Subject Leader – Geography
The Subject Way
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 Rawmarsh Community School 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 student’s 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.
How we intend to remove barriers
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.
Students are given many opportunities to read widely and often with students directed to geographical studies as well as researching independently. Pupils take part in flipped learning opportunities where they read the information and teach each other information as well as being involved in carousel activities where pupils are required to go and find out the information themselves. Students are also challenged with articles on current affairs such as natural hazards or mass migration, this allows students to use real world examples.
Numeracy is a key geographical strand and a ‘can-do’ statement stem in our KS3 curriculum. Throughout each year of the curriculum numeracy, statistical and graphical skills are sequenced to become more complex over time to ensure students build on the fundamental aspects of each one and develop their confidence and aptitude.
In order to develop their oracy within a subject specific context pupils are given opportunities to talk about their learning. Staff challenge use of geographical language and will direct pupils towards the correct terminology when appropriate. Pupils take part in flipped learning opportunities where they read the information and teach each other information as well as being involved in carousel activities where pupils are required to go and find out the information themselves. Oracy is also developed through reciprocal reading.
Students are introduced to key subject specific vocabulary and have regular opportunities to reinforce their understanding through low stakes testing. Key geographical vocabulary is highlighted to the pupils and pupils are guided to use these in questions. Key vocabulary is also introduced using the Frayer model to ensure we embed a consistent approach.
How we develop skills for learning
The Geography curriculum is designed to create mini subject specialists through the development of geographical knowledge and skills. Teachers have high expectations and strive for personal excellence through students embodying the Geography Way.
Students are given opportunities to develop their skills for learning and each and every lesson. Engaging starter activities help students to know more and remember more by challenging their ability to recall the key concepts of prior learning. Our aspiring geographers are expected to demonstrate interpretation, analysis and evaluation across the curriculum within our decision making activities. Students are presented with a variety of information and challenged to use it to be critical, analytical and divergent in their thought process in order to reach a valid hypothesis or justified opinion. These critical skills also allow students to evaluate the reliability of sources, which will help them in the real world for example with ‘news’ articles on social media.
The skills for learning process within the Geography curriculum both reinforces the key Geographical skills content and helps our students to know, remember and be able to do more at each stage of the curriculum. Skills are tested throughout the years and knowledge built on due to all the exams being at the end of Y11, so pupils are required to remember more as they go through the curriculum.
How we foster personal attributes
In Geography our curriculum intent embodies that of the school. We are committed to ensuring we do not only teach students the knowledge and skills that will help them pass examinations but we also provide them with the exposure to the wider world context in order to develop them as well rounded individuals. Our curriculum demands independence, resilience and responsibility in line with Rawmarsh Way.
Geography exposes students to different cultures, languages and experiences that broaden their horizons and demand they think of themselves as members of a local, national and global society. This also allows students to take global responsibilities. We aspire for all our students to become avid Geographers who demonstrate empathy, tolerance, understanding, aspiration and respect so they are prepared to be active citizens in the local community and beyond. We promote a high-challenge low-fear environment, where students and staff are encouraged to have a go without fear of making a mistake.
How we intend to enrich student experiences and broaden the horizons of students
Geography is a curriculum that must go beyond the classroom. To this end we broaden the horizons of all our students and enrich their experiences through a range of experiential and investigatory learning. All our students have exposure to learning beyond the traditional mainstream lesson and have opportunities to enrich their experiences. All students are entitled to experience learning beyond the classroom with fieldwork, some onsite and others off-site, depending on the year. It is also an entitlement of all students that we take time beyond the curriculum to update students on current affairs such as COP26. Whenever possible topics and lessons are linked to jobs in the real world, for example, when we look at flooding, teachers discuss flood risk management as a role and the job requirements for this, along with starting salaries.
The Geography Department also runs a David Attenborough Film Club on the first Wednesday of every month.
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.
Our Subjects at KS4