The Geography Way
Our subject has a ‘Subject Way’ at the heart of it. Our Subject Way is designed to help students become young subject specialists. The Subject Way has two main purposes:
Firstly, to teach students the vital skills they need to achieve their full potential and gain the very best grades they can. Secondly, to teach students how each subject relates to the wider world, incorporating the life skills they will learn.
It is our belief that knowing how what you learn links to the wider world, brings a subject to life and therefore improves overall understanding and engagement.
At WPT we aim to ensure our Geography curriculum is designed to sequence learning and embed the key skills that are required to develop curious students into competent Geographers.
Our curriculum empowers students to develop their interest around a wide range of interlinking themes that expose students to a wider world beyond that of the local community. Our 5-year curriculum builds on prior learning and ensures that we nurture students’ skills for learning so they develop over time.
Geography is central to curriculum and experiential learning and enrichment. We ensure all our students who study Geography in Year 7, 8 and 9, and those who study it throughout the 5-year course, see a world beyond the classroom, community and borough. Our intention is to develop a curriculum that helps students have the world at their fingertips and develop into well-rounded human beings ready and able for the challenges of the world beyond school.
INTENTION 1 – The removal of barriers to learning
In Geography we remove barriers to learning and support students’ ability to access the curriculum through the development of literacy, numeracy, oracy skills and vocabulary acquisition.
Misconceptions do not go unchallenged and the supportive environment within each and every lesson ensures that students develop their own literacy and vocabulary in a high challenge, low fear environment.
Literacy and Vocabulary
In Geography we outline keywords and glossaries used. Key terms are highlighted using a key terms symbol to make the importance of these words clear. Reading strategies are employed as appropriate e.g. use of guided reading tasks. The Frayer Model is being embedded in schools – this can be especially helpful where EAL is a barrier to learning or reading age is low. These are used throughout each topic and used within our day to day teaching. We use a reading model and literacy symbols so students can identify reading skills required for tasks.
In Geography we embed maths skills across the curriculum. Maths skills are one of our key strands for student development: calculating, creating and interpreting using a range of math skills. This is built into our Can Do statements at KS3 and then exam specifications at KS4 and 5. We work with the Maths Department to ensure the teaching methods used for our maths skills mirror those in maths to ensure consistency for our children.
Geography provides a variety of opportunities for students to develop oracy skills within all schemes of work- discussion, debate, peer teaching and questioning. These are built into lessons as appropriate and guidance is given e.g. key term lists / speaking frames.
INTENTION 2 – Developing skills for learning
Developing student knowledge and essential learning skills go hand in hand. Students need to remember with fluency in order to be fully established mini-subject specialists. We strive, at all times, for personal excellence by developing the six key skills for success:
- Divergent thinking
As a subject we are developing five key strands of geographical skill:
- Geographical understanding- knowledge of the human and physical world
- Communication and decision making – being able to articulate understanding in a range of ways e.g. verbal/ written/ using graphs and data
- Synoptic skills – being able to use a wide range of evidence and sources within communication geographical ideas and concepts
- Map skills – developing a range of skills within both human and physical geography
- Numeracy skills – developing: calculating, creating and interpreting using a range of math
Recall activities are built into lessons across all key stages and these are highlighted to students as effective ways to help them remember more information as appropriate. These are referred to as GEOG Flashback tasks.
Evaluation is explicitly taught as a skill at KS4/5 with the use of the ‘to-what-extent-o-meter’ to guide students’ use of language to enable them to effectively evaluate.
Acronyms are consistently used across the department to build up skills e.g. PEE / PEEL / PEEEL for evaluation skills (KS3/4/5); CLOCC for map analysis; TEA and TEAML for graph analysis
Interpretation and breaking down of exam questions is supported by BUG / BUM acronyms.
INTENTION 3 – Fostering personal attributes
Our curriculum promotes the skills and attributes our children need in order to develop the independence, responsibility, accountability and resilience essential to have a happy and successful life. We refer to this crucial aspect of our curriculum intent as ‘The Way’ and it is embedded in everything we do. ‘The Way’ enables us to develop well-rounded individuals ready for the next stage. It is about embedding employability skills such as resilience, collaboration, communication, aspiration, responsibility, tolerance and respect, in order for them to be an active participant in the local community and beyond. ‘The Way’ works in tandem with the Pledges to support students’ enhancement of personal attributes.
‘The Way’ is embedded in assemblies, form periods and our extracurricular programme. It is the language that we speak and key aspects of ‘The Way’ are as follows:
- We are nice to people
- We say please and thank you
- We are equipped to learn
- We work hard
- We are prepared to make mistakes
- We listen to others
- We believe in ourselves
- We are proud of our achievements
- We take pride in our appearance
- We take responsibility for our actions
- We are ambitious
- We take risks
INTENTION 4 – Enriching student experiences and broadening their horizons
Our intention is to broaden the horizons of all our students whilst also celebrating the culture, context and traditions of the local community of which we serve. Our curriculum gives all individuals opportunities beyond a traditional mainstream education and is more ambitious than the KS3 National Curriculum. We aim to ensure there are many opportunities to enrich their cultural capital in order for them to become well-rounded human beings ready for the next stage. This aim is met through our programme of challenges, known as The Pledges. Our curriculum will include for all:
- Experiential learning through trips, visitors and guest speakers
- Hands-on experiences in and out of the classroom
- Extracurricular enrichment through activities in Geography Week and Activity Weeks
- Wider opportunities through residential, Camps International, charitable work and our Duke of Edinburgh provision
We have introduced The Pledges to work simultaneously with The Way, to foster skills and attributes our children need to be successful in life. The Pledges demand independence, resilience, and responsibility, challenging students to flourish outside of the classroom.
Key Stage 3
In Year 7, students learn about the many different interactions between people and places at different levels of development and in a variety of cultural contexts.
In Year 8, students are introduced to the world’s natural and human processes and how they intertwine with one another in a multitude of ways.
In year 9, students learn about how people interact with the physical environment.
Key Stage 4
At KS4 students follow the AQA GCSE specification. Topics include urban issues, a changing economic world, the challenge of resource management, natural hazards, the living world and physical landscapes of the UK. Geographical skills via fieldwork are also taught.
In Year 7, students learn about the many different interactions between people and places at different levels of development and in a variety of cultural contexts. They explore location and place knowledge worldwide and tackle the complex nature of rural-urban interactions in areas such as India, the USA and the UK as a whole alongside our own local setting. Students have opportunities to investigate the physical and human Geography around rivers and flooding. This unit of work exposes students to the complex nature of human and physical interactions and how these lead to consequences such as flooding, drought, water poverty and how these consequences are managed.
Students develop key Geographical skills that will ensure they are ready for their next stage of learning such as an introduction to cartography including scale, grid reference and atlas skills. In addition, they are introduced to key numerical and statistical skills that are fundamental to the well rounded Geographer. Throughout the year students are exposed to skills of greater complexity and difficulty in order to sequence skills development.
We aim to bring fieldwork into the curriculum. The students will have the opportunity to complete on-site fieldwork.