“Geography is the subject which holds the key to our future” 

Michael Palin.

Click here for Geography curriculum outline

Why do we study Geography?

The Geography curriculum at Studley High School has been created to be broad, dynamic and inspirational. It aims to instill a sense of wonder and curiosity to spark a life-long interest and understanding of the world in which we live. This development of knowledge is essential in our current complex world where physical and human geography issues are co-dependent and intrinsically linked to the headlines in our news. We aim to ensure that students are informed, understand the context of such issues and develop a drive to become active, tolerant and responsible citizens in the modern world. 

The curriculum is scaffolded to build geographical skills such as investigation, data analysis and evaluation but also to develop numeracy and literacy to support our students and build essential cross-curricular and life skills. Emphasis is placed on broadening geographical vocabulary and improving writing and reasoning to give students the tools to effectively understand, present and explain geographical issues from the past, present and future.

Geography programme of study at Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9)

The rich KS3 curriculum is designed to encompass a range of traditional and more modern topics to put context to the world around us and allow exploration of current affairs at a range of scales including local, national and international issues. It builds on knowledge learnt at KS2 and offers opportunities to be assessed in a range of different ways with the intention of building a firm foundation for GCSE studies but also to ensure that there is a breadth and depth of curriculum for those who opt not to continue their geography studies into KS4. Case study examples change and are updated regularly making use of the most up to date examples and there is a clear link between topics that are introduced in KS3 and then revisited at KS4 in more depth and breadth. There are also close links and ties with content taught in science, history, English and RS as well as some numeracy topics taught in maths and skills developed in IT.

Geography programme of study at Key Stage 4 (Years 10-11)

Geography at GCSE follows the OCR (A) specification which has a strong focus on case study examples and a balance between human and physical geography and developing geographical skills in cartography, numeracy and literacy.  Students are taught to analyse data, look for trends, patterns and exceptions; explain the causes and effects of events and make observations and predictions for the future. There is a strong emphasis on the sustainability of our future cities, transport and environment and what we can do to promote this.  These studies culminate in three written papers covering the geography of the UK, the wider world and geographical skills. Fieldwork remains an important ingredient in the studies and is a compulsory element of the course.  It aims to develop investigative skills, methodical analysis and clear data presentation skills.

Homework expectations

Homework is set regularly and allows students to further investigate topics independently, demonstrate knowledge and practise skills taught in the classroom. It allows students to consolidate their learning and prepare for assessments.  At KS3 students are expected to complete one piece per fortnight. This could be a piece of extended writing, reading, research or preparation and revision. Clear instructions are given to students about what is expected for each piece of work, which should take approximately 30 minutes to complete. At KS4 homework is set weekly and may be used as evidence of understanding and progress. The aim is to vary the tasks set and encourage the use of a range of revision strategies and techniques.

How can parents and guardians support at home?

It is essential that time is spent outside of the classroom reviewing the work done at school. Students who make the most progress are those that are able to talk about what they have learnt and explain it to others. Discussing geographical topics in the news or those studied at school and asking questions is extremely helpful. In addition, students will have regular checklists in their books at the beginning and end of topics – practising the questions that they contain is very beneficial. 

At KS4 a range of revision strategies and techniques are taught in lessons and designed to make learning content and specific examples easier. Encourage your child to begin a revision programme early, to be active and engaged in learning and to find and develop that technique that works best for them. They will have lots of revision resources to use – ensure that they are using them. A “little and often” strategy is best for remembering key content.

Encourage wider reading or viewing around the subject. Key events in the news are signposted in lessons and further reading or viewing can expand their knowledge enormously to gain an understanding of where and why things are happening and how they are inter connected.  Regular contact with the BBC news (TV or website / APP) is useful as well as watching the extended weather forecast.  Students are also given a list of age appropriate films and documentaries that they may access at home to further aid their understanding.

Extra-curricular opportunities

At Studley High School students can participate in the SHINE programme of which Geography is a key component. Additional topics are investigated using a more collaborative and hands on approach. 

Students will have the opportunity to complete local fieldwork studies looking at the formation of meanders along the river Arrow and the development of the town of Stratford upon Avon.  

In recent years KS4 groups have travelled to Iceland to study the tectonic plate movement, geothermal power, coastal geomorphology as well as the impact of the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull volcano in 2010.  Further overseas residential trips are planned for future groups to see geography in action outside of the classroom.

A level students are prepared for KS5 with taster sessions and lessons after the completion of their GCSE studies