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Geography

Curriculum Intent

To help students become better geographers through an engaging curriculum relevant to work and life in the 21st Century. 

Curriculum Rationale

The core idea of the Geography Department, the very essence of what we do, is to encourage students to think globally, inspiring them to care for the world and for the people around them. 

Our overall core purpose is exactly the same as SGS: to inspire, challenge, and enrich. We do this through our department-specific purpose: to help our students understand their own environments and the wider complexities of the world; to broaden their horizons; and enhance their capabilities.  

KS3 and KS 4

This is achieved through our core values – our raison d’etre – the reason we come to school every morning and make the decisions we do: to help students become better geographers through an engaging curriculum relevant to work and life in the 21st Century. 

Broadening horizons and inspiring students through geographical thinking 

Thinking globally is woven through Geography, from globalisation and interconnectedness in Year 7 to environmental injustice in Year 9. Throughout, students develop their capacity to think geographically and to care for the world and its people. Whilst in Year 7 they may be describing simple geographical patterns, or how people improve or damage environments, in Year 9 they may be analysing how decision-making influences sustainability. The routes taken throughout this journey are signposted by ‘big’ curriculum questions designed to engender inquisitiveness, enquiry, and a deep learning of geographical knowledge.  In doing so we encourage a rigorous application of geographical skills.  We also aim to gain a ‘sense of place’, an appreciation of how others experience the world, and an aspiration to tackle serious global issues. Our geography has no single world view. 

Geographers at Spalding Grammar School study through enquiry. This is because making sense of the world is done by an active process of meaning-making that depends on past and existing thinking. It is also because enquiry processes reflect an authentic discipline-related approach - young geographers come to know the world through the same processes as professional and academic geographers. The enquiry process also requires students to develop their analytical and critical thinking skills, and to develop their capabilities in data presentation and writing.  

Students in geography are also required to develop subject-specific and trans-disciplinary skills. These include the analysis of geographical information, spatial data (particularly through geographic information systems or GIS), fieldwork skills, including qualitative and quantitative skills. These are embedded throughout the curriculum and are an intrinsic part of thinking geographically. Map reading and map making are fundamental aspects too, helping students negotiate the multi-scalar nature of space - converging local-regional-global scales - and enhances their capabilities in spatial thinking. A multitude of different types of maps are used in the classroom, from Ordnance Survey maps of the United Kingdom, digital maps and Google Earth, political, physical and thematic maps (including specialist maps like isotherms), to more creative maps and infographics. The increasing use of geographic information systems (GIS) in a wide range of industries requires an increasing understanding and application in school settings. SGS Geography subscribes to the latest mapping providers, including Digimap and ArcGIS, and is building the capacity for GIS to become a much greater part of the curriculum. 

The geography curriculum provides inspiration to know the world better, and to inspire meaningful change. 

Enhancing student capabilities through challenging issues 

Students in geography, at all key stages, are challenged to develop their communication skills to the highest possible standards. Communicating effectively is relevant not only to school subjects like Geography but is also one of life's long-term worthwhile skills. Students are encouraged to read different literature in different forms, from core educational texts to the news media, and are required to write for different purposes depending on the goal and the particular viewpoint under study. For example, a diary entry is useful for students developing empathy and understanding the effects of particular events (e.g. a tsunami). But also, students are encouraged to write academically, bridging both the arts and the sciences: to write with nuance, avoid hyperbole, and use data / evidence / information to support their ideas and arguments, but also creatively, with flair, and critique. 

From Year 7 to Year 11, our students will become more capable in a variety of ways: they become more knowledgeable about places and environments in several contexts and at a number of scales; they can more readily apply geographical concepts; they can question and enquire with greater depth and precision; and they can draw on their geographical knowledge and understanding to interpret unfamiliar processes and events. These are essential skills and knowledge that not only broaden their horizons, but also inspire them to want to know more about the world, challenging their assumptions, and enriching their lives. This contributes to a more capable person, but also underpins the prerequisite knowledge for GCSE and A-Level geography. 

Retrieval Practice (RP) is also part of our daily practice and is focused on the powerful disciplinary knowledge of the geography curriculum: the sequencing of concepts, the use of case studies, and the knowledge that we want students to embed in their long-term memories.  

Enriching geography 

Learning geography helps develop in young people greater capabilities and contributes to an educated person that can more greatly participate in work and life in the 21st Century.  The geography curriculum at Spalding Grammar School is enriching because it enables young people to think beyond themselves and their everyday experiences and contributes to the ‘substantive freedoms’ available to young people: to think, make good choices and decisions about how to live. It also offers significant opportunities to study geography in the ‘real world’ through high-quality fieldwork every year. Whether coastal studies in Year 7, investigating inequality in Cambridge in Year 8, local environmental issues in Year 9, or urban development at GCSE, geographers tackle meaningful topics through contemporary research methodologies. 

Geography also offers students the chance to listen and speak to guests, whether academic or from industry, and significant careers guidance is a feature throughout the curriculum. One thing is certain about the future, and that is humankind’s need to develop greener fuels, greener economies, and greener ways of living. This inevitably means interrogating the relationship between us and the natural resources extracted from surrounding environments. It also necessitates a deeper understanding of how changing environments – like the atmosphere – will continue to affect us. The ‘green sector’ and ‘green economy’ are terms coined to reflect both the burgeoning renewable industries and the need for all companies to reduce environmental risks and ecological damage. In almost all sectors, firms are looking to reduce their carbon footprint, reduce plastic use, and streamline production processes to reduce energy consumption in what has been termed ‘green growth’. Today, there may be comparatively few jobs in this sector, but it will certainly grow exponentially in the next few decades, requiring more and more of those with the skills secured in the Geographical and Earth Sciences.  

Being professional services, with great responsibility and high accountability, the vast majority of the career pathways mentioned in this letter command high salaries. Indeed, Geography graduates are, on average, some of the highest earners in Britain. This will continue to grow as more and more jobs become available in a burgeoning sector that requires humankind to deal with greater environmental issues. Environmental Consultancy, Geo-Engineering, and Sustainability Coordination will become indispensable parts of the economic fabric of Britain and indeed, the whole world. Don’t miss out.

KS5

Sixth Form Geography at SGS inspires students through a rich curriculum of ‘big’ curriculum questions designed to engender a deep learning of geographical knowledge and concepts.  In doing so we encourage a rigorous application of geographical skills.  We also aim to gain a ‘sense of place’, an appreciation of how others experience the world, and an aspiration to tackle serious global issues. Our geography has no single worldview. 

Geographers at Spalding Grammar School study the OCR Geography Specification, which broadens horizons through the investigation of glaciated landscapes, Earth’s life support systems, how places change, global migration, human rights, climate change, and tectonic hazards. They are required to develop subject-specific and trans-disciplinary skills. These include the analysis of geographical information, spatial data (particularly through geographic information systems or GIS), fieldwork skills, including qualitative and quantitative skills. These are embedded throughout the curriculum and are an intrinsic part of thinking geographically. 

Map reading and map making are fundamental aspects of geographical thinking at A-Level, helping students negotiate the multi-scalar nature of space - converging local-regional-global scales - and enhances their capabilities in spatial thinking. A multitude of different types of maps are used in the classroom, from Ordnance Survey maps of the United Kingdom, digital maps and Google Earth, political, physical and thematic maps (including specialist maps), to more creative maps and infographics. The increasing use of geographic information systems (GIS) in a wide range of industries requires an increasing understanding and application in school settings. SGS Geography subscribes to the latest mapping providers, including Digimap and ArcGIS, and encourages A-Level students to develop a fluency in the language of maps and GIS. 

A-Level Geography at SGS provides inspiration to know the world better, and to inspire meaningful change. 

Enhancing student capabilities through challenging issues 

A-Level Geography students are challenged to develop their communication skills to the highest possible standards. Communicating effectively is relevant not only to subjects like Geography but is also one of life's long-term worthwhile skills. Students are encouraged to read different literature in different forms, from core educational texts and the news media to academic literature. Students are challenged to write academically, bridging both the arts and the sciences: to write with nuance, avoid hyperbole, and use data / evidence / information to support their ideas and arguments, but also creatively, with flair, and critique. 

 

In the Sixth Form, our students become more capable in a variety of ways: they become more knowledgeable about places and environments in different contexts and at a number of scales; they can more readily apply geographical concepts; they can question and enquire with greater depth and precision; and they can draw on their geographical knowledge and understanding to interpret unfamiliar processes and events. The Independent Investigation (also known as the NEA) is a part of the course that challenges students to research an individual issue, collect data, and contribute to geographical knowledge. A-Level Geography not only broadens horizons, but also inspires students to want to know more about the world, challenges their assumptions, and enriches their lives.  

 

Enriching geography 

Learning geography helps develop in young people greater capabilities by thinking geographically and contributes to an educated person that can more greatly participate in work and life in the 21st Century.  A-Level Geography at Spalding Grammar School is enriching because it enables young people to think beyond themselves and their everyday experiences and contributes to the ‘substantive freedoms’ available to young people: to think, make good choices and decisions about how to live. It also offers significant opportunities to study geography in the ‘real world’ through high-quality fieldwork. We offer two residential fieldtrips at A-Level: Snowdonia for physical geography, and London for human geography. Snowdonia is a magical place carved by glaciers, and here, students collect data on the glacial geomorphology of Cwm Idwal and the Nant Ffrancon valley, as well as a trip around the Yr Wyddfa (Mt. Snowdon) horseshoe. But whilst Snowdonia is a relic of a glacial past, London in the 21st Century – one of the most significant world cities – is changing apace. Here, students investigate the workings of these social and economic changes and investigate geographical unevenness across the urban landscape. 

 

Geography also offers students the chance to listen and speak to guests, whether academic or from industry, and significant careers guidance is a feature throughout the A-Level curriculum. One thing is certain about the future, and that is humankind’s need to develop greener fuels, greener economies, and greener ways of living. This inevitably means interrogating the relationship between us and the natural resources extracted from surrounding environments. It also necessitates a deeper understanding of how changing environments – like the atmosphere – will continue to affect us. The ‘green sector’ and ‘green economy’ are terms coined to reflect both the burgeoning renewable industries and the need for all companies to reduce environmental risks and ecological damage. In almost all sectors, firms are looking to reduce their carbon footprint, reduce plastic use, and streamline production processes to reduce energy consumption in what has been termed ‘green growth’. Today, there may be comparatively few jobs in this sector, but it will certainly grow exponentially in the next few decades, requiring more and more of those with the skills secured in the Geographical and Earth Sciences.  

Staff

  • ‚ÄčDr A Hesslewood (Head of Department)
  • Mrs A Johnson
  • Mr J Coles
  • Mr G Baker

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Resources

The department operates out of three dedicated classrooms, each equipped with interactive whiteboard and TV. The department also has an automatic weather station and one of the teaching rooms has a class set of computer terminals linked into the school network. The department is very well equipped with fieldwork equipment and textbooks.

Curriculum

Students have opportunities to experience a wide range of approaches to learning and develop their Geographical skills, understanding and knowledge through lessons, appropriate homework and a number of fieldwork opportunities.

Key Stage 3

Year 7: Students work on map and atlas skills, including GIS, global climate and the British Isles, rivers, glaciation and Africa.

Year 8: Students develop their understanding of coasts, population, weather and climate, Asia and urbanisation.

Year 9: Students currently study volcanoes and earthquakes, development issues, globalisation, China and tourism.

Key Stage 4

At GCSE students follow the AQA Geography A specification and cover the following options topics; 'The challenge of weather and climate', 'Water on the land', 'Ice on the land', 'Population change', 'Changing urban environments' and 'Tourism'.

Key Stage 5

At A Level students follow the OCR Geography specification covering modules in 'Managing Physical Environments' (rivers, coasts and cold environments) and 'Managing Change in Human Environments' (rural change, energy and tourism) at AS. At A2 students study modules in 'Geographical Skills' and 'Global Issues' (earth hazards, climatic hazards and population and resources).

Fieldwork/Enrichment

Embedded within the curriculum, and a vital part of students’ learning, are a number of fieldwork experiences. In Year 7 the theme is rivers, whilst in Year 8 coasts is the focus. At GCSE, depending on the CAU focus, the students will gather data on rivers or urban settlement. In Year 12 students attend a residential fieldtrip in Dorset, focusing on coasts and tourism and then study an upland stream in the Peak District. In 2015 an additional experience was added to the programme with an inspiring visit to the volcanoes and glaciers of Iceland. Urban fieldwork in Year 13 concludes our programme of learning outside of the classroom.