Curriculum Map: Geography

Curriculum Overview

The geography curriculum will ensure that pupils can make sense of the world around them. The curriculum will provide pupils with knowledge of a range of diverse places, people, resources, natural and human environments, and a deep understanding of the Earth’s physical and human processes. The geography curriculum will ensure that pupils can think like geographers, empowering them to critically engage with current and future geographical debates beyond the classroom.

Entitlement: The geography curriculum meets and exceeds the requirements of the National Curriculum. It ensures that pupils develop a secure knowledge of a range of places, natural and human environments, with a deep understanding of the Earth’s physical and human processes. The geography curriculum ensures that all pupils understand the world in which they live, regardless of their starting point in Year 7 or whether they take the subject onto GCSE.

Coherence: The curriculum takes a thematic approach, where knowledge is acquired, developed over time, and finally applied to places via in-depth case studies. Regional units allow the content covered throughout a year to be revisited, therefore securing the knowledge gained over the course of a year in the context of a particular place/ region.

Mastery: Prior knowledge is regularly revisited throughout the curriculum where it is built upon and applied to new contexts. The scheme of work document shows where each lesson fits within the entire curriculum and illustrates how geographical knowledge and skills are secured before moving on. An example of this is how pupils need to be able to explain physical processes before human and physical interrelationships can be accurately explored.

Adaptability: Teachers adapt the resources to meet the needs of their own classes, and ensure that geographical issues local to Cambridge are considered within the course of study.

Representation: A diverse range of places, people and environments are encountered within the curriculum which helps pupils to develop a broad and balanced view of the world. The curriculum ensures a fair representation of the places studied to avoid a single story being presented and to broaden pupil understanding of different people, places, and environments.

Education with character: The curriculum provides opportunities for pupils to share, reflect and learn about the different lived experiences for people at a local, national, and global scale. It also engages pupils with the big geographical debates of today and the future. This develops a fascination with place studies and allows pupils to take part in informed geographical conversations beyond the classroom/ curriculum.

Year 7

In Year 7, students study what it is to be a geographer, with a specific focus on map skills. Year 7 then move on to study rivers, looking at river processes, landforms and management. Following this, Year 7 move onto development, looking at how and why countries develop and why development isn’t balanced across our planet. Year 7 then move on to studying the world of work, looking at how economies change over time and the impact of economic change on development.

Year 8

In Year 8 students start by studying tectonic hazards and earth science. There is a specific focus on volcanoes and earthquakes throughout the unit. The themes of planning, protection and prediction for these hazards are common. Students follow this with a unit on Population; identifying how and why population changes and exploring the impact this has on the development of a country. Year 8 return to study coasts. Students focus on coastal processes and their impact on the landscape. There is a specific emphasis on processes, landforms and management. Students then move onto ecosystems where they learn to identify and describe the features of different ecosystems. Students study rainforests and deserts in more depth to understand their features, climate and the adaptations that animals and plants must make to survive.

Year 9

Students start Year 9 by looking at life in an emerging country. Students study the characteristics of these countries, as well as how these countries are changing over time. Year 9 then move to the study of climate change, investigating causes, evidence and responses, as well as the science behind the theory. Following this, year 9 move onto urbanisation and the growth of cities. Students study why cities are growing and the impact this is having on people and the environment. Students look to the future and the development of future cities and how this can be achieved sustainably. After this, students study energy, looking at where our energy comes from and how this will change in the future. To end year 9, students complete a local piece of fieldwork in Cambridge to give them the chance to develop fieldwork skills. 

Year 10

Students start their GCSE studies in year 10 with the Challenge of Natural Hazards unit. This is divided into 3 parts, tectonic hazards, atmospheric hazards and climate change. Following this, students study the Living World unit. This focusses on ecosystems, both large and small scale. Students investigate the causes and impacts of deforestation in the world’s rainforests before moving onto look at opportunities and challenges of development in hot desert environments. Students then move onto Rivers & Coasts. Both sections focus on processes, landforms and management in their respective environments. Students then complete the Resource Management unit. This unit has 2 parts, resources in the UK, and a specific section on water as a resource. Both sections focus on distribution, availability and sustainability of resources.  To end the year, students will conduct their mandatory fieldwork exercise. The fieldwork is a coastal study at Walton on the Naze, to assess the impact of coastal management on erosion rates and an environmental quality study of the town and is conducted in preparation for the Paper 3 – Geographical Skill examination.

Year 11

In year 11, students begin by studying the Urban Issues and Challenges unit. This unit looks at urban growth in developing parts of the world (Rio) and in developed parts of the world (Bristol). Opportunities and challenges are identified and discussed in both settings. The unit finishes by looking at sustainable urban growth in the future (Freiburg), with a specific emphasis on sustainable water and energy. Year 11 then move onto their final GCSE unit, Changing Economic World. The unit focuses on the changing economic structure in 2 contrasting areas, India and the UK.  Year 11 students prepare for the Issue Evaluation section of their paper 3 exam alongside their teachers shortly after the Easter holidays.