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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.



unit overview - autumn term

Topic: Cities in the 21st Century


Using a range of mapping techniques to explain the distribution of geographical features

Descriptive skills to show how human processes can change the features of places

Showing knowledge to identify characteristics of an area studied


Patterns in world population growth and urbanisation

The factors affecting the rate of urbanisation and the emergence of megacities

The opportunities and challenges faced by major cities in developing nations

The urban planning strategies that can be used to improve the lives of urban poor

The opportunities and challenges faced by a major city in the UK

The features of sustainable urban living in the UK


Harrow High school learners have a varied knowledge of urban issues but almost uniformly have little perception of distant cities and the quality of life issues that persist there. The importance of the unit is derived from the fact that the urban revolution is continuing apace such that the urban population of the world has now overtaken that of the rural. It stands to reason that Geographical concerns whether they be developmental or merely descriptive accounts, need to adjust to this. Reformed specifications have reflected these real world developments and as such we are preparing learners for the next key stage’s highest weighted human geography unit.

This scheme of work is interesting for our learners as there is a renewed emphasis on local geography that is relevant to everyday experience. Resources have been provided by the London curriculum which aim to show various contemporary issues like inequality and the changing world of work in specific local contexts. Study of London comprises the first half of this unit.

The wider world context of this scheme of work is the component relating to NEE cities; the present century is likely to be characterised by a power shift towards large Asian cities. As such the example city set, Shanghai, follows from a concern with mutual understanding in an area of increasing globalisation. Cross curricular links may then be present with economics. This does in fact vary from the next key stage’s requirements in that doesn’t present knowledge of squatter settlements with this feature not recognisably present in larger Chinese cities. A lot of quality newspaper coverage has been dedicated to the rise of Asian economies; the engine of growth for which has been larger city regions. This should provide material for extended reading.

unit overview - spring term 

Topic: Global Ecosystems


Describing physical features at a variety of scales

Routinely using globes, atlases and various maps

Showing knowledge to identify characteristics of an area studied


Small scale Ecosystems and their component parts

The characteristics of a tropical rainforest

The effects of deforestation on tropical rainforests

The characteristics of hot deserts

The development of hot desert areas


Typically learners by the time they have reached KS3 have some knowledge of rainforests and little knowledge of deserts. Knowledge of both at a superficial level may be supported by having watched nature documentaries. It is key to introduce an analytical framework through which to interpret some of this general knowledge. The assumption of biomes as an ecosystem with abioitic and biotic components is important in this regard. Other manifestations of these interrelationships like food webs and food chains support learning in biology as well as Geography.

This scheme of work derives its interest from being otherworldly as it is provoking an interest in environments recognisably different from our own. This being said, an increasing awareness of our role as consumers and global citizens offers the opportunity to connect the survival of ecosystems to choices made by consumer societies. Analyses of rainforests and deserts extend learners knowledge of climate change and extreme poverty respectively. This is because rainforests are part of natural fixes to the latter, as ‘carbon sinks’ perform key ecosystem services and extreme poverty is most likely to occur within desert or semi-desertified areas.

The knowledge and examples set within our KS3 study are different from GCSE as it offers foundational knowledge on the generic features of these two global biomes and human interactions with them through deforestation and desertification though doesn’t look to provide solutions to these. The examples selected are the Malaysian rainforest rather than the Amazon which we shall take up at Key stage 4. The desert chosen is the Thar Desert as Pakistan/India’s pressing developmental needs causes interesting human -nature interactions.The evolution of the popular nature documentary genre to capture human impacts of development in these terrains is a welcome development though requires supplementary material of which there is much, especially on Malaysia’s attempts to develop economically. From this, RWT tasks can be built.

unit overview - summer

Topic: Geography of the World


Application of Geographical analysis into new contexts

The principles of Physical geography and particularly the study of natural disasters

The principles of Human geography and particularly the analysis of factors influencing development


Global Conflict: causes and consequences

Changing global politics of the next century

Global Climate change


This scheme of work seeks to apply Geography having taught key skills and conveyed important themes throughout KS3 study. One such example is that of Global climate change. Here the importance of human-environment interactions are important as much of the content requires consideration of the natural world and how humans can trade off the ability to derive wealth with protection of finite resources. As learners gradually move towards KS4 study, the difference between adaptation and mitigation is introduced as important categories.

Global conflict provides a particular point of interest for learners. This is because war is typically unexamined across curricula meaning that learners have a curiosity about news items they’ve heard without any framework for comprehending it. It is likely to be of relevance for our diverse learner population, who are likely to be personally aware of some of the conflicts that are addressed.

Though none of the content except for global climate change is assessed at KS4, the changing global politics content in particular reiterates another geographical theme, that of synopticity. As environmental catastrophe, changing global technologies and other factors help to determine political power in the coming years, asking learners to apply some of their foundational learning from all other KS3 units into analysing such shifts.

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.