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Learning Journey & Sequencing Rationale

In Geography, we look to expose our learners to environments, cultures & ideas dissimilar to their own. We also seek to make learning relevant to our students’ lives. We want our learners to end up with enhanced reading and writing skills and those of problem solving and synoptic thinking. The latter is needed in view of the many transformations our world will face in the coming years. Having a means to interpret events like Climate change, Brexit and Job market automation contributes to our learners’ economic and social well-being.


Geography is taught in a way that maintains subject disciplinary barriers between physical and human geography whilst also appreciating within the units, the links between such topics. As such, we begin years 7 & 8 with a physical then human topic whilst each year ends with a unit which seeks to apply that knowledge into topical work with engaging content of a synoptic nature. Year 9 works through a cold environments unit, and decision making exercises taken from previous GCSE pre-releases.

Programme of Study



Yr 7, Term 1

Worldwide Disasters

Yr 7, Term 2

Global Development

Yr 7, Term 3

Geography of the UK




Yr 8, Term 1

Cities in 21st Century

Yr 8, Term 2

Global Ecosystems

Yr 8, Term 3

Geography of the World



Yr 9, Term 1

Cold Environments

Yr 9, Term 2

DME - Peru

Yr 9, Term 3

DME Urbanisation




Yr 10, Term 1


Yr 10, Term 2


Yr 10, Term 3


Rationale for Sequencing

Year 7

Year 7 begins with the study of worldwide disasters. This teaches key concepts in the context of hazards: cause, effect & responses which apply over various Geographical topic matter. Fundamental processes which conceive of the world as a system (the atmosphere in the study of weather hazards & the lithosphere in the study of tectonic hazards) are also helpful to later units such as those which work on the biosphere (ecosystems in year 8 in particular). Year 7 then continues with work on global development. As much of the study of the world centres on Geographical territories, mainly nation states, looking to progress economically, the terminology employed ‘development measures’ forces learners to avoid vague terms to describe improvements countries experience. Since much of the world experiences barriers in their ongoing efforts to develop, it stands to reason that learning specific barriers and problem solving to consider how they can overcome those through (mainly government-led) strategies, is useful in later GCSE work (in the study of the Newly Emerging Economy, Nigeria).  Some UK topic matter looks to bring together more firmly, some of the mapping skills and socio-economic analyses which are key to geographical study. The North South divide, expressed through mapping exercises helps us to consolidate locational skills and how to draw out various Geographical distributions (in wealth & other indices) and connections between them. The study of Brexit helps develop the ability to weight up cost benefit analysis of political and economic decisions which feature in developmental dilemmas the UK faces (as part of our GCSE study, in yr 10).

Year 8

Year 8 begins with work on Cities in the 21st Century.  Though this is a distinctly human unit it also tracks the historical tendency for countries to progress in fairly similar ways (expressed through the Demographic Transition Model). Knowledge accrued here aides the later study of developmental dilemmas faced by Rio De Janeiro in our Urban Issues GCSE unit.  Following this, we move towards study of large ecosystems.  An explicit systems approach which looks to biotic -abiotic interactions especially in the form of flora and fauna adaptations, is useful for GCSE study of Deserts where climatic input limits human developmental opportunities as well. We finish the year with ambitious work on the geography of the world. Here we look to topical items like the spread of disease and the Geography of conflict both of which are at a

Year 9

Year 9 draws upon more challenging work as it uses some GCSE content (albeit not to be repeated due to optionality). It does draw upon prior learning through the two previous years. First, the study of cold environments uses the systems model to consolidate the theory of biotic abiotic interactions. Study then moves onto Decision Making exercises - drawn from GCSE content - that use an interdisciplinary human physical approach. In particular the work on Peru and a deforestation-infrastructural dilemma needs weighing up of a cost benefit analysis between development and environmental concerns to help form extended writing that employs geographical arguments.

KS3 LEarner Journey


unit overview - autumn term 

Topic: Worldwide disasters


Interpreting map scales to determine distance

Using grid references and thematic mapping to analyse and interpret places

Using multiple geographical sources to answer questions using appropriate vocabulary

Showing knowledge to identify characteristics of an area studied


The different types of natural disasters

The distribution of tectonic hazards

The features of the different tectonic plate boundaries

The impacts of tectonic events in an LIC and HIC

How to reduce the risks of tectonic hazards

The distribution of tropical storms

The structure, features & formation of tropical storms

The impacts of a tropical storm

How to reduce the risk of tropical storms

The weather hazards faced by the UK


Typically learners have arrived from KS2 with knowledge of tectonic but not atmospheric hazards. We want to extend the former with the application of management strategies to reduce risks and in turn apply this same exhaustive enquiry approach to the latter. As the highest weighted section of the physical geography component of GCSE study, it is important to provide a foregrounding in the study of disasters and as such the case study model of enquiring into a disasters’ causes, effects & solutions is introduced.

This SoW is interesting for our learners as it shows off the power of nature and the selection of disasters, though treated sensitively, allows for an appreciation of ‘awe and wonder’. It derives its appeal from otherworldliness and as such doesn’t tie in with everyday experiences but seeks to cultivate an interest in world affairs. As well as this general knowledge component, cross curricular links with science are present.

The case studies opted for will not replicate those of GCSE study but will teach the practice of reading, writing and thinking about places affected by disasters; specifically Nepal (for its’ 2015 earthquake) & USA (for its’ 2004 Hurricane; Katrina). The multiple accounts of such disasters, as covered through quality media, offers scope for extended reading.

It is being taught early on in year 7 as the complexity of its science is considerable. It aides the further study of physical phenomena as found in the ‘natural world’ unit where there is considerable overlap between the theory of biomes and that of global atmospheric circulation, the basis of which is shown here.

unit overview - spring term

Topic: Globalisation


Locating features on a map using six-figure grid references

Interpreting a range of geographical information, including using grid references and scale, topographical and other thematic mapping

Using geographical information and my own observations to help me ask and respond to questions about places and environments


Measuring economic development

Factors that influence rates of development and the consequences of uneven development

The impact of rapid urban growth on quality of life
Ways to close the gap in development

How tourism growth in LICs and NEEs can reduce the development gap


Learners arrive to KS3 without much knowledge of economic affairs. The general dynamic of development as conveyed through the cycle of development / multiplier effect & the demographic transition model provides a frame of reference from which to understand the variations in development across the world. This is also seeking to correct misconceptions and vagueness which persists in answers like ‘countries develop by gaining more money’. The ability to understand the specific dynamics of development is useful for further study in KS4 where learners are required to have a theoretical grounding in development in order to go on and study in-depth case studies of LIC/NEE development as well as that of the UK.

This scheme of work is able to tap into learners’ sense of injustice which characterises the workings of much of the global economy. In particular, the issue of LIC sweatshops and environmental degradation are little known yet illuminating to learners. Critical scholarship and journalism including documentaries provides various sources of knowledge on such matters as Shell’s oil extraction in Nigeria and Nike’s characteristic working conditions in its global operations.

Though the work within this unit extends learners knowledge of the wider world more so than any other unit, the need to study places in their localised contexts is important. In this regard, we will view the developmental challenges faced by Nigeria. This provides an interesting insight into the challenges and opportunities faced by an NEE who continually trade off development against environmental, political and social concerns. In the next key stage, a UK case study is introduced which adds considerable complexity as a post industrial economy.

The depth of study of Nigeria will seek to rival that of the GCSE in offering the ability to think synoptically through the application of knowledge to unfamiliar contexts, e.g. given knowledge of Nigeria’s general context, what sort of development out of a given choice set, is appropriate for it to pursue.

Unit overview - summer term 

Topic: Geography of the UK


Application of Geographical analysis into new contexts

The principles of Physical geography and particularly the study of UK landscapes

The principles of Human geography and particularly the analysis of the UK’s internal issues


The physical features of the UK

The UK’s North South divide; causes and consequences

The causes and consequences of Brexit


This scheme of work seeks to apply Geography having taught key skills and conveyed important themes through the first two units of KS3 study; Worldwide Disasters and Global Development. As the former introduces atmospheric hazards we look here to where the UK is liable to suffer such hazards as flooding. Much of this can be ascertained from knowledge of the UK’s physical landscapes with specific reference to both coastal and river flooding.

Global Development in turn teaches of the existence of factors leading to more or less development such as trade, good government and resource endowments. The UK’s wider relations with the world including the EU offer an opportunity to appraise the Brexit decision with reference to these factors, again highlighting an application of Geographical thinking.

This scheme of work, then, is designed to vary year by year and should be attune to UK affairs in order to assert the importance of a Geographical lens. All knowledge aspects are variously covered by news media and are likely to be recognised as relevant by our learners. The content as such will likely NOT have a direct import into key stage 4 requirements but rather intends to foster strong Geographical thinking.

knowledge OrganiserS

A knowledge organiser is an important document that lists the important facts that learners should know by the end of a unit of work. It is important that learners can recall these facts easily, so that when they are answering challenging questions in their assessments and GCSE and A-Level exams, they are not wasting precious time in exams focusing on remembering simple facts, but making complex arguments, and calculations.

We encourage all pupils to use them by doing the following:

  • Quiz themselves at home, using the read, write, cover, check method.
  • Practise spelling key vocabulary
  • Further researching people, events and processes most relevant to the unit.