Head of Department – Miss R Smith
Curriculum Intent, Implementation and Impact in Geography
Introduction to subject
Geography teaching follows the National Curriculum. The Geography department is the window to our changing world. From our small corner of St Martin’s we can glimpse and then study in-depth issues such as the local and global environments, weather, where and how we live, issues of sustainability and global issues such as natural hazards and climate change. Our lessons also take inspiration from current events such as the Russia/Ukraine conflict, migration and the history of the Palestine/Israel conflict. Our students investigate plastic in our oceans and the disappearing rainforests looking at the human and physical impacts of this across the world.
Why is the study of Geography important?
- To provide students with the skills to understand our changing world.
- To be able to discuss and debate on issues that will/do concern their futures.
- To be able to read and analyse maps, graphs and data information.
- To be able to use geographical language.
- To encourage extended writing skills.
- To highlight the importance of critical thinking and be able to question their opinions.
- To understand that our world is physically changing and how this impacts us.
- To understand the human development of the world and the impacts this has socially, economically and environmentally.
- To look at the past history of the planet through science and historical information.
- To know the structure of the Earth and how this impacts environments.
How does the study of Geography develop your skills, knowledge and understanding?
- Fieldtrips out of school and within the school grounds to develop an awareness of our surroundings and how they are/were created and are changing.
- Basic geography skills incorporated into schemes of work (SOW) such as map reading, grid references and lines of latitude/longitude.
- Use of IT skills to encourage independent learning/research and write up skills.
- Use of data to encourage maths in geography including mean, mode and median.
- Regional, national and global scale concepts using London, UK and Russia as some of our examples.
- Incorporating the physical and human cause and effect theory in geography.
- Enquiry based work to search for a deeper understanding in geographical matters.
How are students assessed in Geography?
- Students are assessed at the end of each unit of work at Key Stage 3. Assessments are in the format of a GCSE Geography exam paper.
- Students are given retrieval/recall tasks throughout units of work, within lessons, to help maintain their understanding of current and previous topics.
- At Key Stage 4 students are assessed mid term and at the end of each term. Retrieval questions are incorporated into these assessments to help recall information from previous units of work as well as the current units they are working on.
- At Key Stage 5 we assess through exam questions, assessment and retrieval tasks. These are done on a regular basis, weekly, fortnightly and end of unit.
- Books are marked regularly to assess classwork.
All students complete reflection and correction tasks in respect of their assessments to help improve for future assessing.
What does the curriculum plan for Geography look like?
The curriculum at Key Stage 3 follows the National Curriculum. It incorporates a variety of topics that are both current and relevant but also looks at the past and future to recognise the changes occurring across the world.
The curriculum at Key Stage 4 follows the AQA Geography specification over a two-year period.
The curriculum at Key Stage 5 follows the Edexcel A-level course over a two-year period.
How does Geography support learning in other areas of the curriculum?
Our topics of work at all stages and especially at Key Stage 3 support a vast range of subjects to encourage skills for future development in any area of study.
We encourage ‘SPAG’ (spelling, punctuation and grammar) and extended writing tasks throughout our lessons to support literacy skills.
Many of our topics allow for science-based themes to be included i.e. biology.
Throughout our schemes of work, we cover different cultures, religions and key terms that support the learning of PRE, deepening and widening the knowledge of diversity.
At Key Stage 3, 4 and 5 we use many forms of mathematical skills including graphs, charts, averages, mean, mode, medium and at a higher-level statistical analysis in the form of Spearmans Rank, Chi Squared etc.
We have lessons based around IT to encourage experience with research and creating data presentation techniques, GIS images and other programme skills such PowerPoint and Word.
How can students extend and deepen their knowledge in Geography?
Students are given many opportunities for independent research which allows them to create projects and fact files on subjects related to the topics we cover. We also encourage students to attend fieldtrips where we can give them the experience of seeing different environments both human and physical to coincide with their classroom learning.
We encourage the reading of newspapers, watching media events/documentaries and news stories to further their knowledge on subjects that interest them but ones that fit into their units of work.
How does Geography link to the world of work?
Geography is a broad-based subject that allows students to grow into global citizens that have a good understanding of how the world works considering human and physical aspects. The knowledge acquired through geography lessons brings an understanding of how to be empathetic towards others of all ethnicities, cultures and backgrounds. It gives a wider insight into how the economy works and how inequality around the world is not just for the developing countries. The understanding of how we interact with our world gives students a good grounding for being confident and articulate in worldly matters that employers are encouraged by and respect.
How does Geography link to the three strands of our core values?
Learning For The Future
Outstanding Personal Achievement
In geography we link to the National Curriculum which identifies ‘British Values’. Our schemes of work encourage mutual respect through understanding and educating, respect of everyone no matter what background they are from and tolerance towards everyone no matter what their opinions are.
Learning about how the world is changing and how we will need to adapt and mitigate future scenarios such as climate change, are deeply imbedded into our lessons. We are constantly updating and introducing a broad variety of new topics that are both current and looking to the future. We always encourage positivity but honesty in what the future may hold.
This is done through personal target setting which allows students to know where their strengths and weaknesses are. Progress can be made through following challenge tasks to encourage higher thinking. It is also always promoted in geography, that inclusion and diversity are things to celebrate, and in turn this will help our students achieve for the future.
In geography, we promote a shared language for learning across the curriculum. Retrieval practice is utilised at all key stages featuring as tasks to start the lesson, plenaries and homework pieces. This retrieval tests prior knowledge from different areas and key stages, focusing on key words, geographical skills and geographical processes that interlink these different topics. Students are given the learning intentions at the start of each lesson and at KS4 and KS5, are also shown which aspects of the exam specification these relate to. Throughout the lesson, these intentions are reviewed through questioning, mini plenaries and final plenaries. Often in geography, we give students a question or scenario that requires students to analyse the situation and suggest solutions using skills or examples from previous topics. Strategies such as “think > pair > share” support this as students can draw upon a range of different examples. Another common approach to check understanding is “cold calling” which encourages students to develop a growth mindset, especially as questions are bounced back to add depth where necessary.
Written feedback is a strength for geography, with students being given regular opportunities to engage in DIRT time (dedicated improvement and reflection time). Students are able to read personalised feedback before reflecting on their own progress and improving their work. Their feedback will almost always include an EBI (even better if) task or question that students are to respond to and work on in green pen. This allows students to not only reflect and improve on feedback at the time it is given, but also easily spot and avoid their previous mistakes when looking through their work. In doing so, students are also shown that making mistakes is a necessary part of learning and can act as a great platform for future development. This DIRT process helps to complete the feedback loop as the targets set are referred to in future tasks and assessments.
THRIVE skills (teamwork, honesty, resilience, independence, versatility and empathy) are a crucial underlying feature of the geography curriculum. They are referred to during every lesson but also used when providing feedback. This supports the personal development of our students to have not only good academic achievement, but also qualities that will help them after education. Resilience and versatility are key in geography due to the dynamic nature of the topics we cover. There are a vast range of skills and contexts required in both the human and the physical aspects of the subject, teaching students to be flexible in the way that they apply their current understanding to new information and are open to tackling unfamiliar scenarios to become great problem solvers. As we study different global problems, our students are also supported to develop their empathy, considering the impact of their own actions as well as others. We are committed as a department, to creating an ethos of inclusivity and tolerance. Students are also encouraged to work independently both in lessons and outside of the classroom, as well as being provided with opportunities to function in groups and work effectively as a team. The geography department encourages students to give back; several students in year 12 are mentors to younger students or support KS3 and KS4 classes in their learning.
By the end of year 9, all students have had the chance to sample the skills and topics covered within the GCSE content and geography remains one of the most popular subjects at GCSE and A-level. Those who do continue their geography journey into KS4 and KS5 gain a wealth of transferrable skills such as; analysis of dynamic global problems and solutions; the ability to conduct and present their own investigations; a variety of geographical skills utilising maps, data and measuring equipment; as well as the ability to work independently or collaboratively. Geography is a broad-based subject that allows students to grow into global citizens that have a good understanding of how the world works considering human and physical aspects. The knowledge acquired through geography lessons brings an understanding of how to be empathetic towards others of all ethnicities, cultures and backgrounds. It gives a wider insight into how the economy works and how inequality around the world is not just for the developing countries. The understanding of how we interact with our world gives students a good grounding for being confident and able to articulate in worldly matters that employers are encouraged by and respect, showing how important cultural capital is for us all. In addition, a number of students choose to study Geography at post 18, including at Russell Group Universities and Oxbridge. A significant number also go on to study or have careers in related subjects, such as Law, International Relations or Environmental Science. Our results at both GCSE and A-level are consistently in line with or above national averages.