Geography students at Whitelands will have a balanced, holistic understanding of the world we live In, intertwined through the principles, concepts and processes of physical and human geography and comprehend the interdependency between them. We will create academic students who are well rounded, empathetic and 21st Century problem solvers due to the school’s values interlinked into the curriculum.
Our curriculum is academic and ambitious:
We are using information from feeder primary schools to help make curriculum-based decisions on topics to ensure a smooth transition from primary to secondary school. This KS3 curriculum is relevant, modern e.g. The inclusion of Climate Change, holistic and academically challenging. E.g. Y8 onwards are based on old and current GCSE geography topics.
Students enter Whitelands Academy with a reading age range of 9-18 years. We teach in mixed ability classes as we believe in high ambition for all students and recognise that EEF research advises that mixed ability classes encourage positive progress. We have the same ambitious expectations for all of our students, so we teach to the highest attaining student and use scaffolding and the SEN 6 to support all students to achieve these high expectations.
Our curriculum is broad and enriching:
Our curriculum at Whitelands goes far beyond what is taught in lessons, for whilst we want students to achieve the very best examination results possible, we believe our curriculum goes beyond what is examinable. In key stage 4 pupils will participate in fieldwork in Bristol and Swanage Bay to apply the skills and knowledge beyond the classroom.
Our students will be enriched by the department's opportunities for trips. These trips will help interleave learning of the enquiry process and Decision-Making Exercises found in GCSE. Students will become more accountable for the field trips as they move through the school. For example, Trips in Y7 will include a on-site Map Skills and River Environments application lessons. In Y8 there will be a trip to Bicester town centre for an impact of Bicester Village investigation and a trip to A tropical Rainforest in Newbury. GCSE trips include 2 one day trips to Swanage Bay and Bristol’s Cabot Circus shopping Centre.
Our curriculum promotes core literacy:
We promote literacy in Geography through the introduction and use of tier 3 vocabulary, whilst also comprehending and inferring texts. Literacy is a vital part of the whole curriculum which is subject and topic specific. Literacy is ingrained into all lessons alongside comprehension tasks. This literacy focus increased in difficulty and application of text gets more challenging as students move through the curriculum.
Our curriculum is values-based:
The geography curriculum at Whitelands Academy will help create a global citizen. Those who know geography better understand the interdependence of our world and how we are connected through location, place, movement, region and human-environment interactions. Geography involves understanding different disciplines (Ranging from geographical enquiry to Map Skills to understanding the global climate emergency.), which helps us address the big challenges and provides an education that everyone deserves.
Students learn about how political decisions can cause change in the world around them. They learn about the powerful economic forces around them that are bringing about changes to the way that will affect their future careers. Socially the students learn about how countries are at different stages of development and how the lives of people living there are very different. Geography also helps to explain the many environmental issues that are changing the world in which these students live and how to make sense of these effects. As a powerful bridging subject geography has strong cross curricular links to many of the cultural capital topics the students will study in school. E.g. 10% of all marks on a GCSE Geography paper are based on Mathematics.
Our curriculum is knowledge-rich:
Students are explicitly taught skill, knowledge and the vocabulary needed to effectively explain and understand geographical issues in the past, present and future. As a knowledge engaged curriculum we believe that knowledge underpins and enables the application of skills; both are entwined. As a department we define the powerful knowledge our students need and help them recall it by using knowledge organisers.
Use of regular assessment for learning, particularly using interleaved DNAs, diagnostic quizzes and plenary tasks. Staff set their own ime a side for regular planned revision to help the students organise and learn their curriculum content.
We alternate between human and physical topics regularly so that students get a chance to find something like within the curriculum delivery. The spiral design of the 5-year curriculum will be aimed at revisiting topics on several occasions to promote learners' confidence. Each time students revisit a topic, they are exposed to more complex content, building on what they have already learnt. We ensure the level of challenge is high enough for the most able, with scaffold and support available for students who need it.