Curriculum Intent & Rationale
The Geography curriculum aims to provide a stimulating and rewarding geographical experience for all our students in order to become successful learners, confident individuals and responsible global citizens. Our world is changing quickly, and Geography is uniquely placed to enable students to understand the complexity of the challenges we face.
In studying Geography students develop a body of factual knowledge that will support conceptual understanding and stimulate an interest in the world. To achieve this geography teaching is based on themes that investigate physical environments, social and economic activities and the relationships that exist between people and places. In the Geography scheme of work reference is made to the local area, the United Kingdom, Europe and the wider world with studies at local, national, international and global scale. Thus, students develop a sense of their own identity, of their place in the world and empathy for other lifestyles, cultures and attitudes. Teaching strategies are in place in geography to help students develop an understanding of global responsibility and interdependence. These strategies also encourage students to develop their own opinions and attitudes.
In order to achieve this aim Geography lessons involve strategies for teaching students to ask questions and pursue a ‘route to enquiry’. A range of intellectual and practical skills is taught such as: observation, measurement, information selection, interpretation, synthesis, decision-making, and problem-solving.
Geography is highly regarded as a traditional academic subject that is included in the English Baccalaureate in Key Stage 4. The skills developed through the study of Geography develop abilities required in a range of careers such as law, environmental management, the media, business management and administration, finance, GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and medicine.
Implementing Our Curriculum
Key Stage 3
Throughout Key Stage 3 students increasingly
- Broaden and deepen their knowledge and understanding of places and themes.
- Make use of a wider and more precise geographical vocabulary.
- Analyse geographical patterns, processes and changes.
- Appreciate the interactions within and between physical and human processes.
- Appreciate that places are interdependent.
- Study a wider range of scales, places and environments.
- Apply geographical knowledge and understanding to unfamiliar contexts.
- Select and effectively use of skills to support geographical investigations.
- Appreciate the limitations of geographical information and the tentative nature of some explanations.
Students are encouraged to develop their geographical fieldwork skills during some outdoor lessons in the school grounds and a field visit to Dovedale in the Peak District in Year 8.
Key Stage 4
Useful websites for further information:
- Royal Geographical Society: why choose geography?
- RGS why it pays to choose geography
- RGS I am a geographer
Geography in Key Stage 4
The Edexcel Geography B GCSE (9-1) specification is taught. The course based on this specification enables students to build on their Key Stage 3 knowledge and to:
- Develop and extend their knowledge and understanding of locations, places, environments and processes, and of different scales, including global; and of social, political and cultural contexts (know geographical material).
- Gain understanding of the interactions between people and environments, change in places and processes over space and time, and the interrelationship between geographical phenomena at different scales and different contexts (think like a geographer)
- Develop and extend their confidence in a range of skills, including those used in fieldwork, in using maps and GIS and in researching secondary evidence, including digital sources; and develop their competence in applying sound enquiry and investigative approaches to questions and hypotheses (study like a geographer)
- Apply geographical knowledge, understanding skills and approaches appropriately and creatively to real-world contexts, including fieldwork, and to contemporary situations and issues; and develop well-evidenced arguments, drawing on their geographical knowledge and understanding (applying geography)
Students participate in field visits to Carding Mill Valley, Shropshire to investigate river processes and Broadway, Worcestershire to investigate rural issues.
Key Stage 5
Students further deepen their geographical knowledge, understanding and skills through the study of a range of contemporary physical and human themes, including tectonic processes, globalisation, geopolitics, water cycle and water insecurity and the carbon cycle and energy security.
We run field visits to investigate urban regeneration in Bristol and coastal management issues in Weston Bay.
Students undertake an investigation that involves fieldwork as part of the course. This is worth 20% of the final mark.
The department has run an exciting biannual 6 day visit to Iceland for our Geography students since 2008, and we look forward to planning another in the near future.
Students studying geography can expect to be involved in a range of different activities including preparing and giving presentations, role-plays, personal research projects, group work, debates and discussions. These help to develop a range of skills and knowledge of local, national and global issues.
Geography is all about the living, breathing essence of the world we live in. It explains the past, illuminates the present and prepares us for the future. What could be more important than that?
– Michael Palin, President of the Royal Geographical Society