“A high-quality geography education should inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives.”
Taken from the KS3 National Curriculum, this is the quote that best sums up our approach to the Geography curriculum at Addeys. We strive to engage our students with the world around them at a range of scales and provide all geographers with a set of tools to understand and critically evaluate an ever changing planet. All areas of the curriculum are designed to encourage our young geographers to develop their own voice and develop a deeper understanding of their own role as a global change maker.
The content covered across KS3 and KS4 at Addeys equips students with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. The challenge for our urban school is for students to learn to connect with the natural world and understand the interconnectivity of the human and physical world that they inhabit. One goal of Geography at Addeys is to encourage environmental stewardship by educating students to understand sustainability and the role they themselves play on the future of the planet and its systems. They must feel empowered to make positive changes and compelled to do so out of a love of the world around them, not through fear or force. The primary goal is to ensure that the love of the subject is fostered in all students within a geography classroom.
Contextual world knowledge - Extend their locational knowledge and deepen their spatial awareness of the world’s countries using maps of the world to focus on Africa, Russia, Asia (including China and India), and the Middle East, focusing on their environmental regions, including polar and hot deserts, key physical and human characteristics, countries and major cities. Understand geographical similarities, differences and links between places through the study of human and physical geography of a region within Africa, and of a region within Asia.
Geographical understanding - Understand, through the use of detailed place-based exemplars at a variety of scales, the key processes in:
•physical geography relating to: geological timescales and plate tectonics; rocks, weathering and soils; weather and climate, including the change in climate from the Ice Age to the present; and glaciation, hydrology and coasts
•human geography relating to: population and urbanisation; international development; economic activity in the primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary sectors; and the use of natural resources
•understand how human and physical processes interact to influence, and change landscapes, environments and the climate; and how human activity relies on effective functioning of natural systems
Geographical skills and enquiry - Build on their knowledge of globes, maps and atlases and apply and develop this knowledge routinely in the classroom and in the field. Interpret Ordnance Survey maps in the classroom and the field, including using grid references and scale, topographical and other thematic mapping, and aerial and satellite photographs. Use Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to view, analyse and interpret places and data. Use fieldwork in contrasting locations to collect, analyse and draw conclusions from geographical data, using multiple sources of increasingly complex information.
In Geography we aim to always provide our students with a calm, purposeful working environment where everyone feels safe to share ideas. We promote debate and discussion which means students get to develop their self-confidence and deepen their understanding through class work activities, independently and with peers. We cultivate a respect of the academic challenge at the heart of their learning in order to promote ambition and confidence. Students can expect a wide range of activities in their Geography lessons ranging from role play, team challenges, computer based simulations, decision making exercised all the way to bookwork, essay writing, and independent research projects.
Fieldwork is an integral part of a Geography curriculum and all students take part in local enquiry led projects. We continue to work on building in enrichment opportunities beyond the classroom that show case content being covered (e.g. optional trip to a river study centre). At KS4 there are two compulsory fieldwork days in Stratford and North Kent. Each year we offer an optional residential opportunity for GSCE geographers. In the past we have visited Dorset, Devon and Surrey.
We run a range of well attended extra-curricular activities throughout the year in order to develop their Geography and wider Humanities experience. We take students to museums, events and places that showcase ideas in the real world. This year we have been to the Migration Museum, London’s Southbank and the Houses of Parliament. We have also made links with the Duke of Edinburgh programme and assisted with the Geographical elements such as map skills, compass skills and a love of nature. To echo this, we run a weekly KS3 club for Geographers interested in camp craft and hiking. We will continue to listen to what our students want and strive to create the opportunities for excellent Geographers to grow in and out of the classroom.
Students at Addeys will have 3 hours of Geography a fortnight at KS3. It is an option subject and students will be asked to select at the end of Year 9. All students will complete the three year programme of study laid out below and developed based on the KS3 National Curriculum. This curriculum develops contextual knowledge, helps students to understand processes that are shaping the physical and human world, and seeks to demonstrate how spatial patterns can change over time as a result.
Importantly, KS3 is also where we build the strong foundations of geographical skills. Geography students are taught to use a wide range of sources of geographical information in lessons, for example graphs, aerial photographs, OS maps. They are required throughout the course to communicate geographical information back, again this could be through a wide range of mediums such as choropleth mapping, constructing scattergraphs or through extended writing. Finally, the course aims to develop the core skill of fieldwork where students will be expected to set a geographical question, collect and communicate primary and secondary data, analyse and make valid conclusions based on their findings. It is through this enquiry led learning that students can engage more deeply with the local area and contextualise a range of geographical issues within their own space.
Students who select the course at GCSE receive 6 hours a fortnight of teaching. We follow the AQA course which further builds on the content and skills set out across KS3. There are three papers in the GCSE course which echo the KS3 provision and means that our students find the transition more manageable as they all come with deep foundations in knowledge and skills. Paper one is about Physical Geography, Paper two is Human Geography and Paper three is Geographical skills. The full list of content and skills are detailed here: https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/geography/gcse/geography-8035/specification-at-a-glance
This course was chosen due to its robust academic nature which will allow Addey’s Geographers to proceed to A-Level courses of study smoothly.
Fieldwork is a compulsory element of the course and students are given at least two opportunities to carry out enquiry led learning beyond the classroom in contrasting environments, e.g. regeneration of Stratford through the Olympics and coastal management along the North Kent coast. Residential fieldwork is an option by negotiation with the cohort and dependent on cost.
Assessment at KS4 is designed with the preparation for national examinations in mind, this means there is a greater emphasis on summative testing. There are three school wide PPEs written into the provision. We also use a ‘growing exam’ model where students start with one unit test but each time they complete another unit we test that plus one other. This ensures that content is being revised throughout the two year course. Students are also given exam technique training and further intervention is offered to students who are making limited progress. All students are trained to use examiner mark schemes and past papers in order to ensure their own success. Assessment Objectives 1-4 are integrated into the teaching and students are made aware of when these are being focussed on.