Geography Curriculum Area
|Lead Teacher:||Mrs L Cogley|
|Staff:||Mr T Clare|
|Mr A Duckworth|
|Mr T Sixsmith|
The Geography curriculum area’s vision can be encapsulated by this quote: ‘Geography is the study of the earth as a home to humankind’ (Johnson, 1985).
We aim to engender knowledge and understanding of the planet Earth and its peoples, and a lasting awareness of the world around us. We also promote sensitivity and empathy towards all others, tolerance and independent thinking, and prepare our students for an active citizen’s role in a changing world.
As well as being a key English Baccalaureate qualifying subject, the study of Geography stimulates an interest in and a sense of wonder about places and will help pupils make sense of a complex and changing world. Geography prepares young people to become team workers, active participants, independent and creative thinkers and makes them more aware of the world in which they live.
Geography fascinates and inspires - the beauty of our planet, the terrible power of earth-shaping forces - these things can take us out of our normal day-to-day lives. Geography is also extremely current and will feature on the news in some form every night – migration, flooding, development, pollution, climate change, transport and so on. Students are encouraged to apply their knowledge and understanding to real-life 21st century UK challenges. Geographical investigation both satisfies and nourishes curiosity, and can lead to a love of travel and the great outdoors.
Teachers in the Geography curriculum area are hugely experienced, and their well-equipped classrooms are located on the upper floor of the A Block building.
Key Stage 3 Geography
We deliver a two-year KS3 programme of study with three lesson per fortnight, incorporating the requirements of the National Curriculum. We have designed our curriculum to explore both the physical and human aspects of geography, whilst examining how society interacts with the natural world. As a result, students begin their GCSE studies with a firm base of geographical knowledge and skills as well as a sense of stewardship and accountability for the communities in which they live.
The KS3 curriculum plans can be found via the links below. They set out the order and length of each topic. Formal assessments take place at the end of each unit, and are based around the command words used at GCSE, to familiarise students with the needs of the exam board.
Geography KS3 curriculum plan (link)
Y7 curriculum – Geography knowledge and skills (link)
Y8 curriculum – Geography knowledge and skills (link)
Key Stage 4 Geography
Geography is a Humanities option subject, and students must choose to study either Geography or History GCSE. A growing number of academic students are opting to study both subjects at GCSE.
The course will help students to:
- develop a knowledge and understanding of current events from the local to the global area;
- investigate the Earth and its peoples;
- study the features of the Earth, mountains, rivers and seas and how they are formed;
- understand other cultures in the UK and across the world;
- develop a range of skills which include map reading, GIS, data collection, ICT and problem solving;
- collect data in the field, and analyse and present their findings.
In line with all subjects, Geography assessment is linear to ensure that all GSCE examinations are taken at the end of the course in the summer of Year 11. Three exams are taken:
Unit 1: The Physical Environment
Worth 37. 5% of the GCSE (one 90 minute exam)
- The changing landscapes of the UK (including geology, rivers and glaciation)
- Weather hazards and climate change (including hurricanes and drought)
- Ecosystems, biodiversity and management (including tropical rainforests and deciduous woodlands)
Unit 2: The Human Environment
Worth 37.5% of the GCSE (one 90 minute exam)
- Changing cities (including two major city case studies – Birmingham and Mexico City)
- Global development (including one major country case study - India)
- Resource management (energy)
Unit 3: Geographical Investigations
Worth 25% of the GCSE (one 90 minute exam)
NB: replaces the older-style controlled assessment
- Investigating physical environments – river landscapes
- Investigating human environments – changing rural environments
- UK Challenges – resource consumption, sustainability, population, economics, landscape and climate change
For more details on the Edexcel Geography “A” GCSE we offer including specification (knowledge and skills needed) and final assessment details, please use the link below.
The departmental KS4 curriculum plan can be found via the link below. They set out the order and length of each unit of work. Formal assessments take place at the end of each unit of work, and if students fall too far below their individual target grade this will trigger automatic intervention assistance.
Geography KS4 curriculum plan (link)
The Geography curriculum area has a consistently strong academic track record. In 2019 when exams were last sat in the Hall, 84.9% of all pupils achieved a standard grade 4 pass or above at GCSE (national average 65.2%), whilst 76.4% gained a strong grade 5 pass or above (national average 52.5%). That year 36.8% of our students gained the top 7-9 grades for the new GCSE (24.5% national average). In 2020, with Centre Assessed Grades, 87.9% of Geography students achieved a standard grade 4 pass or above, 80.8% gained a strong grade 5 pass or above, and 40.4% gained the top 7-9 grades.
Pupil voice surveys provide on-going evidence of the quality of teaching and learning in the curriculum area, with students enjoying their lessons, feeling supported by their teachers and relishing the variety of activities they undertake in lessons.
All pupils at both key stages have regular assessments of their knowledge and skills. This information is used to inform planning and intervention where necessary. At KS3 all assessed work takes place in booklets and tests, whilst at KS4 end-of-unit tests, mocks, intervention work and feedback are stored in assessment folders within the department. It is the Geography curriculum area policy to provide written feedback to pupils on their assessments and formal tests, however, classwork and homework will not routinely be teacher assessed.
At KS3 students will be given approximately two homework tasks per half term. At KS4 this frequency increases to roughly once a week. Homework will often be peer or self-assessed in class, and pupils will receive verbal feedback on their homework where appropriate.
In Geography “the world is your classroom”, and the department usually runs several enrichment trips alongside the compulsory academic field trips.
Formby Sand Dunes: for Year 8
We spend a day walking through the National Trust lands at Formby and studying ecosystem change along a transect from the coast inland.
Easedale Tarn in the Lake District National Park: for Year 9
All GCSE students spend a day walking from Grasmere up to Easedale Tarn, completing an interpretive fieldwork booklet that puts glaciation lessons into practice.
West Pennine Moors: for Year 10
All GCSE students must complete two formal pieces of fieldwork. The Physical Geography component is completed in Year 10 as we investigate how Limestone Brook changes downstream, by measuring river width, depth, velocity, discharge, sediment size and sediment roundness.
Iceland residential enrichment trip: for Year 10
We fly to Reykjavik for a five day trip where students can experience walking on glaciers, hiking up volcanoes, visiting tectonic plate boundaries, walking behind mighty waterfalls, dodging the spray from erupting geysers, and hopefully seeing the Northern Lights.
Manchester city centre: for Year 11
The second formal piece of GCSE fieldwork is a study of Human Geography in Manchester, where we investigate how the inner city and central business district change along a transect, and whether they match up with theoretical models.
In addition to these trips, ad hoc events run during the year, such as visits by Google to demonstrate the power of virtual reality, trips to take part in the UK cinema festival for films with a geographical theme, and to geographical skills challenges in Liverpool.
Geography support clinic will run every Thursday lunchtime as a drop in for any year group enabling 1 : 1 support with homework, exam technique, past paper questions and course content.
- Pupils may be specifically requested to attend revision classes if the classroom teacher feels extra intervention is needed. Parents will be informed by letter or telephone if this is the case.
There are a vast amount of resources written by the staff available to students via Teams as part of their class groups. There are revision powerpoints, exam technique help, question practice, stretch and challenge resources and revision quizzes.
Some starting points:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/examspecs/zsytxsg BBC Bitesize for Edexcel
https://www.senecalearning.com/blog/gcse-geography-revision/ Seneca revision animations
https://revisionworld.com/gcse-revision/geography Topics and past papers
https://www.internetgeography.net/gcse-geography-revision/ How to revise geography
https://www.educationquizzes.com/gcse/geography/ Lots of quick quizzes to test yourself
The set textbook that accompanies the three years of the GCSE course is called “Edexcel GCSE (9-1) Geography A: geographical themes and challenges” edited by John Hopkin, published by Pearson, with ISBN 978-1-446-92775-5.
There are less detailed complementary revision guides, also published by Pearson, as follows:
“Revise Edexcel GCSE (9-1) Geography A: revision guide” (ISBN 978-1-292-13377-5)
“Revise Edexcel GCSE (9-1) Geography A: revision workbook” (ISBN 978-1-292-13373-7)
“Edexcel GCSE (9-1) Geography A: target - get back on track - grade 5” (ISBN 978-0-435-18898-6)
All members of the Geography department are more than happy to support their students and will offer their time to pupils at lunchtime and breaks by arrangement if possible. If you require additional information please feel free to contact me during school hours at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: 01772 600 349
Careers and Progression
It is often said that there is no such thing as a geography job – rather there are a multitude of jobs that geographers can do. The nature of working lives is changing, it is less likely that you will spend all of your working life in one organisation or even sector. Geography sets you up for this future by providing you with a wide range of transferable skills such as being a good communicator, having strong presentation skills, competent using ICT, being able to conduct research, working effectively in a team and using a variety of sources to produce work of high written quality.