Geography Curriculum Rationale
The substantive content for the West Malling geography curriculum is:
- ambitiously broad in scope (meeting, and often exceeding, the demands of the National Curriculum; for example, the KS2 NC requirement to produce a comparison across three regions is served not just in a tokenistic way, but by ensuring that pupils gain an in-depth knowledge of diverse reference points on which to draw from across the world, from the Amazon Basin, to the Rhine and the Mediterranean, to West Wales and London, with further underpinning from the historical dimensions of these places);
- meticulous in rigour (responsive to up-to-date scholarship and findings);
- highly coherent (intricate links have been built within and across subjects so that nothing sits in isolation, but rather is supported and enriched both horizontally and vertically);
- carefully sequenced (so that pupils’ ability will have been served by the repeated and explicit focus on key knowledge; for example, the repeated and explicit focus on all the foundational geographical knowledge that serves informed understanding of climate change and resource use – the role of rainforests, the behaviour of oceans and the impact of land use).
Knowledge is highly ‘sticky’. The cumulative effect of being secure in rich stories and a detailed ‘sense of place’ is that pupils’ curiosity is on fire. Their hunger for yet more knowledge, as relationships, connections and relationships multiply, soon grows very naturally.
Every time pupils are reminded of how geographers are collaborating to establish the serious extent of climate change, both teachers and pupils are humbled and challenged.
The disciplinary aspect of the subject directly fosters the critical and creative aspects of learning, and these are strengthened by the distinctive demands of the subject. Pupils must learn how to shape good geographical enquiries and understand why these matter for themselves and others. In doing these things, pupils are being introduced to the subject of geography as a long tradition of enquiry, argument and debate.
More specifically, this results in the constant practice of various geography-specific skills, each of which interacts with some aspect of disciplinary knowledge.
In studying geography as a discipline, pupils will:
- collect, analyse and communicate with a range of data gathered through experiences of fieldwork that deepen their understanding of geographical processes;
- interpret a range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes, aerial photographs and geographical information systems;
- communicate geographical information in a variety of ways, including through maps, numerical and quantitative skills and writing at length.