Our vision is to equip students with the knowledge, skills and attributes to be able to make sense of the world around them, both past, present and future.
By the time a student leaves Whickham School they will have been exposed to the overarching disciplinary concepts within geography – place, space, environment and interconnections – and will have a substantive knowledge of the world that they came from, they live in now and the one they will inhabit in the future. This will allow them to follow and engage in debate on issues of local, national, regional or global significance. To do this, we will ensure that every student at every Key Stage has access to a curriculum that is research-informed, steeped in powerful knowledge and bridges the gap between the theory of the classroom and the messy reality outside it.
Geography is a subject that will enable students to develop the specific knowledge required to understand and make sense of contemporary global issues. The geography curriculum offered at Whickham School matches this belief in the power of geography. The curriculum offered, which builds upon that studied at Key Stages 1 & 2, gives students a clear foundation of powerful geographical knowledge that will not only allow them to understand and explain the world around them, but also to follow and engage in debates at local, national and global scales about the future of the planet and our place on it. The geography curriculum at Whickham has six core concepts that run through it and underlie the knowledge within it – place, scale, sustainability, interdependence, risk and processes and systems. At Key Stage 3 a themes and regions approach is offered, where students will study a series of themes, such as population or hazards, which will then be synthesised through the study of a country, such as Haiti or the Democratic Republic of Congo. This themes and regions approach fulfils the programme of study outlines in the Key Stage 3 National Curriculum for Geography and also allows for the integration of a horizontal and vertical knowledge structure. The concepts continue through Key Stages 4, where we study Edexcel Geog B, and Key Stage 5, where we continue with Edexcel. These courses have been opted for as we believe that they allow for the greatest breadth of study and are therefore in keeping with our vision and mission statement.
Students studying geography will be competent in a range of skills, some overlap with several subjects within school, but will be applied specifically to place, space and the environment within the subject of geography. Through fieldwork, students will be confident in their ability to collect, analyse and communicate data from a range of places. Students will be confident in their abilities to interpret a range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, aerial photographs and GIS. Students will also be able to communicate geographical information in a range of ways, including maps, graphs, annotations and through writing at length. Questioning, evaluative and oracy skills are also developed
Access for All
All students will be able to access lessons in geography and will be given appropriate assistance and guidance to ensure that they reach the same end point. This will involve continual discussion, reflection and evaluation of how content is delivered by teaching staff, paying attention to the use of questioning to assess both to prior and current understanding. Modelling and scaffolding of tasks plays a significant part of ensuring that all students are able to access the geography curriculum in full. No student in geography will be limited by differentiation.
‘A programme of study articulated without concepts, runs the risk of focusing entirely on knowledge or skill acquisition’
The Geography curriculum at Whickham School is planned around 6 key concepts. The role of concepts in Geography education is a somewhat contested environment and therefore there are no agreed set that a department can plan their curriculum around. As a department we have taken a ‘less is more’ approach and used broad concepts to underpin our curriculum. We have also ensured that our concepts are organisational instead of hierarchical to ensure that the key aim of our curriculum – allowing students to understand the world around them – is met through Key Stages 3 to 5. Our 6 broad-based key concepts are:
Geography Learning Journey
View a more detailed Geography Curriculum Overview by year group