Because "we all come together to learn", there is a strong universal element to our curriculum: we give all learners, particularly the most disadvantaged, the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life.
No-one can claim to be a global citizen without knowing about our planet – its physical features, and how humans interact with it. Global citizens also need to make judgements about geopolitical and societal issues locally, nationally and internationally, and to identify patterns in spatial distributions. Our vision is thus to ensure all pupils appreciate how interactions between our planet and humankind shape everyday life.
We also consider that we need to embed social, moral, cultural and spiritual values in our curriculum, eg by considering the social implications of interdependence or of global sustainability. Our choice of topics (in all Key Stages) is governed by our vision and by these considerations.
We also aim to foster a love for the study of our subject – not just for the period in which our students are being formally educated, but for life.
Our strategy in Key Stage 3 is to teach essential key skills/themes (eg Industrial Change in Year 8) and contextualise them via a study of place. In Year 9, we revisit skills from Years 7 and 8 (through deliberate practice) and study Hazards and The Living World as a bridge to GCSE.
Post-14, we study compulsory units first and optional units later to allow for synoptic knowledge and understanding to develop. The choice of units is design to maximise progression (eg from Urban issues at GCSE to Contemporary Urban Environments at 'A'-level). Post-16 we study a range of challenging units (eg Global Systems and Governance) in order to deepen still further students' appreciation of our subject.
Key skills and concepts are revisited frequently across successive Key Stages in order to facilitate long-term information retention. We find this helps students clarify the underpinning theories and build their understanding. This can only be done collaboratively (as each teacher relies on colleagues' work in previous years) – so all resources within our subject are planned, agreed by all, and held centrally for all to access.
Learner understanding and progress is checked using responsive feedback and a variety of standardised assessments. We encourage additional independent learning via (eg) the Seneca and BBC bitesize learning websites, and a variety of online resources available on the school website.
No Geographer would want to study our world without seeing it in person. Fieldwork is an essential part of our curriculum. A range of oneday visits and popular residential visits are arranged annually (eg to Llandudno and the Trafford Centre), with longer trips to (eg) Iceland.
Performance in formal exams will show the extent to which we have been able to implant Geographical ideas into pupils' long-term memories? We also consider pupils' thirst for knowledge, their enthusiasm, and option uptake, which show if we have fostered a love of Geography.