At The Academy of Saint Francis of Assisi, we prize geography as a world in which students can explore the concepts of interconnectedness, place and space. Through their studies into the realms of human and physical geography, our students develop their understanding of what it means to be part of a local, regional, national and international community with curiosity and responsibility for the space they inhabit. Ultimately, geography is about a mindset [Preece], analysing, reasoning and enquiring into what is all around us. We aim to inspire our students to see the spaces they have and will belong to as ones of social, economic and environmental interdependence. A successful human citizen does not act in isolation, but works as a global team reliant on the ‘effective functioning of natural systems’ [National Curriculum].
Throughout their geography journey, students will move between the subject’s big ideas – studying human, physical and synoptic systems – to constantly expand the knowledge and skills they have gained with us and from previous Key Stages. Having studied the concepts of land use and settlement at Key Stage 2, for example, our learners then develop this further to examine the complex reasons for and impacts of migration, connecting it with climate and political issues. Similarly, having looked at the UK’s weather patterns in Key Stage 2, we then explore extreme weather across the globe and the climate crisis to challenge our learners to see the interrelationships between political, economic and environmental processes. In geography we don’t shy away from exposing all students to a knowledge-rich curriculum, we break these complex processes down and provide the tools to be able to investigate with their own frame of understanding and decision making.
As a department, we aim to enrich students with opportunities to further their cultural capital. We have carefully planned fieldwork opportunities both on a local and regional scale, giving pupils a ‘sense of place’ and a deep understanding about the interconnectedness of human and physical geography. In the classroom, pupils are exposed to an array of engaging and meaningful learning opportunities in the form of Scholarship Reading, documentary research and news articles. This enables pupils to engage with thought-provoking media, allowing students to understand the relevance of what they study while also accessing material they may not have done so before. Geography constructs a mindset to analyse, reason and enquire, ‘to go home and have [meaningful] conversations with parents [or guardians] about what they’re seeing on the news, or hear their parents say something and be able to respond’ [Myatt].