Geography

Head of Department: Mrs Janet Smith: smithj@wellandparkacademy.com

Geography is challenging, topical and engaging. In our diverse society, students need, more than ever before, to understand other people and cultures. In the Geography department, we believe that geographical knowledge, concepts and skills are essential components of a broad and balanced curriculum.

The geography curriculum at KS3 is structured through topic-based learning, underpinned with geographical skills. We begin with basic concepts of navigation, mapping and a greater awareness of UK geography in Year 7, moving on to worldwide studies in Years 8 and 9. Some of the topics studied at KS3 include glaciation, ecosystems, global issues, volcanoes and earthquakes, population, development, rivers and coasts.
Within these topics we try to develop key knowledge, understanding and an ability to 'think like a geographer'; meaning students can display empathy towards others, are able to think critically about the issues facing the world and apply them across a range of geographical scales.

At KS4 students continue to develop their geographical knowledge. The GCSE course is split into 3 exam papers as follows:

  • Paper 1: Living with the Physical Environment: natural hazards, ecosystems, coasts & rivers
  • Paper 2: Challenges in the Human Environment: urban issues, changing economic world, resource use
  • Paper 3: Geographical applications: issue evaluation, fieldwork & geographical skills

Students gain a strong foundation of knowledge for GCSE Geography throughout their KS3 studies, this enables a greater understanding when topics are revisited in-depth at KS4.

Throughout the Geography curriculum in KS3 and KS4 we offer a range of fieldwork opportunities. These include local-based fieldwork in Year 7, a coasts visit in Year 8 and a 3-day residential as part of GCSE studies. We are looking to expand this fieldwork provision in the near future.

At KS3, we test both geographical knowledge and skills through end of unit tests. Throughout these assessments, we use key question styles from GCSE including 'command words', to familiarise them with this language. In Year 7, students will sit a baseline test when they arrive, in order to assess prior knowledge in Geography. In Year 8 and 9, we scaffold longer GCSE style questions to aid the understanding of students. All of our assessments are graded according to GCSE grades 1-9. In Year 7 and 8, students will sit an end of year exam for Geography.

KS4 Geography GCSE – AQA 8035 course.

Website: https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/geography/gcse/geography-8035

The AQA GCSE Geography qualification is 100% externally examined, comprising of three exam papers:

 

Specification Content

How is it assessed?

Paper 1: Living with the Physical Environment:

Section A: Challenge of natural hazards
Section B: The living world

Section C: Physical landscapes in the UK: Coastal landscapes in the UK

River landscapes in the UK

1 hour 30 minute examination

88 marks (including 3 for spelling, punctuation and grammar)

35% of the GCSE

Paper 2: Challenges in the Human Environment

Section A: Urban issues and challenges

Section B: The changing economic world

Section C: The challenge of resource management

Food management

1 hour 30 minute examination

88 marks (including 3 for spelling, punctuation and grammar)

35% of the GCSE

Paper 3: Geographical Applications

Section A: Issue evaluation

Section B: Fieldwork and geographical skills

1 hour 15 minute examination

76 marks (including 6 for spelling, punctuation and grammar)

30% of the GCSE


Please refer to the Geography curriculum map, GCSE learning journey or the AQA course page for further information.

Studying Geography can open up a wide range of careers. As stated by the Royal Geographical Society: "Geography graduates have one of the highest rates of graduate employment, pursuing a wide range of career paths. It’s often said that there is no such thing as a geography job; rather there are multiple jobs that geographers do".

Geography encourages students to think critically and analytically to solve problems and understand varying viewpoints. It develops independent research skills and the ability to 'think like a Geographer', showing a wide appreciation of the world around them. Many of these skills are transferable to high-level careers within cartography, Geographical Information Systems, planning and development, teaching, leisure and tourism, logistics, government and politics, environmental planning and management. This illustrates a wide and diverse choice of career path that students can access when leaving school with a geography qualification.

There are a few more examples of Geography careers here: https://www.rgs.org/iamageographer/
Alternatively please refer to the 'RGS Going Places with Geography - Careers' document.

 

 


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