Geography Key Stage 4
To enable students grow into resilient, engaged, independent and interdependent learners that seek to know and understand the world around them and foster a keen sense for the need for environmental stewardship, social justice, respect, tolerance, and the celebration of diversity.
At key stage 4, we want students to develop the skills, substantive knowledge and values that allows them to make excellent progress in their learning and to thrive in their exams. We do this through delivery of an engaging, relevant, and broad curriculum that also prepares students with work relevant skills.
Sequencing, Setting and Support
Throughout their GCSE students continue to build on the knowledge, skills and Alive values encountered at key stage 3. Early on in the GCSE course, we are careful to deliver less abstract units with some familiar key stage 3 content to help students with their transition before exploring less familiar and more abstract content at a later stage. Sequencing of units is also chosen to naturally support flow and progression in learning, such as the units that consider development. Units are also carefully chosen to give balance to physical and human units throughout the course and to provide timely opportunities for fieldwork when weather conditions prove most favourable. Skills and key concepts run like a thread through the course, with constant revisit to help embed these important aspects.
Students are taught in mixed ability groups, which allows all students to access content that is challenging to their ability level.
Teachers know their students well and adapt learning to give students the best opportunity to succeed. This includes modelling and guided practice, providing sentence starters, and sharing good practice. Where possible in lessons, 1-1 targeted support is provided as well as support outside of lessons through mentoring interventions where identified.
Alive Themes in Geography
Geography is well-placed to explore a wide range of Alive values through the key stage 4 curriculum. Our key Alive theme is We are interdependent. This is explored through subject content, which investigates the links between people, places and issues across the world. We also explore this value through the route to enquiry, completing fieldwork at two points in the GCSE programme where students must rely on each other working as a team to collect data for later analysis.
The intent of our curriculum is also focused heavily on the value of justice and respect considering our role in environmental impact and stewardship of places on a range of scales, as well as considering the moral and ethical impacts of our choices. Furthermore, diversity is central to our curriculum, not only in ensuring we offer a curriculum that engages our diverse community, but which encourages students to value and celebrate the cultural diversity that our planet offers. For example, we study units on Nigeria and Lagos exploring the culture, economic, political and environmental aspects of this amazing nation and its largest city.
Obviously, at GCSE level there is a large focus on resilience, organisation and review in preparation for exams. To support students, we take time to explore various revision strategies that allow them to learn how best to revise in their own setting and circumstance.
Assessment in Geography
At key stage 4, both formative and summative assessments are undertaken. Ongoing formative assessment in the classroom allows quick, impactful feedback such as live marking during exam question practice. Summative assessments take place at certain points in the year to allow us to give meaningful feedback and project predictions for future student outcomes. Students are assessed at all relevant points using mark schemes from the AQA exam board which are then applied to historical grade boundaries so that a grade 1 – 9 can be given. Mark scheme criteria are regularly shared with students, so they become quickly accustomed to what is required of them.
Homework and how Parents/Carers Support Learning
All homework is set on Edulink which is an app and website available to students and parents/carers. Further information and a video about how to find homework on Edulink is available on our Homework page.
These are the principles which underpin our homework.
Homework is set via our Edulink platform to help students to keep organised with their independent study demands. These homework tasks largely centre around application of their learning to exam question contexts to help them build fluency and confidence for the exam setting that ultimately determines their grade. While standard homework tasks are available, staff will often deploy tailored homework tasks where they see a need for practice.
Parental support is vital at this stage. We understand that parents won’t necessarily be familiar with the content or techniques that we teach the students, however parental support in helping students manage their workload is really important, as well as encouraging planning and review stages of any work set. It is also really helpful if you communicate with us if you are concerned that your son or daughter is struggling with the demands placed upon them.
Useful Geography Resources
There are a number of resources that can support students at key stage 4.
At the departmental level, we have produced a wide range of resources to support students, especially with review and revise tasks for end of unit and mock assessments which are found on our Moodle page (students can log on here to show you the site). These include self-marking end of unit quizzes, gap fill knowledge organisers, key term lists and much more.
There are also a number of other resources that will support students at this level. These include AQA revision guides for the GCSE Geography Course which can be found here as well as online content that can support their revision, such as BBC bitesize found here. Furthermore, many of our students are using YouTube videos to support their revision, some of which can be found here
Outside the focus on exams, we actively encourage students to watch the news to keep up with current affairs and to read more broadly. The National Geographic is an excellent and inspiring read. For students who are highly engaged and working at a high level, the guardian newspaper offers some excellent resources, whilst the books of Tim Marshall provide a fascinating insight into the world of geography. You can see these books here (although we encourage you to support local shops rather than Amazon).