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Geography

Department Overview

The Geography department works closely with the History and RE departments.

Acting Curriculum Leader: Mr A Chambers

KS3 Curriculum

The Geography KS3 curriculum at Horbury Academy has been designed to inform students about what to expect from our Geography GCSE course and to provide them with a sound basis in terms of skills and knowledge with which to begin a GCSE, should they choose to take it as an option. Opportunities have been created for students at KS3 to use the literary skills they developed during KS2 whilst also learning the specialist concepts and vocabulary that they will make use of during GCSE Geography. Throughout their work, students will be supported to demonstrate different levels of thinking skills from pure knowledge through to comprehension and use of information, to the analysis and evaluation of data and ideas.

In Year 9 students can opt to commence on the GCSE course, although this can be changed at the end of the academic year. Students receive one hour a week in Year 7 and two in year 8 and 9 respectively.

Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

Map Skills

Tectonics

Investigating Brazil

Megacities

Development

Rainforest

Extreme Weather

Coasts

Deserts

Glaciers

Resource Management

Climatic Change

Coasts

Urban World

 

KS4 Curriculum  

The Geography GCSE offers students a qualification that will open many doors to them in terms of their future education and careers because Geography is a subject that is widely recognised as being one that connects the learning that is done in other subject areas. Having a Geography GCSE therefore shows that students are ‘rounded’ learners, in that they can recognise and understand the links between science, history and ways of life, for example, whilst demonstrating their literary and numeric skills. Fundamentally though, Geography is a subject that helps young people make sense of the world around them and understand the part that they play in shaping changes to the world. Furthermore, Geography broadens the horizons of young people and aims to foster a thirst for exploration and experience of places beyond our immediate surroundings.

In contrast to the Geography curriculums of the past, the subject no longer focuses on flags and maps, but instead looks at the way people and places affect one another. There is a strong emphasis on students’ ability to write coherently using meaningful evidence to justify their ideas.

The Geography Department currently teaches the new AQA Geography Specification (8035) in line with the vast majority of the other schools and academies in the Wakefield area. The specification breaks down in the following way:

Living with the physical environment

This unit is assessed through a 1hr 30m exam made up of questions that require written responses. 85 marks are awarded for students’ answers and a further 3 marks are available for spelling, punctuation and grammar. This paper is worth 35% of the overall GCSE grade. This unit requires students to memorise precise details about places and events that are then used as part of extended exam answers and is sub-divided into the following elements:

  • The challenge of natural hazards where we investigate tectonic hazards (i.e. earthquakes and volcanic eruptions), weather hazards (tropical storms) and extreme weather events that affect the UK as well as the role of climate change in these extreme weather events.
  • The living world during which we explore ecosystems with a particular emphasis on the tropical rainforests and hot deserts
  • Physical landscapes in the UK where we will investigate the UK’s coastal and river landscapes

 

Challenges in the human environment

This unit is assessed through a 1hr 30m exam made up of questions that require written responses. 85 marks are awarded for students’ answers and a further 3 marks are available for spelling, punctuation and grammar. This paper is worth 35% of the overall GCSE grade. This unit requires students to memorise precise details about places and events that are then used as part of extended exam answers and is sub-divided into the following elements:

  • Urban issues and challenges when we look at the reasons for and the effects of the growth of cities in higher income countries (e.g. the UK) and newly emerging economies (e.g. China).
  • The changing economic world when we consider the reasons why some countries have developed more quickly than others and what can be done to support those countries whose people experience a low standard of living.
  • The challenge of resource management where we look at the reasons why there is unequal access to resources around the world, with a particular emphasis on supply and demand for energy.


Geographical applications

This section of the course is composed of three aspects which are an issue evaluation, a fieldwork project and geographical skills. The unit is assessed through a 1hr 15m exam made up of questions that require written responses. 70 marks are awarded for students’ answers and a further 6 marks are available for spelling, punctuation and grammar. This paper is worth 30% of the overall GCSE grade. This unit does not require students to memorise details about places, but it will test their ability to use the analytical skills that they have developed throughout their GCSE course.

  • The issue evaluation will involve students answering questions using information that they will have been provided with 12 weeks before their exam. The information they are given will include maps, graphs, diagrams, statistics, photos, satellite images, sketches, text taken from newspapers etc and quotes from different interest groups. The information will relate to some of the themes that have been taught as part of ‘Living with the physical environment’ and ‘Challenges in the human environment’. Students will need to be able to look for evidence in order to support their answers.
  • The fieldwork will be made up of two separate investigations; one that focuses on a physical (natural) environment and the processes affecting it and one that focuses on the human (man-made) environment and changes that are occurring within it. Students will be expected to collect and make sense of primary data as part of this.
  • Geographical skills are assessed as part of all three exams and are inherent throughout the teaching of the specification.

 

How the Geography department actively promotes British Values through the curriculum

  • Democracy forms the foundations of Geography assessment where students are free to choose the best option to manage geographical issues. These have to be justified, as well providing counter arguments.
  • The rule of law is addressed through the Crime unit and topics such as Blood Diamonds and Conflict. Students explore the legal and ethical consequences of peoples' choices.
  • A culture of mutual respect is created in all classrooms where students’ voices are all heard and valued. Controversial views are challenged by all involved in class debate. This includes tolerating those of different faiths and beliefs, especially when studying different countries' traditions and cultures and views around migration.