Geography is the study of Earth’s landscapes, peoples, places and environments. It is, quite simply, about the world in which we live. The Geography Department aim to teach lessons in which all students feel able, enthused and confident to participate, learn and develop their geographical skills and knowledge of the world.
Intent, Implementation and Impact
Our aim for Geography at Weatherhead is to create global citizens with an active interest and role to play in conserving and protecting the world around them. We believe that Geography helps to provoke and provide answers to questions about the natural and human aspects of the world. Students are encouraged to develop a greater understanding and knowledge of the world, as well as their place in it. The Geography curriculum at Weatherhead seeks to build upon the national curriculum at KS2, reinforcing the importance and relevance of place and the interactions between the physical and human world. This enables students to develop knowledge and skills which can and are used to promote their spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Geography is, by nature, an investigative subject, which develops an understanding of concepts, knowledge and skills .We seek to inspire in our students a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people which will remain with them for the rest of their lives; to promote interest and understanding of diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes through the delivery of substantive knowledge. This is underpinned by the inclusion of disciplinary knowledge, helping our students to ‘think like a Geographer, choosing, building on and linking knowledge together. The importance of fieldwork within the National Curriculum is reflected in our curriculum which allows students to participate in experiences outside their classroom across all KS3 year groups, developing their cultural capital. Our curriculum is designed to develop a love and passion for the subject, to develop knowledge and skills that are progressive, as well as transferable, throughout their time at Weatherhead High School, to their further education and into their adult lives.
Within Geography, we strive to create a supportive and collaborative ethos for learning by ensuring that lessons are accessible to all our learners, where differentiation and a knowledge of our students allows staff to tailor lessons to suit the needs of all who study Geography. Our Geography curriculum is high quality, well thought out and is planned to demonstrate progression. We focus on progression of knowledge and skills and discreet vocabulary progression where students will deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes and how this affects landscapes and environment, whilst mastering the subject specific language through each key stage. Our teachers have expert knowledge of the subject and our curriculum is delivered through a variety of teaching approaches as well as using a wide variety of learning and teaching resources. Students are taught the research, presentation and problem solving skills to substantiate decisions that they are asked to make. We teach geography in a planned, coherent way which is sequenced logically, ensuring that students learn and remember a rich body of geographical knowledge and acquire progressive geographical skills.
Geography content covers the substantive knowledge requirements at KS3, covering a wide range of Geography key concepts. Topics at KS3 include the study of the earth’s physical processes in topics such as ‘powerful planet’ and human processes such as ‘hungry planet ’in year 9. We address space and place knowledge through our ‘Geography spotlight’ topics which include the study of Russia, Asia and Africa, as well as addressing the interrelationships of these through topics such as ’Prisoners of Geography and Deprived world. In KS4 and 5 we follow the AQA specification for GCSE and A level, which offers students a broad, rich and diverse Geography experience. In the classroom, students will be regularly required to recall knowledge through the use of continuous AFL and application of previous knowledge. Quality homework will also aim to consolidate students’ learning and further solidify their knowledge and understanding, helping them to master the subject. PLcs are used to ensure mastery of the subject content, helping students embed knowledge and develop their understanding, not simply memorise disconnected facts. Teachers will regularly use assessment to check students’ understanding and correct any misconceptions, helping students to develop the ability to access examinations and use knowledge appropriately. Feedback, retrieval and assessment will be prioritised in class. Expectations of students will be high and challenges will underpin each lesson. Teachers will deliver content to the highest ability, supporting others to access the curriculum through effective use of support staff and differentiation to enable all to be successful and make progress in Geography. Students will be supported to develop their literacy and oracy will play a key part in Geography lessons. Opportunities to engage in conversation, sharing ideas and opinions through the use of structured oracy. Students will be encouraged to speak like a Geographer, when staff will challenge poor oracy in verbal answers and model expected verbal interactions. Quality homework will underpin the Geography curriculum and all key stages. Homework will be meaningful and offer quality tasks that help students to build on content taught, apply their knowledge or to complete retrieval tasks.
All students who study Geography at Weatherhead will make good progress and be supported to achieve their attainment grades. Geography progress measures at KS4 have been significantly positive for the last 3 years demonstrating that pupils achieve well above average in the subject. This is reflected in the popularity of the subject in the options selected in year 9, with large cohort numbers starting their GCSE studies each year. More recently, this trend has been reflected in the high popularity of the subject at KS5 with many students continuing their Geography studies onto A-level, demonstrating a measurable impact.
Our well-constructed, well-taught curriculum will lead to students who are equipped with the knowledge and skills to be a global citizen, who recognise their place in the world and have a desire to play an active role in their community, using subject knowledge that is highly relevant to many of the challenges facing society and the environment today. This has been reflected in the number of applications received across all key stages to become a member of the schools Eco Club. We now have a number of representatives from each year group working towards our Silver Eco schools award after successfully achieving the bronze award in 2019.
As students progress through the rich and diverse curriculum content, they will not only broaden their understanding of the subject, they will master many transferable skills for their next stage of education, training and employment: communication skills (presentation, writing, debating), teamwork, problem solving and IT skills.
By the time students complete their Geography learning journey they should:
- Have an excellent knowledge of where places are and what they are like.
- Have an excellent understanding of the ways in which places are interdependent and interconnected and how much human and physical environments are interrelated.
- Have an extensive base of geographical knowledge and vocabulary.
- Be fluent in complex, geographical enquiry and the ability to apply questioning skills and use effective analytical and presentational techniques.
- Have the ability to reach clear conclusions and develop a reasoned argument to explain findings.
- Have significant levels of originality, imagination or creativity as shown in interpretations and representations of the subject matter.
- Have highly developed and frequently utilised fieldwork and other geographical skills and techniques.
- Have a passion for and commitment to the subject, and a real sense of curiosity to find out about the world and the people who live there.
- Have the ability to express well-balanced opinions, rooted in very good knowledge and understanding about current and contemporary issues in society and the environment.