“The geography department at Aldersley High School aims to stimulate in our students, an interest in and a sense of wonder about places and people at all levels, from the personal to the global. We have extremely high expectations of all of the students we teach and aim to encourage their questioning, investigation and critical thinking about issues that affect their lives, now and in the future. The department strives to inspire students to become global citizens by exploring their own place in the world and their values and responsibilities to other people, to the environment and to the sustainability of the planet. We endeavour to foster a lifelong love of geography through varied activities both inside and outside the classroom and prepare well-rounded students for the world after 16, both as members of society and in whatever career path they choose to follow”
Aldersley’s Geography Department
In Geography, our intent is for the curriculum to promote a curiosity about the world for our learners. We aim to create the very best geographers. We challenge students to think, act and speak like those working in the field would. We do this by quality first teaching which ensures students understand geographical principles and can apply them in a variety of familiar and unfamiliar contexts form around the world.
We teach content in its totality and constantly vary topics between human and physical geography to provide a varied and balanced appreciation of the ideas, skills and topics in this discipline. The curriculum provides opportunities for collaborative working as well as independent learning. Students are explicitly taught skill, knowledge and the vocabulary needed to effectively explain and understand geographical issues in the past, present and future. As a knowledge engaged curriculum we believe that knowledge underpins and enables the application of skills; both are entwined.
As a department we define the powerful knowledge our students need and help them recall it by using both knowledge books and knowledge organisers for all year groups. Use of regular assessment for learning, particularly using mini whiteboards, diagnostic quizzes and plenary tasks also helps us check on knowledge and understanding and enables us to plan our subsequent lessons. Students will sit a formal assessment at the end of each half term at KS3 and also sit an end of year exam in the subject.
We build the Cultural Capital of our students by helping them to understand the contemporary world around them. Students learn about how political decisions can cause change in the world around them. They learn about the powerful economic forces around them that are bringing about changes to the way that will affect their future careers. Socially the students learn about how countries are at different stages of development and how the lives of people living there are very different. Geography also helps to explain the many environmental issues that are changing the world in which these students live and how to make sense of these effects. As a powerful bridging subject geography has strong cross curricular links to many of the cultural capital topics the students will study in school.
Our curriculum at Aldersley goes far beyond what is taught in lessons, for whilst we want students to achieve the very best examination results possible, we believe our curriculum goes beyond what is examinable. In key stage 4 pupils participate in fieldwork in Carding Mill Valley and at Tettenhall to apply the skills and knowledge beyond the classroom. Sixth form geographers at the school undertake fieldwork in North Wales field trip to gain the confidence to undertake their own individual investigation entirely on a topic of their choice. They deploy the skills learnt at Aldersley to gain an award worth 20% of their final marks in geography.
Further rationale behind our curriculum design includes flipping from human to physical topics regularly so that students get a chance to find something that they like within the curriculum delivery. The spiral design of the seven-year curriculum is aimed at revisiting topics on several occasions to promote learner’s confidence. Each time students revisit a topic, they are exposed to more complex content, building on what they have already learnt. We ensure the level of challenge is high enough for the most able, with scaffold and support available for students who need it.
Mrs M. Bulleyment
Head of Geography
Mrs Bulleyment is Head of Geography at Aldersley High School