Intent and Aims
The intent of the Geography course is to equip the learners to understand their place and individual responsibilities in the global world. It is about understanding how the natural and human world works and how they interact to cause environmental change. We recognise that due to the many feeder schools that students arrive from, they will have a varied geography experience from Key stage 2 so the first topic in year 7 will be to establish a foundation of skills as “beginner” geographers and develop an understanding of the types and themes of Geography. We organise the topics into 3 main broad themes of Place, Patterns/Processes and Environment in Key stage 3 and deliver these through a range of places, scales and contexts which then feed into Key stages 4 and 5. The students will then continue to develop the functional, and personal skills to process information in a geographical way. Furthermore, the intent is to enable students to think like a Geographer and make sense of the world by understanding the patterns and processes that operate within it over different scales and time. Students will also be able to make geographical decisions to formulate a plan to improve the world around them to help create a more sustainable future. Finally, we must make sure that we equip our students with the understanding of Geography and skills to support academic success and excellence at Key stages 4, 5 and beyond.
- Develop a bank of essential Geographical knowledge and skills so our students think like a Geographer.
- Develop a sense of awe and wonder about the world and a willingness to find out more.
- Develop an understanding of the patterns and processes that operate in the world.
- Develop an understanding of the importance of Physical and Human Geography in everyday life.
- Equip our students with functional and personal skills to investigate the Geography around them and achieve excellence through academic and personal success.
- Provide opportunities for our students to see how they are linked to other parts of the world and develop a sense of service for the community and personal responsibility.
- Use maps and technology to find the locations of places in the world.
- Formulate an answer to a geographical question with an order/direction and using extended geographical vocabulary
- Select the most appropriate information (prioritising) to solve geographical problems
- Use a range of written and numeric information to make and support a geographical decision
- Select and use the most appropriate graphical techniques to present evidence on maps/diagrams
- Use atlases, globes and maps at a range of scales (including 1:25,000 OS maps)
- Identifying the locations of key Places and features in the world from maps at different scales/types
- Draw and use maps at a range of scales using symbols, compass directions, keys and scales
- Select and use a range of secondary sources of evidence including photos, satellite imagery and ICT
Observing and recording information
- Undertake enquiry by formulating geographical questions.
- Suggesting appropriate sequences of investigation.
- Collect, record and present evidence appropriate to the task and audience.
- Analyse and evaluate evidence including the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and produce justified conclusions.
- Problem solving
- Use of technology
Students will understand these by the end of year 9 (lessons should meet these concepts):
- The Geography of the world can be shown in patterns which are not random.
- The patterns in Geography result from the interaction of a number of processes.
- Geography patterns and knowledge can be structured and managed as Human or physical and the interaction between the two can be environmental.
- Geography patterns and processes and Places operate at different scales (Global to Micro).
- Geography processes operate over hugely different time scales, some of which are no longer active or can be seen.
- That Places may have similar and different characteristics and they are interdependent.
- Humans can change Geography processes and patterns.
- The actions of humans can have unintended consequences at a range of scales.
- Decisions in human geography reflect the relative power of different groups of people and can reflect economic and political decisions.
- That we need to live in a more Sustainable world as the resources are finite or renewable.
- The way people and animals live reflect how they adapt to the world around them.
- The process of migration reflects the relative desirability of places.
- Develop and extend their knowledge 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 in different contexts (think like a geographer).
- Develop and extend their competence in a range of skills, including those used in fieldwork, in using maps and Geographical Information Systems (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).
- Develop their knowledge of locations, places, processes and environments, at all geographical scales from local to global across the specification as a whole.
- Develop an in-depth understanding of the selected core and non-core processes in physical and human geography at a range of temporal and spatial scales, and of the concepts that illuminate their significance in a range of locational contexts.
- 3Recognise and be able to analyse the complexity of people–environment interactions at all geographical scales, and appreciate how they underpin understanding of some of the key issues facing the world today.
- Develop their understanding of, and ability to apply, the concepts of place, space, scale and environment, that underpin both the national curriculum and GCSE, including developing a more nuanced understanding of these concepts.
- Gain understanding of specialised concepts relevant to the core and non-core content. These must include the concepts of causality, systems, equilibrium, feedback, inequality, representation, identity, globalisation, interdependence, mitigation and adaptation, sustainability, risk, resilience and thresholds.
- Improve their understanding of the ways in which values, attitudes and circumstances have an impact on the relationships between people, place and environment, and develop the knowledge and ability to engage, as citizens, with the questions and issues arising (‘circumstances’ in this case refers to the context of people's lives, and the socio-economic and political milieu in which they find themselves).
- Become confident and competent in selecting, using and evaluating a range of quantitative and qualitative skills and approaches, (including observing, collecting and analysing geolocated data) and applying them as an integral part of their studies.
- Understand the fundamental role of fieldwork as a tool to understand and generate new knowledge about the real world, and become skilled at planning, undertaking and evaluating fieldwork in appropriate situations.
- Apply geographical knowledge, understanding, skills and approaches in a rigorous way to a range of geographical questions and issues, including those identified in fieldwork, recognising both the contributions and limitations of geography
- Develop as critical and reflective learners, able to articulate opinions, suggest relevant new ideas and provide evidenced argument in a range of situations.
- Build on knowledge of contexts, locations, places and environments, by extending the scope and scale of study, the variety of physical, social, economic, cultural and political contexts encountered, the depth of conceptual understanding required, and the range of spatial and temporal scales included.
- Develop a deep understanding of both physical and human processes, applying this understanding to interrogate people–environment interactions and people–place connections at all scales from local to global.
- Build on and reinforce conceptual understanding underpinning GCSE, experiencing an extended demand that includes a wider range of more complex and specialised concepts that relate to the core and non-core content.
- Engage with models, theories and generalisations, and develop a mature understanding of the nature and limitations of objectivity and the significance of human values and attitudes.
- Develop understanding of the rationale for, and applications of, skills and approaches used, showing a considerable degree of independence in selecting and using a wide range of geographical methods, techniques and skills, involving both qualitative and quantitative methods.
- Undertake fieldwork that encourages them to apply and evaluate theory in the real world, and that A Level fieldwork in particular demands a high degree of responsibility from students for selecting research questions, applying relevant techniques and skills, and identifying appropriate ways of analysing and communicating findings.
Our programmes of study
In Years 7 to 9, the topics are organised and taught within the 3 main themes in Geography at Moulton school of Place, Patterns and Processes and Environment. Within each year, each theme is covered twice with the topics to enable opportunities for reinforcement and progression for the students. The 3 themes are introduced in year 7 before being expanded and developed through the rest of Key stage 3. To enable a deep understanding both teachers and students will understand the learning journey that is being followed so the termly themes and key concepts in each lesson are emphasised and reinforced. A focus on the Key skills are at the centre of our curriculum and so that the students can continue their progression from beginner geographers in year 7 and equip them to continue their journey into Key stage 4 and beyond. Each lesson has a learning objective phrased as a “big question” to enable a clear understanding of the intents and purpose of the lesson and progress to be measured.
To ensure a broad and ambitious curriculum the topics are chosen to cover the geographical knowledge, approaches, concepts and skills from the national curriculum along with the cultural capital that we have identified within the department. We also update the topics to use up-to- date events/thinking/case studies to reflect the ever-changing nature of the Geography topic and bring the Geography that is going on around the students at the time to be brought into the classroom.
The personal skills are developed utilising a range of teaching and learning strategies. These skills are clear and referred to at the start of each lesson.
To support disadvantaged students the lessons will use a variety of teaching techniques along with differentiated tasks and strategies. These include scaffolding, sentence starters etc. We also carefully choose the content/resources used to hook/engage and support all students.
Literacy is taught through the emphasis in lessons and feedback on the use of key geographical terminology at key stage 3. This is further developed through the use of longer write answers that enable progress to be demonstrated against the Big question learning objective. Literacy is further reinforced through Key term spelling tests.
Each unit is assessed in a formal end of unit test (QMA). To support students, they engage in revision and the assessments will follow a similar format to reflect a range of smaller and more extended writing answers. Feedback will use the SWAN’s sheet to identify strengths, weaknesses and then the Next Steps students must follow to improve. Students will demonstrate this through the use of green pen feedback.
At Key stage 4 we follow the Edexcel Geography B GCSE course. As a department we felt that this choice was engaging and relevant to the Moulton geographers. It is a qualification that enables our students to explore the world, the issues it faces and their own place in it, and to help prepare them to succeed in their chosen pathway. It also draws upon the experience of the department that had used this exam board previously and have been exam markers in. The department aims to continue to build from the foundation in Key stage 3 to produce the competent geographer in year 10 and the proficient geographer by year 11. The course is broken down into 3 papers and progress will be made in both the knowledge and understanding and skills developed across the course.
Paper 1 - Global Geographical Issues
- Topic 1: Hazardous Earth
- Topic 2: Development dynamics
- Topic 3: Challenges of an Urbanising World
Paper 2 - UK Geographical Issues
- Topic 4: The UK’s evolving physical landscape – including sub-topics 4A: Coastal change and conflict and 4B: River processes and pressures.
- Topic 5: The UK’s evolving human landscape – including a Case Study - Dynamic UK cities.
- Topic 6: Geographical investigations – including one physical fieldwork investigation (Rivers) and one human fieldwork investigation (Urban study) linked to Topics 4 and 5.
Paper 3 - People and Environment Issues – Making Geographical Decisions
- Topic 7: People and the biosphere
- Topic 8: Forests under threat
- Topic 9: Consuming energy resources
We take a Paper approach to the course, where we teach the Topics in order and this enables many opportunities to spiral the learning and revisit the topics. Regular re-visiting of topics enables us as a department to support our students in their knowledge recall and to consolidate and embed the different skills required of different units. When timetabling allows we try to keep to one teacher for each class across Key stage 4. This means that the relationship between staff and students can be maximised for effective accountability and focussed personalised interventions.
To enable more recall and retrieval of knowledge and development of the geographical skills, each lesson starter which will be a “GEOG your memory”. This focusses the students on recalling some content from the previous lesson, earlier within this current topic and from older topics along with a geographical skill task. Students' personal skills are developed by highlighting the relevance of geography skills to the wider world of employment but also through empathy with the places, patterns/processes and environment that we study.
To support all students, we provide revision sessions for assessments, revision booklets for the 3 papers, topic overview booklets which are more specifically to support our disadvantaged students which contain the basic key knowledge, flipped learning booklets to develop exam technique and exam question lists. Students are also given Personal Learning Checklists (PLC’s) to enable students to see the progress in each topic and to encourage them to become more independent learners by engaging in the development of their own self-reflection for revision.
Literacy is taught through a variety of approaches including 8-mark question practise and homework booklets, peer/self-marking of 8 marker exam questions and feedback that models planning grids and next steps that focus on the command words of assessing/evaluation. Each unit is assessed in a formal end of unit test (QMA) which is exam question driven. To support students, these QMAs are preceded with whole class or group revision to think about, plan and discuss the key knowledge needed. Exam questions are also used as lesson tasks and plenaries.
At key stage 5, we continue to follow the Edexcel geography A level and aim to complete the journey of our geographers with them becoming advanced Geographers in year 12 and Expert geographers by the end of year 13. This qualification builds from the fundamentals built from the themed approach of Key stage 3 (Place, Patterns/processes and Environment) and enables students to be inspired by their geographical understanding, to engage critically with real world issues and places, and to apply their geographical knowledge, theory and skills to the world around them. Students will grow as independent thinkers and as informed and engaged citizens, who understand the role and importance of geography as one of the key disciplines relevant to understanding the world’s changing peoples, places and environments.
The course is broken down into 4 components:
Paper 1 – Physical Geography
- Area of Study 1, Topic 1: Tectonic Processes and Hazards
- Area of Study 1, Topic 2: Landscape Systems, Processes and Change – 2B: Coastal Landscapes and Change
- Area of Study 3, Topic 5: The Water Cycle and Water Insecurity
- Area of Study 3, Topic 6: The Carbon Cycle and Energy Security
Paper 2 – Human Geography
- Area of Study 2, Topic 3: Globalisation
- Area of Study 2, Topic 4: Shaping Places – 4A Regenerating Places
- Area of Study 4, Topic 7: Superpowers
- Area of Study 4, Topic 8: Global Development and Connections - 8B Migration, Identity and Sovereignty
Paper 3 – Synoptic themes
- A synoptic investigation will be based on a Geographical issue within a place-based context that links to the three synoptic themes and is rooted in two or more of the compulsory content areas.
Coursework: Independent Investigation
A Non-Examined Assessment where students define a question or issue for investigation and produce a written report of 3000–4000 words relating to either Coasts (physical) or Regeneration/urban studies (human).
The content is delivered by 3 teachers to make use of developing expertise in the topic areas and to ensure we can offer the depth of understanding and rigours necessary to aim for excellence in both the learning experience and outcomes. As the course is delivered by 3 teachers, this enables the students to have a range of teaching and learning experiences which is fundamental to developing the independent learner that A Level demands.
We have a logical approach where we cover 3 of the 4 physical and human topics (Papers 1 and 2) in Year 12 alongside starting off the NEA investigation. This enables opportunities for a spiralling of learning where we can regularly revise, review and apply the understanding from the start of Year 12 and gradually build up to almost full papers by the end of the year. The skills developed in Year 12 enable a more successful NEA which is started in Year 12 but the more demanding analysis and conclusions sections are completed in Year 13. In Year 13, the final 2 topics are completed along with the NEA and the synoptic paper is covered which draws on knowledge from the core topics covered through Papers 1 and 2. This also provides an opportunity to review, revisit and apply their understanding of the course and get the students exam ready.
Our aim is to produce the expert Geographer, so we want our Geographers to develop individual responsibility for their learning and become independent learners. This is achieved throughout the course, through the use of the students organising their own files, using Personal Learning Checklists (PLCs) to organise notes and revision, regular opportunities to respond to feedback and self and peer marking to name a few. Furthermore, a priority should be for students to undertake independent research to keep up to date with the news and produce topical “as it happens” case studies and events.
In order to support our students, lessons are organised with clear learning objectives, incorporate a range of teaching and learning approaches and in particular the students can support each other through discussions and peer and self-marking. We provide revision guides and sessions for the students and encourage them to also purchase a revision guide/textbook to enable some support for their home learning. We also make use of SENECA and set up Google Classrooms where all of the lessons can be found. This enables our students to go back and reinforce their understanding, fill any gaps, address any misconceptions and catch up if a lesson has been missed.
Literacy in Geography is developed through the use of longer essay style exam questions and the NEA. We aim to develop our students as critical and reflective learners, able to articulate opinions, suggest relevant new ideas and provide evidenced arguments in a range of situations. Exam style questions and the NEA components require different literacy skills. For the exam questions we use key word glossaries, exam question practise and encourage the students to read each other’s answers and provide examples of model answers and exam board feedback so that the students can get to grips with the requirements for this element. In the NEA, we use checklists for each section and again use past examples, mark schemes and exam board feedback to provide a platform where our students can excel in their NEA.