We want to extend our students’ understanding of the world and its diversity, to develop a healthy concern for the environment and help them understand their roots as individuals and as members of larger social groups, whatever their ethnic and cultural background.
By so doing, it is hoped that through the teaching of Geography we can make a significant contribution to students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development by encouraging co-operation and mutual respect for each other regardless of their race, gender, age or class.
The skills and knowledge built by students during the Key Stage Three programme of study for Geography is designed to support students should they elect to continue studying the subject to GCSE level.
In the Autumn Term we teach key geographical skills relating to maps and atlases – with a focus on local Ordnance Survey map work – and Settlement, where we teach the reasons for the location and growth of local towns and villages, and why they develop to follow similar patterns. There is a field trip to Bradgate Park in November which allows students to practice map skills and field sketching, whilst providing an opportunity to learn more about the history of Bradgate Park and its flora and fauna.
In the Spring Term we explore the United Kingdom. We look at the physical geography of the country before our attention turns to study the Population and migration of our home nation and others around the world.
In the Summer Term we focus on natural hazards and physical geography, firstly studying the nature and causes of earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunami, analysing their effects on human settlements and studying how we can best respond to them. Following this students will be able to investigate the processes behind our Weather and Climate.
In the Autumn Term we study Rivers and Flooding and learn about the Water Cycle, how rivers are created by the processes of erosion and deposition and how we use them. We move on to examine how flooding can affect people and how the risk of flooding can be managed.
In the Spring Term we study Economic Activities and analyse the impact of industries on employment in this country and across the world along with personal finances, such as budgets, interest and credit. There is a field trip in March to The Living Rainforest to accompany our Ecosystems work and an assessment on animal adaptation to different environments across the world.
In the Summer Term, Year 8 concludes with the Weathering Inquiry, a piece of work to investigate processes of weathering in our local area. Students will learn about different types of weathering and weathering processes in the classroom before applying their knowledge in their own, independent project.
In the Autumn Term, students will investigate the physical features of Coasts and how different landforms are created by the processes of erosion, transportation and deposition. We will study the impacts of coastal erosion and how this is managed on the east coast of the United Kingdom. This work is supported by our Activity Week visit to the Isle of Wight, where students will have an opportunity to apply their learning about Coasts in preparation for studying the subject at GCSE. Students will also learn about Climate Change and Energy and how this presents very real problems for the future. We will examine in some detail the range of potential solutions to the global energy crisis, including strategies favoured in the United Kingdom.
In the Spring Term, students will have an opportunity to study the different levels of prosperity and wellbeing between and within countries, with a focus on the Emerging Nations of China, India and Russia, looking at historical evidence to recognise the reasons why some regions are less developed than others. We will move on to examine how Globalisation has changed the way we do business across the globe, recognising changes in where products are made and how they are purchased by consumers.
In the Summer Term, Year 9 begin their study of the GCSE Geography course, starting with The Challenge of Natural Hazards and applying their learning from previous topics on plate tectonics, weather and coasts in a new and challenging way.
As Year 7 arrive at secondary school without discrete assessment in Geography, Baseline Assessments are made for all Year 7 students during the first half-term. This information allows staff to set challenging targets for all students.
Progress is monitored by regular, rigorous assessments and targets are modified as and when appropriate. Student peer and self-assessment is regularly used to develop a better awareness of how improvements can be made, and students are pro-actively encouraged to make use of Purple Pen to address comments in their frequently-marked exercise books.
We take part every year in the Geographical Association’s Worldwise Quiz to compete for the title of champions in the Leicester and Leicestershire area. Our Year 9 team were overall winners in our county in the 2013 competition.
To help to foster enthusiasm and engagement in the subject, develop fieldwork skills and deepen students’ understanding, we offer field trips associated with the course for each year group in support of their studies. Year 7 students are invited to join us for a day at Bradgate Park, Year 8 students visit The Living Rainforest, and Year 9 have the opportunity to take part in a residential experience on the Isle of Wight during Activity Week.
Geography and History share a common homework policy which is based on the principle that all home learning should make a crucial contribution to the overall learning and development of our students.
All our homework assignments are set regularly and are appropriate to the abilities and needs of the students. We try to ensure that the tasks are interesting and challenging, promptly marked and returned with positive, encouraging and constructive comments and advice (written or verbal), clearly identifying specific steps or targets for improvement accurately assessed and appropriately rewarded with House Points, Commendations and Headteacher’s Excellence awards.
Our Key Stage Three course and the lessons planned and delivered by staff are designed to provide appropriate challenge for all students, including the more able. For example, they are challenged by differentiated, targeted questioning and extension activities are always available for in-depth homework tasks, such as the Weathering Inquiry. The more able are also provided with regular opportunities to develop their leadership skills during group work activities.
Students are encouraged to work independently outside the classroom undertaking research and devising creative approaches of presenting their inquiries.
A range of strategies is employed during lessons to support students with Special Educational Needs. This includes the use of learning support assistants within the lesson, where those needs are specifically identified to benefit from this. Staff liaise in advance with learning support assistants so that steps can be put in place to make the curriculum accessible to those who require additional support.
Differentiated materials and tasks are provided for students, when appropriate, and peer support is used in various pair and group work activities.
Student Leadership is developed in the classroom through a variety of methods (particularly group work) where students can assume a number of different roles to develop their leadership, organisational and teamwork skills.
Student leadership in learning and teaching is also fostered through presentations within groups and on a whole-class basis. It also takes place through common learning activities, whether it is a brainstorming activity or a decision-making task. Peer assessment and subsequent verbal and written feedback are also used to develop students’ ability to read situations well and accurately take a lead in feeding-back to each other.