Curriculum Statement – Geography

Lead teacher: Mr D Martin

Purpose of study

A high-quality geography education inspires in students a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Our curriculum will equip 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. As students progress, their growing knowledge about the world should help them to deepen their understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments. Geographical knowledge, understanding and skills provide the frameworks and approaches that explain how the Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and change over time


Our curriculum for geography aims to ensure that all students:

  • Develop contextual knowledge of the location of globally significant places – both terrestrial and marine – including their defining physical and human characteristics and how these provide a geographical context for understanding the actions of processes
  • Understand the processes that give rise to key physical and human geographical features of the world, how these are interdependent and how they bring about spatial variation and change over time
  • Develop in the geographical skills needed to:
  • collect, analyse, and communicate with a range of data gathered through experiences of fieldwork that deepen their understanding of geographical processes
  • interpret a range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes, aerial photographs, and Geographical Information Systems (GIS)
  • communicate geographical information in a variety of ways, including through maps, numerical and quantitative skills and writing at length

There is significant variability in how primary schools approach teaching geography at KS2 and our students enter secondary school with wide ranging experiences, knowledge, understanding and skills. At KS2, students generally learn about location and place and have limited knowledge and understanding of the wider world and global issues. This is evident in the national curriculum frame work for KS2 but also in baseline assessments and targeted questioning at the beginning of KS3. The geography curriculum aims to broaden horizons, with students being required to think like a ‘geographer,’ learn data processes, learn, and understand their place within the world and their responsibility as citizens within their communities, nationally and as citizens of the world. To accomplish this students need to gain a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of their place within the human and physical world. Students need to develop a wide range of skills within geography at KS3 and 4 such as cartographical, graphical, data analysis and the ability to write at length using disciplinary literacy.

To be a geographer is to be curious about the world in which you live, to have a deep understanding of your place in the world and to recognise the complexity and interconnectedness of the distinct aspects and issues ongoing in the world around you. Building upon the variability at KS2, students have opportunities to connect their personal experiences with the world around them and thus deepen their understanding. The curriculum has been designed to recognise and build upon their substantive knowledge through the 4 key concepts outlined in the national curriculum; locational knowledge, place and understanding, knowledge of environmental, physical, and human process and geographical skills to further their disciplinary skill set. Through the development of map reading skills, graphical and cartographical skills, statistical analysis, and extended writing students’ progress to being able to articulate solutions to the issues that need to be addressed at different scales; locally, nationally, and globally. In order to think and write like a geographer, they also need to know subject specific vocabulary, develop evaluation skills, and develop the ability to articulate their findings, knowledge, and solutions in writing.

The curriculum carefully considers the balance between the different components in geography and their prior knowledge. In Year 7 and 8 students, build on their knowledge and understanding of place and location so they can use a variety of different geographical skills to describe, explain and analyse physical, environmental, and human issues and processes and begin to understand how they are all connected.

Developing this further in KS4 we build upon the foundational knowledge in KS3, by developing more complex skills so that they can effectively evaluate physical, environmental, and human issues and are able to offer solutions. For example, in KS3 students learn about the development gap, using choropleth maps and data to identify the disparities in development between HIC’s, LIC’s and NEE’s and why they exist. In KS4 our focus turns individual countries such the UK and Nigeria, with students learning how the development gap can be reduced and how those countries have changed by using more complex graphical skills such as population pyramids and the demographic transition model. Subject specific terminology is embedded throughout the curriculum. All the themes in the curriculum are linked to reflect the interconnectedness of geography. The curriculum builds in opportunities for fieldwork as this consolidates the knowledge and skills they have developed in the classroom.

When designing our curriculum, we have considered the individual needs of our students. To ensure that students with SEND have the opportunity to develop the same knowledge and skills as their peers, we adopt a range of strategies within the classroom such as scaffolding and tiered questioning. This enables students to develop confidence as well as the knowledge and skills they need to progress.

All lessons have an element of formative assessment to ensure that misconceptions are addressed quickly. At the end of each topic and at the end of each year, assessments test substantive and disciplinary knowledge and, where necessary, the curriculum is adapted to ensure that misconceptions and gaps in knowledge and skills are addressed and ensure that all students are making progress.