Principles and purpose of the Geography curriculum
The aim of the Geography curriculum is to ensure that pupils can make sense of the world around them by understanding how the Earth has been shaped by human and physical processes, and how such processes interact. The curriculum will provide pupils with the knowledge to be able to think like geographers, empowering them to critically engage with current and future geographical debates beyond the classroom.
The Geography curriculum
The curriculum takes a thematic approach, where knowledge is acquired, developed over time, and finally applied to places via in-depth case studies.
A diverse range of places, people and environments are encountered within the curriculum which helps pupils to develop a broad and balanced view of the world. The curriculum ensures a fair representation of the places studied to avoid a single story and to broaden pupil understanding of different people, places, and environments.
The curriculum provides opportunities for pupils to share, reflect and learn about the different lived experiences for people at a local, national, and global scale. It also engages pupils with the big geographical debates of today and the future. This develops a fascination with place studies and allows pupils to take part in informed geographical conversations beyond the classroom/ curriculum.
Key Stage 3 - Geography Roadmap
Why This, Why Now?
Good Geography planning should continually ask ‘why this, why now?’. Below are some examples of the curriculum choices that have been made, particularly around curriculum sequencing:
- Example 1:
- The Development unit comes early in Year 7 and although the unit is challenging, understanding here is important for future units. For example, when looking at flood hazards (Year 7), or tectonic hazards (Year 8), pupils make links between the development level of a country and the range of impacts/ responses to hazards taken there. Also, when looking at issues such as employment structures and trade (Year 7), or population (Year 8), pupils will make links to the relationships and concepts covered from the Development unit.
- This unit also helps to develop pupils as global citizens early in their secondary geography experience, by presenting them with an alternative to the single-story representation which they may have for certain countries and continents of the world. Therefore, pupils are better prepared for informed geographical conversations beyond the classroom.
- Example 2:
- Year 8 contains the Coasts unit. This builds on the understanding pupils gained from the Year 7 Rivers unit, as key terms of erosion and deposition etc. are revisited. It also sets pupils up for future units such as Climate Change (Year 9), where pupils make links between sea-level rise and the threats to coastal areas globally. This unit ensures that pupils will know to apply their understanding to the Coasts units in Key Stage 4 and 5. Furthermore, for those that do not continue with the subject into the following Key Stage, it ensures that pupils understand the geographical conflicts and debates associated with coastal areas.
- Example 3:
- The second unit in Year 8 is Population. This unit builds on the understanding that pupils gained from the Year 7 Development unit. Pupils revisit key development indicators and then begin to understand how development can influence birth rates, death rates, and population structure. It also sets pupils up for future units, such as Life in an Emerging Country, where pupils will look at how a large youthful population can bring significant economic benefits to countries, as well as the impact of population growth on climate change, energy issues and urbanisation (all Year 9 units). As pupils move into Key Stage 4, the knowledge gained from the Population unit supports their understanding of units such as Energy, Urbanisation etc.
This unit especially encourages pupils to be global citizens, who can take part in informed geographical debates regarding the population issue beyond the classroom.