Geography Curriculum

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Due to the current situation, departmental curriculum plans are not currently available.

Here is the Cowley COVID resuming plan as an interim guide.

Curriculum aim

In Geography we aim to develop pupils’ enthusiasm for the world in which they live. We study a variety of topical topics at different scales to develop local, national and global citizens that have an awareness of current events and the impact that they have on our ever changing world. Our curriculum has been chosen to ensure pupils are equipped with knowledge about current issues facing the world around us, while also ensuring students are taught the Geographical Skills they need for the future.

It is our intention to ensure that the Geography curriculum inspires pupils to be curious and have a fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Teaching equips pupils 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 pupils progress through Cowley, their growing knowledge about the world helps 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 framework and approaches that explain how the Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and change over time. Pupils will be able to apply their understanding to new situations.

Curriculum structure

All pupils are taught the same curriculum, though it is differentiated. Many units at Key Stage 3 are taught via place studies, to develop pupil’s spatial awareness at a variety of locations. At Key stage 3 units of study are designed to build upon prior knowledge and skills and help prepare pupils for GCSE. At GCSE and A level we follow the AQA specification. All pupils are taught Geographical skills throughout all years. These skills are revisited in new situations to develop pupils’ applied understanding. There are plenty of opportunities to develop numeracy skills in classwork and fieldwork. Literacy skills are also developed with opportunities for reading and extended writing. Throughout all year groups there are plenty of opportunities to develop pupils’ recall through Geog your memory activities and knowledge tests.

In Geography we use a range of different teaching and learning strategies to ensure all pupils are challenged, engaged and enjoy Geography lessons. These include; fieldwork and decision making activities. We regularly use clips and articles from news broadcasts to ensure pupils have a current and engaging Geography curriculum.

Homework is set once a fortnight for all Key Stage 3 pupils and once a week for all GCSE and A Level pupils. A range of activities are set to support classwork, help pupils make progress and encourage independent study.

Curriculum in action

Curriculum Beyond the Classroom
Fieldwork is an integral part of the Geography department. All pupils in Key Stage 3 have the opportunity to take part in on-site fieldwork. Investigations include the college microclimate, surveying the learning environment and surveying the vegetation on green spaces.

There are two compulsory days of GCSE fieldwork during Years 10-11.

A Human Geography investigation on housing and employment in St Helens and a Physical Geography investigation on Formby sand dunes.

In Year 12 there are four compulsory fieldtrips. Three visits will equip the pupils with the skills needed to plan and carry out their own fieldtrip. Locations visited include a salt marsh on the Southport coast to investigate vegetation succession, St Helens Town Centre to look at clone towns and the local area around Cowley to investigate socio-economic factors.

Subject Expertise
The Geography department comprises four full time specialist teachers each with their own expertise and interests. All are enthusiastic about Geography and keep up to date with current events.

Staff regularly participate on Geographical forums to share ideas with colleagues in other schools.

The department is a member of the Geographical Association.

One member of the team is a GCSE exam marker for AQA.

The Head of Department regularly attends local network meetings to share good practice and leads teaching and learning sessions on delivering  GCSE.

Pupils arrive at Cowley with varied experiences of Geography. The Geography department has provided training to one feeder school on delivering fieldwork to Year 5, we hope to expand this to more feeder schools.

At Key Stage 3 the National Curriculum is delivered. This is written to help prepare pupils for their GCSE course. The AQA specification is taught at GCSE and A Level, to ensure a smooth transition. Throughout all Key Stages units of work have been designed so that there is progression in knowledge and skills.

Links are made to the world of work throughout all year groups. There are homework tasks linked to careers related to Geography in Key Stage 3. At GCSE pupils look at the new employment opportunities in the NW in the Post-Industrial Economy of the UK unit.  Year 8 pupils have benefited from a guest speaker talking about her positive experiences of studying Geography and the benefits this has brought her in the workplace.