The following members of staff form the geography department at King Edwards:
Mrs K Lowe (Head of Geography)
Miss G Merry (Second in Geography and temporary Head of Geography from September 2019)
Miss R Thomas (Teacher of Geography)
Mrs K Riley (Teacher of Geography)
Key Stage 3
Overall intent: To inspire students to have a thirst for knowledge and discovery and to be globally aware citizens.
The Geography curriculum at King Edwards has been created to build in a wide range of skills and knowledge as learner’s progress through the Key Stage. The units are designed so that students study a range of different human and physical geography topics and within each explore the interrelationships between the human and physical factors. Students are given the opportunity to study both local and distant places with a strong emphasis on ensuring our students are globally aware. For example, some of the countries we study include China, India, Kenya, Afghanistan and Somalia. Students explore the challenges and opportunities that different countries face and how these may change overtime.
Communicating opinions and developing arguments are key areas within our curriculum. As a result, we strive to develop student’s verbal and written communication and ability to read around the subject in order to validate their arguments or findings. Students are given a variety of opportunities to practice and display their literacy skills throughout each year. For example in Year 7 students practice communicating the justification of their choice of settlement and are encouraged to use the PEEL system to develop their points, they write an effects of crime story using a newspaper article as stimulus and explore ‘Kenya in the news’ leading them to write an article on Squatter settlements in Kenya. In addition, they are asked to present a waterfall modelled on a waterfall they have researched and are assessed on their ability to communicate their knowledge and understanding of the formation of a waterfall and apply their research to this. This is continued throughout Years 8 and 9 with tasks such as a China blog/vlog, Ecosystems speech/debate, decision-making exercises and investigation reports.
Our aim is to create learners that are intrinsically motivated to learn by using contemporary, and sometimes contentious, lesson themes that spark interest and discussion. We aim to update lesson material to tie in with events that are currently occurring globally such as our ‘war on plastic’ section and effects of palm oil use in our ecosystems unit. Students are then expected to carry out independent research into these areas and we have found they are driven to do so by the topic material that they are interested in. We aim to give some freedom of choice when researching, such as the option to pick between different ecosystems so students are engaged by the area that appeals to them. This is the same when researching crime stories, waterfalls, volcanic eruptions etc. However, students are always given an introductory lesson, often in the learning resource centre, to guide them in the areas they should search for the material and are given criteria to focus their research so that the task is manageable. The outcome is that students often go above and beyond to create a thorough and well thought out piece of work.
Fieldwork and enrichment
In addition, students take part in local fieldwork to give students and idea of how to carry out investigations and apply their knowledge to real life situations. These include crime surveys, hedgerow studies and microclimate investigations. Where possible, students get the opportunity to listen to outside speakers, such as RGS ambassadors, who get students to engage with contemporary geographical themes such as the importance of cultural capital. Students in year 7-9 are given the opportunity to join a Humanities club, which has a fortnightly geography focus. Activities include measuring carbon footprints and then making an iMovie campaign of how to reduce it, tracking penguins using online footage and using GIS to complete on site treasure hunts.
Students are assessed both summatively, on a termly basis, but also formatively using participation in lessons and homework’s. Those summative assessments are highlighted in red above. The frequency of assessment and homework is reflective of the curriculum time we have with students, with years 7 and 9 having three lessons a fortnight and year 8 two lessons a fortnight.
The style of assessments vary across the years (evident in the curriculum diagrams above), allowing students to use a variety of methods of presentation such as modelling, computer animations, blogging, letter writing etc. but at the same time checking and building on their geographical understanding. As students’ progress into year 9, many of the assessments will be centred on practice GCSE questions to prepare them for KS4.
Homework set is reflective of the point in the curriculum the students are at. On average students are set between 4-6 pieces of homework a term dependent on the type of activity. For example, a modelling homework is more demanding on time and therefore students will have less homework that term. Some of the types of homework students may be asked to complete:
- Revise for a test
- Complete assessments started in class
- Complete research for assessments
- Write assessments
- Prepare for verbal assessments
All homework will be set on SMHW for both students and parents to view https://www.showmyhomework.co.uk/
Key stage 4
The current curriculum follows the AQA specification for geography first examined in 2018. The current specification is a two-year course that is examined at the end by one human paper and one physical paper that comprise 70% of the course. The third paper is a combined decision-making and fieldwork paper which is worth 30%. The course was chosen as it allows students to study a variety of topics over both human and physical aspects and strike a balance between breadth and depth of knowledge. There is also a variety of skills used and examined making it a challenging yet engaging course.
At KS4 students undergo two mock examinations, one at the beginning of the summer term in April in year 10 and in year 11 at the end of the Autumn term in December. These will be past exam papers and the truest likeness to the exams the students will undergo in the summer of year 11. In order to prepare students to answer these, there will be end of unit tests of a similar style and the end of each topic (illustrated above). In addition, students will continually be assessed using practise questions throughout the topic and various self and peer assessment used to help students to understand how to attain the highest possible level in answers.
Students will be set work appropriately depending on the part of the course that is being taught. Most often homework will either be revision for a practise question in class, revision for an end of unit test or for the mocks. However in addition to this, students will be asked to carry out independent research or other smaller tasks based on classwork. They should have at least three pieces of homework a half term of varying length. If they are revising for an end of unit test they should spend at least 3-4 hours doing this, therefore revising for a mock should be reflective of the number of units covered e.g. 3 units in year 10 therefore 9-12 hours. A practice question would only require 30 minutes of revision on average.
Trips and opportunities
It is a compulsory requirement that students complete one human and one physical piece of fieldwork in order to complete paper 3 of the course (the skills paper). We currently complete this on a half day to Digbeth and a full day to Birches Valley. In addition, there is often an opportunity for students to go on an overseas residential which in past years has been to Iceland. However, this trip is only available to students that have had a positive behaviour record and spaces are limited to 40-50.
Key Stage 5
Currently students follow the AQA Geography specification as a linear A-Level. Three members of staff teach units simultaneously. This is a two year course where students will be examined by two written papers, one human and one physical, and a fieldwork investigation at the end of the two years. Each paper is worth 40% and the fieldwork is worth 20%. The two years are split as follows:
- Water and Carbon cycles
- Contemporary Urban Environments
- Glacial Systems and Landscapes
- NEA started with data collection fieldtrip
- NEA completed by October half term
- Global Systems and Governance
- Changing Places
It is a compulsory requirement that students engage in 4 days of fieldwork in order to complete the course. This is currently undertaken as a 4 day residential in the Lake District and students may choose a variety of options for data collection in many of the areas studied in year 12. The cost of the trip is roughly £350.
Assessment and independent work
Students are expected to complete various tasks on a weekly basis. Quite often these will be practice 9 and 20 mark essay questions, or at least to plan and revise for those being timed in lessons. In addition, they will be given reading and research to do to enhance their understanding. Each unit will be assessed once or twice a half term, which would roughly be 6-8 assessments a half term over the entire specification. Students will sit a mock exam in the summer term of Year 12.
If you have any queries about the geography courses at King Edwards, then please e-mail the Head of Geography: