Geography curriculum

In our Geography curriculum we believe we are able to foster the talents and ambitions of all our young people through a knowledge based curriculum.  We have faith in our actions and trust our judgement as we are safe in the knowledge our curriculum is broad, challenging and will holistically develop our students.  Our curriculum is always rooted in Christian teachings: Psalm 119:66 “Teach me knowledge and good judgement for I trust your commands “

The purpose of studying Geography at Sir Thomas Boteler Church of England High School is to inspire in students a curiosity and fascination about the world in which they live, and the people who inhabit this planet, for the rest of their lives. They will develop deep subject knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and physical environments. This will be coupled with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key physical and human processes. As students’ progress, their knowledge about the world will enable them to have a deep understanding of the interaction between physical and human processes, and of the formation and use of landscapes and environments. Geographical knowledge, understanding and skills provide the schemata that explain how the Earth’s features at different scales are shaped, interconnected and change over time.

The Geography curriculum at Sir Thomas Boteler Church of England High School is sequenced as a progression model from Year 7 to Year 11. The curriculum is ordered in a way to build student knowledge (including vocabulary) and skills as students’ progress through. The long-term aims of the curriculum as outlined above provide the foundation upon which curriculum sequencing has been developed. The knowledge and skills that students acquire at Key Stage 3 enable them to have a strong understanding of locations, places, physical and human processes, which are then built upon through further study of the subject at Key Stage 4 and beyond. The long-term aims of knowledge and skills are then broken down into shorter-term units of learning which formulate the lesson-by-lesson teaching and learning experiences in the classroom. Our curriculum overview and assessment map outlines the content taught and how student progress and learning is assessed.



Contextual knowledge of the location of globally significant places – both terrestrial and marine – including their defining physical and human characteristics.

Processes that give rise to key physical and human geographical features of the world, how these are interdependent and how they bring about spatial variation and change over time.

Locational knowledge and spatial awareness of the world’s countries using maps.

Geographical similarities, differences and links between places through the study of human and physical geography of regions.

Key processes in physical geography relating to geological timescales and plate tectonics; rocks; weathering and soils; weather and climate; climate change from the last Ice Age to present; glaciation; hydrology and coasts

Key processes in human geography relating to population and urbanisation; international development; economic activity in the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors; and the use of natural resources.

How human and physical processes interact to influence, and change landscapes, environments and the climate; and how human activity relies on effective functioning of natural systems



Collect, analyse and communicate with a range of data gathered through experiences of fieldwork that deepen student understanding of processes

Interpret a range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes, photographs and Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

Communicate geographical information in a variety of ways, including through maps, numerical and quantitative skills and extended writing.

Interpret Ordnance Survey maps including using grid references and scale, topographical and other thematic mapping, and aerial and satellite photographs


Cultural capital

We work to give all of our students the opportunity to experience holistic Geography, this is achieved through the cultural capital element of our teaching. We provide opportunities for our students to engage with, and discuss, various Geographical sources from the media such as David Attenborough documentaries, current affairs discussions such as Brexit or the Americanisation of culture through the technological advancements and globalisation of the world economy. We promote students to reflect, challenge and analyse a wide range of current and complex issues.

We consider de-industrialisation and how it has created the inner city decay as privatisation took many of the traditional manufacturing jobs school leavers would have taken. The study of places, ideas, cultures and processes all help to promote cultural awareness. We consider data from agencies such as the Sutton Trust that identify 84% of MPs are university graduates.

The Geography Department further exploits relevant examples from the world of film to highlight urban issues typical of our context. Students also have the opportunity to engage with documentaries by Simon Reeve, Professor Iain Stewart, Michael Palin, Ross Kemp, Andrew Marr and Michael Woods to broaden their horizons in our changing world.


We believe that students deserve a broad and ambitious Geography curriculum, rich in skills and knowledge, which immerses students in a range of cultures and engenders an enquiring and critical outlook on the world. Our Geography curriculum will give students the opportunity to:

  • study issues at a local, national and international level in a range of media.
  • understand Britain’s influence on the wider world
  • study the geography and influence of different peoples and places across time
  • assess the impact of events on individual and communities
  • be exposed to a high level of geographical and conceptual vocabulary
  • learn to interpret a broad range of sources including photographs, maps and charts
  • be exposed to different peoples’ perspectives on issues and events
  • develop an understanding of how to apply and write about geographical processes such as the development of landscapes.
  • Become a spokesperson for the natural environment
  • develop confidence in orating and debating contemporary geographical issues.


Teaching and Learning

Our pedagogy is underpinned by:

·         cognitive science teaching and learning model which focusses on recall 5, retrieval, identifying misconceptions, reteaching, modelling and interleaving knowledge to ensure it is embedded in long-term memory

·         a focus on developing students’ analytical writing by focussing on description, explanation and evaluation.

·         the regular use of live modelling and exemplar answers to demonstrate processes, standards and expectations

·         a range of strategies to deepen knowledge so that it is committed to long term memory e.g. using COLD/HOT questions on knowledge organisers.

·         the importance of giving students regular opportunities to improve work through rap the gap exercises.

·         Look to tackle social disadvantage by building important cultural capital throughout the curriculum delivery.

·         students understanding what they are doing well and how they need to improve

·         students will develop new skills through a variety of interesting contexts to foster enjoyment

·         students will develop a rich and deep subject knowledge


Wider Curriculum

We will enrich our curriculum by:

·         establishing cross-curricular links such as climate change in science, creative writing with English and scatter graphs in Maths.

·         Providing clear CEIAG links within the curriculum to foster high ambitions

·         providing on and off-site subject or topic related experiences

·         offering opportunities for children to learn outdoors where appropriate

·         encouraging students to contribute to the life of the school and the community, including eco-club and Duke of Edinburgh.

·         developing partnerships with external providers that extend children’s opportunities for learning such as the Environment Agency.

·         build on their understanding of the importance of British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and tolerance and respect

·         improve their spiritual, social, moral and cultural understanding while delivering lessons enriched with the Christian Ethos of the school.



Students learn within a coherent logical framework because…

·         it allows key concepts and themes such as tectonics, rivers, urban issues to be interwoven and promotes the ability to see the increasing complexity of concepts

·         it provides the opportunity to measure pace, extent and trends in change and continuity over time

·         it means that students are able to make relevant links between topics such as climate change and tropical rainforest deforestation.

·         there is progression between key stages 2, 3 and 4, with students being exposed to themes and content that will allow all students to access KS4

·         there is an increasing level of challenge and complexity to enquiries

·         there is appropriate division of time throughout the geological period with tectonics, rocks and soils, glaciation and climate change as examples.

·         students will develop new knowledge that will build on what went before so in year 7 students are learning about Victoria Falls in Zambia, a LIC, and this is revisited in year 8 when looking at erosional landforms and year 9 when looking at the characteristics of Low-Income Countries.


Key Pillars

In Geography, students will develop a strong understanding of the meanings of key processes, in different geographical contexts.

·         Erosion

·         Deposition

·         Glaciation

·         Migration

·         Gentrification

·         Urbanisation

·         Development

·         Ecosystems

·         Culture.

·         Economy.

·         And many more

They will do so by developing skills in the following areas:

·         Literacy – guided reading tasks, WOTW, priming knowledge using Knowledge organisers.

·         Numeracy – Statistical Skills, presenting data, analysing data.

·         Enquiring and information gathering

·         Oracy to express complex ideas fluently

·         Source interpretation – photos, charts, maps

·         Cartography

·         Geographical Information Systems

·         Fieldwork skills – planning and undertaking studies to investigate hypotheses.

The geography curriculum will provide students with the ability to think critically about the world in which they live and to question what they see. The curriculum is sequenced to ensure students develop a deep knowledge of the key concepts of the subject disciplines and can answer key questions about these processes and concepts using real world examples to evidence knowledge and understanding. Concepts such as ‘development’ and ‘urbanisation’ are introduced early to allow students to embed these ideas and define them within different contexts and cultures. For example, urban growth is introduced in year 7 as part of the study of the UK settlements and revisited in the population topic in year 8 when looking at global megacities. This ensures students will see that geographical terms adapt to context and scale and this high-level vocabulary can be applied with increasing fluency over time in the geography classrooms. This is evidenced with opportunities to perform extended writing tasks during assessments to ensure the curriculum is challenging, rigorous and purposeful.


Sir Thomas Boteler Church of England High School by STB