Head of Subject: Mr B. Kingswood / Miss E. Rowley
The aim of geography is to develop student's curiosity and fascination about the world around them. This is achieved by equipping students with knowledge about diverse places, resource consumption as well as a deeper understanding of the Earth’s key human and physical processes. As students progress, a particular focus is placed on the interaction between physical and human processes, and the use of different landscapes.
A high quality geography education should inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. At Hanley, we believe this inspiration and motivation towards geography to be intrinsic to our teaching.
Our choice of substantive knowledge is based around the National Curriculum for geography in England. Within year 7, students’ study: An Introduction to Geography at Hanley, Physical Processes, Climate Change and finally Africa. Within each topic, we ensure that the breadth and depth of knowledge outlined in the curriculum is completed but also have a strong emphasis on skill acquisition and development. For example, within the first term, students are out in the field learning basic fieldwork tasks and then within the second term, start to collect, analyse and draw conclusions from their primary data.
In year 8 our substantive knowledge again is constructed around the National Curriculum. The topics covered are: Hazards, Living in a Globalised World and finally Biomes.
Within Hazards, students look at the interaction between the human and physical world and the interplay and effects and responses to natural hazards across the globe. Students look at a wealth of case study examples and materials to increase their place, space and locational knowledge. Within this module students also complete a GIS booklet and use a range of sources of geographical information, including maps and diagrams.
In contrast to this, we then look at the role played by globalisation and how it shapes and moulds both the human and natural world we live in. Students look at large TNCs such as Nike and McDonalds and become better global citizens with an increased awareness of the impacts of their actions.
Finally in year 8 students study global Biomes. Biomes is an opportunity for students to explore new senses of place and space and to link all their prior learning together. Students can now think about the: weather, climate, soils, human and physical factors that affect space, and apply all this knowledge and understanding in this final topic at key stage three.
Key Stage 4:
Edexcel GCSE Geography A
Physical topics: The changing landscapes of the UK, Weather hazards and climate change, Ecosystems biodiversity and management, Rivers and Coasts.
Human topics: Changing cities, global development, resource management and energy resources.
Our rationale for our choice of substantive knowledge is based around the same principals of imparting inspiration, curiosity and fascination for all our students. We want them to develop an enthusiasm for geography that will become embedded within them for their future lives and careers.
Teachers take ownership of their groups and deliver the whole course to them over 3 years, allowing staff and students to foster excellent relationships and so stimulating learning environments. Topics are taught in a sequence of human and then physical modules under the specification Edexcel A. Themes from key stage three form the backbone of study and form the foundation for new knowledge. For example, key subaerial processes help underpin the rivers and coasts topics, and globalisation acts as the knowledge base to build topics like development upon.
In addition to this theory, fieldwork skills are again integral. Due to the large cohort size within geography and our drive to deliver excellent fieldwork opportunities and experiences, we undertake our fieldwork requirements in a residential setting with the Field Studies Council at their centre in Slapton Sands, Devon. Here students explore the coastal (Start Bay) and urban environment (Plymouth) and again build upon their underpinning fieldwork skills gained at key stage three.
Edexcel A-level Geography
Once again learning is centred on creating enthusiastic, motivated and enquiring minds in geography and encouraging this through ‘thinking like a geographer’. We deliver the Edexcel A Level course, this time splitting groups between members of staff and their specialisms. This plays to the strengths of the teaching staff and allows student exposure to the eagerness of staff within their specialties.
Within physical geography, students’ cover: Tectonic Processes and Hazards, Glaciated Landscapes and Change, The Water Cycle and Insecurity as well as The Carbon Cycle and Energy Security. Within human geography, students’ cover: Globalisation, Regenerating Places, Super Powers and Health, Human Rights and Intervention. This ensures a great breadth and depth of study at A Level and allows students a great platform of understanding to take geography further.
Again for fieldwork, we use a Field Studies Centre, this year it was the site based at Rhyd-y-Creuau in Snowdonia. Students complete a four-day residential trip and conduct their own investigation into anything they wish. This allows them to explore their own interests within geography and to develop knowledge in an aspect of the course that fascinates them. This study provides the base for their NEA which they then complete in school.