Welcome to the Geography Department

Meet Our Staff

  • Miss L Graham (Head of Department)
  • Miss K Woods
  • Mr Hamill (NQT)
  • Mrs J Jessop (Teaching Assistant)

Our curriculum is organised in such a way that it provides learners with the best opportunities to be successful in their learning. Our principles focus on depth not just breadth by creating a mastery within the curriculum, which stretches learners and accelerates their progress over their 7 year learning journey at our college. In this section of the website you will find the subject intent, implementation and impact.

Alongside this, are our long and medium term plans which enable all stakeholders to have a clear understanding of the content, knowledge and skills taught within this curriculum area. The long term plan also outlines the cultural capital experiences and career opportunities learners have within the subject, as well as our tailored approach to supporting learners' metacognitive processes. Further to these documents, the discrete sequencing of lessons are in the College's bespoke schemes of work that can be accessed through departments.

'Only the best will do!'

What exactly do they learn?

We have developed a geography curriculum that covers both content knowledge and allows pupils to make connections between ideas to gain geographical understanding. We have aimed to provide a breadth of content at KS3 which builds on knowledge from KS2 and develops their expertise. This is through units such as; ‘what is the difference between weather and climate?’ Should humans visit cold environments?’ ‘Do ecosystems pose opportunities or challenges?’

The main forms of geographical knowledge throughout our curriculum are:

  • Locational knowledge
  • Place knowledge
  • Environmental, physical and human geography
  • Geographical skills and fieldwork.

We aim to stretch and challenge students to develop their knowledge throughout lessons. Further learning opportunities such as reading during lessons and home learning enable students to apply knowledge to real life situations. Students can study the following qualifications: AQA GCSE Geography and AQA A-level Geography.

How do you measure attainment and progress?

We assess pupils’ prior learning in order to identify misconceptions and gaps in pupils’ knowledge plan lessons. Students are assessed through two formal assessment periods throughout the year. Following assessment periods, student will have an opportunity to reflect and consolidate their knowledge along with providing us with information to review the content taught. We aim to increase the opportunities for retrieval practice through knowledge tests in order to enhance recall. Students are assessed throughout lessons through questions and discussion and given opportunities to respond on the feedback given and develop their understanding.  We assess prior knowledge is done at the start of each lesson through a consolidation task and during retrieval tasks. At KS4 and KS5 students are assessed using exam style questions from the exam board AQA. Where gaps are identified in student knowledge, we will revisit these topics and adjust lessons accordingly. Summative assessments take place at the end of year 11 for GCSE and year 13 for A level.

What's the purpose of teaching your subject?

Our aim is for students to gain a fascination, love and knowledge of the complex world around them, which will remain with them for the rest of their lives. ‘The study of geography is about more than just memorising places on a map. It’s about understanding the complexity of our world, appreciating the diversity of cultures that exist across continents. And in the end, it’s about using all that knowledge to help bridge divides and bring people together.’ Barak Obama. Students gain 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. Students should gain an awareness of locational knowledge in order to develop a sense of identity and appreciate distance and scale. We have adapted lessons and SoW to ensure all students can access the content covered and are support is in place when needed.  

What did they learn at primary?

As a department, we have collaborated with local primary schools to identify what is being taught in geography at KS2. In doing this, we have identified what student are taught at KS1 & 2 and highlighted any gaps in students’ geography knowledge. We have used this to adjust our KS3 to build on prior knowledge and fill in any gaps in students’ knowledge. For example, we study natural hazards in detail at KS3 focusing on ‘why do some hazards have a higher death toll than others’ to build on students’ knowledge from KS2 on volcanoes and earthquakes. To ensure students build on their prior KS2 learning, we introduce students to new locations on the national curriculum of Africa and Asia, this is an opportunity for students to apply their knowledge to new content. We have incorporated geographical skills such as map skills into SoW throughout KS3, KS4 and KS5 to consolidate students understanding.

What order do you teach things in and why?

We have planned our curriculum across the key stages to ensure students’ knowledge in secure before moving on. We revisit content when there are opportunities to do so, providing students an opportunity to consolidate their knowledge in order to deepen their understanding. For example, teaching weather and climate in year 7, is then revisited in the units of cold environments, ecosystems and natural hazards. The KS3 curriculum is designed to provide student with the content and knowledge required to  develop this when studying geography at KS4 and KS5.

How do you know that you have a 'good' curriculum?

The geography department has had major changes over the past couple of years.  We now have three specialist staff with strong subject knowledge providing more effective teaching. In both summer 2018 and 2019, geography outcomes showed significant improvements at KS4 from 32% 9-4 2017, 45% 9-4 in 2018 and 52% 9-4 in 2019. Additionally, we have re-established teaching A-level geography at Archbishop Beck in Sept 2018 and option numbers are increasing at A level. Since introducing A level we have had a number of students go on to study geography at university, showing the impact of our curriculum.

How do you enrich your subject outside the classroom?

At KS3 we will be giving students an opportunity to complete fieldwork so students can apply their knowledge to real world examples. At KS4 and KS5 fieldwork on both physical and human geography is a compulsory element to the course. We encourage wider reading and further learning in the subject and set up google classrooms for students to access outside of lesson time. We gave students the opportunity to look into careers opportunities in geography during geography careers week in December for example, we had a talk from OS map and aim to further develop this for next year.