Year 7 the rainforest is studied through the production of diorama model; in Year students have a ‘pet rock’ and produce a care guide, and in Year 9 students visit Avenham Park and make observations of the rivers Ribble and Darwen. At GCSE, field study work is carried out with an investigation into both the River Ribble and city regeneration and its impact on local population. Fieldwork promotes geographical knowledge and understanding by bridging the divide between the classroom and the real world.
There is a fine balance in the need to provide students with both in-depth knowledge, and broad knowledge of different places around the world. By returning to the same location in different contexts, we allow for retrieval practice to strengthen recall thus creating ‘good geographers’. Case studies undertaken at Key Stage 3 that are not studied at GCSE provide the students with a different perspective and comparison of an event that they are very unlikely to have first-hand experience of. For example, studying Hurricane Katrina in Year 7 allows pupils to contrast the effects in, and responses of, the Philippines when Typhoon Haiyan struck.
The topics in Year 9 need more maturity than those in Years 7 and 8, as topics such as birth and death rates require foundation knowledge provided earlier in the curriculum. The curriculum plan ensures geographical vocabulary, knowledge, understanding and skills all develop and evolve throughout both Key Stages.
In order to support our students and ensure they make good progress, subject knowledge as well as language is modelled by teachers. Students are expected to use correct geographical terminology in both their written and verbal answers. Knowledge organisers and bespoke GCSE Revision booklets contain vocabulary lists and the learning and testing of vocabulary is a routine part of Geography lessons in both Key Stage 3 and GCSE. Our GCSE revision booklets have a vocabulary checklists which parents are encouraged to use to test their children. The AQA Syllabus is followed.
The vast array of case study knowledge and geographical understanding that forms part of a strong Geography curriculum is frequently revisited in order to strengthen, recall and develop synoptic links. Frequent ‘low stakes testing’ routinely takes place in Geography lessons in both Key Stage 3 and GCSE.
Key Stage 3 students are assessed on the following five key attributes:
- Geographical vocabulary
- Case study knowledge
- Geographical understanding
- Geographical skills
- The ability to reach justified conclusions.
These are assessed through a variety of measures including: multiple choice tests, homework and a final summative assessment at the end of each topic. Merits are awarded to students for excellent contributions in lesson (verbal and written), excellent standards of homework in terms of effort and attainment, and valued contributions to the Geography Department, for example assisting on Open Evening.
Quality Assurance within the department ensures that the intended curriculum plans are delivered appropriately. There is a planned programme for monitoring and reflecting on provision, including:
- Humanities planning meetings
- Weekly Humanities briefings
- Self-evaluation process – lesson observations
- Work scrutiny – to look at student books monitor standards of student work.
These steps ensure there is no mismatch between the planned and delivered curriculum across school.
Geography is a popular option subject at GCSE which in itself shows students’ enjoyment and engagement with the subject. Students make a committed approach to additional provision with voluntary attendance at Study Support and drop in lunch-time sessions.
Outcomes in Geography are improving; evidenced in positive GCSE score.
The world in which we live in – its environments, landscapes and natural disasters, and the relationship between people and environments, is likely to change more in the next 50 years than it has ever done before. Dealing with vital issues such as climate change, migration, environmental degradation, social issues and natural hazards, A-level Geography is a highly relevant subject to study. The skills learnt are highly sought after by universities and subsequently employers.
Geography is a wide-ranging degree subject as it entails a mix of social and physical sciences that combines the study of the planet’s physical properties with a focus on societies and how they interact. The Guardian newspaper in 2015 named Geography as a ‘must-have A-Level’ to help [you] make sense of the world. Many universities offer both human and physical geography programmes.
Career / employment:
Students who have studied Geography have gone on to work in the following sectors: surveying, engineering, law, science, sales, business, environment, information technology, management, finance, banking, marketing, research, manufacturing, teaching, childcare, engineering and building, arts, design and media, town planning, working abroad and many (many) more…even become Prime Minister – Theresa May!