“What is knowledge worth if we know nothing about the world that sustains us, nothing about natural systems and climate, nothing about other countries and cultures?” – Jonathon Porritt

‘Fit for Life’ through Geography

The Geography curriculum at John Spence is built upon our school ethos of ‘Fit for Life’. We aim to develop passionate and articulate geographers who have the skills and knowledge to be ‘global citizens’ who inquire, and ask perceptive questions, about their local area and the wider world. We want them to be considerate and explore current and future geographical issues from a range of perspectives and have resilience when facing geographical issues.

Skills and Knowledge

We intend to provide a curriculum that pupils will enjoy learning and develop a desire to further their knowledge, skills and understanding. At Key Stage 3, through a topic based approach, the curriculum has been designed in a way that the curriculum goals become increasingly challenging. Where applicable, teachers revisit content taught previously in order to introduce new, more complex knowledge to deepen pupils’ understanding. This will evolve through a range of physical and human units and within this there will be links to local, national and global issues.

Most lessons are underpinned by key intent questions and all lessons focus on high-level geographical concepts such as, but not exclusive to, place, human and physical processes, sustainable development and interdependence. This enables pupils to make connections, draw contrasts and analyse and evaluate geographical knowledge. In addition to this, pupils develop key/life skills e.g. map skills, field work, literacy, numeracy, describing, explaining, justifying, communicating, discussing and synthesising information.

In year 7 we start with the topic ‘Making Connections’ which introduces pupils to the notion that Geography is all around them. We then move on to ‘Brazil’ and finally ‘Rivers and Flooding’ and ‘Coasts’. In year 8, we explore ‘Map Skills’, ‘Population’, ‘Glaciation and climate change’ and ‘The geography of sport’. In year 9, we begin with ‘Biomes’ and then move onto ‘Development’ before finally exploring ‘Tectonics’. When appropriate, topics incorporate elements of local geography alongside global geography. This enables pupils to see the relevance of processes through a personal lens and then apply their knowledge more accurately, to global concepts.

To support the content in KS3 lessons, all pupils follow a disciplinary reading homework schedule whereby pupils explore current geographical issues which are relevant to the topic of study.

Pupils in Key Stage 4 build upon much of what has been learned at Key Stage 3. The curriculum is delivered by interleaving human and physical modules. The human modules are Resource Management, Changing Economic World, and Urban Issues and Challenges and the physical modules are Natural Hazards, the Living World, and UK Physical Landscapes. The fieldwork element of the course reintroduces pupils to distinctive investigative tools such as maps, fieldwork and the use of data to formulate conclusions.

Communication and community

Written and verbal communication is a crucial skill to develop when studying all levels of Geography. The lessons that we deliver align with the school wide focus on literacy; pupils are exposed to ambitious texts and challenging vocabulary is explicitly taught. In a verbal and written manner, we explain and evaluate geographical knowledge and where applicable, question where it has originated from. Homework also exposes pupils to a range of current geographical issues through the vehicle of geographical literature, academic sources and credible news articles.

Through the study of geography, pupils are reminded that we belong to local, national and global communities whereby the needs of all need to be considered and valued. Fundamental British Values underpin the geography curriculum as pupils are taught the importance of community and diversity and when studying geographical concepts, they are exposed to the values of Democracy, Rule of Law, Respect and Tolerance and Individual Liberty.