Leeds East Academy



Curriculum Intent - Geography

“The world as we know it is not 'given' and it can and it will change” – Lambert et al. 

Powerful Knowledge

Powerful knowledge in geography is not simply telling students what to think, but rather giving them the tools to learn how to think. Through high performance learning and the development of the advanced cognitive performance characteristics (ACPs) of meta-thinking students will continually develop their strategy planning, self-regulation, and skills in analysing and precision. In other words, it is important that our students are not just learning about facts, but are gaining a comprehensive and truthful understanding of these facts. As geography teachers, we know it is our responsibility to ensure every single one of our students have access to powerful knowledge and that we can actively promote the participation of all students in well-rounded geography education which is ambitious, engaging and highly effective in creating excellent geographers who develop skills in automaticity and logical or critical thinking. With geography placed within the communication strand of education at Leeds East Academy, a wide ranging and ambitious approach to literacy and oracy is a key feature of our curriculum.

To provide a basis to build a geography curriculum that fully embeds powerful knowledge within it, we have utilised the principles from Alaric Maude’s (2015) research into powerful knowledge which underpin our curriculum:

  • To provide students with new ways about thinking about the world.
  • To provide students with powerful ways of analysing, explaining and understanding different aspects of our world.
  • To provide students with power over their own geographical knowledge. Students will be equipped with an understanding of what makes geographical knowledge distinctive and truthful.
  • To enable students to follow and participate in debates on significant local, national and global issues.
  • To develop students’ knowledge of the world.

Our curriculum will be carefully planned and constantly reviewed to ensure that powerful knowledge continue to be at the heart of what we teach and provide for our students at Leeds East Academy.

Curriculum Features

Geography education at Leeds East Academy aims to equip students with the knowledge and skills to be successful global citizens. The curriculum follows a “spiral” approach where powerful knowledge is built upon and developed through Year 7 to 9. This curriculum forms the foundation of vital knowledge and skills which will be utilised and aid understanding of topics if they chose to study GCSE Geography. This curriculum approach means students will see the return to the same Geographical skills which matches the ACPS of meta-thinking, linking and analysing and knowledge throughout their school career, but with each encounter, there is an increased lay of complexity and an opportunity to reinforcing previous learning to embed this knowledge. Further to this, the curriculum uses SHAPE to allow students to “speak like a geographer” identified in each and every lesson. Reading opportunities are present throughout the curriculum and form an essential aspect of supporting literacy through class and homework. In key stage three the students begin in Year Seven by learning about their local community and its place in the UK before moving on to learn about each of the world’s continents, covering both human and physical aspects, throughout years eight and nine. The curriculum also focuses on Geographical skills.  These includes the analysis and use of a range of data, which will deepen their understanding of geographical processes. They will also be able to interpret a range of sources of geographical information, including maps, diagrams, globes, aerial photographs and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and finally to communicate this information in a variety of ways, including through maps, numerical and quantitative skills and writing at length.

Through this approach, students will be able to appreciate Geography as an academic subject that is dynamic and constantly evolving. Lesson will go beyond the students' everyday experiences and develop a comprehensive view of the world which will equip them with the understanding and knowledge about the global issues through a geographic lens such as global warming, Immigration, depletion of natural resources and the need to find alternative power sources. This will not only prepare students for the requirements of the GCSE course but will allow them to turn into well-rounded global citizens who are able to celebrate and be a part of the diversity within their local areas and across the UK. This contributes to the Values, Attitudes and Attributes (VAA) of empathy supporting High Performance Learning. As well, awareness of local, national and global geographical issues that will expand their cultural capital further develops students broad and deep understanding of the multitude of cultures and people around the world. They will also be given the tools to think about the social, economic and environmental future for a range of places beyond their own personal experiences.   

Cross Curricular & Wider Experiences

Geography is unique in that it requires the skills associated with both STEM and humanities academic disciplines. This specifically develops the high performance learning ACPs of analysing, meta-thinking and linking. Students at Leeds East Academy will be able to develop skills learnt in Maths and Science, as well as skills associated with English and History. As such, Geography has a unique and crucial place in a well-rounded, varied and comprehensive curriculum to support students social mobility through allowing access to a range of future qualifications and employment opportunities. 

The curriculum is also designed to give students an opportunity to access a wide range of wider experiences to provide an ambitious and aspirational ethos towards the subject. We are developing strong links with the University of Leeds who offer a range of experiences such as graduates coming into talk about pursuing geography at higher education level as well as providing lectures about geographic issues in the world today alongside the range of careers that can be accessed by undertaking Geography GCSE, for example environmental management, logistics and resource management. There is also an opportunity at KS4 for a Geography trip to London, visiting a wide range of attractions such as the Olympic Park, Thames Barrier and the Science Museum, which is an excellent opportunity for students to see what geography looks beyond the classroom and in the wider world. Events such as Earth Day and Geography Awareness Week are marked by events and competitions throughout the school to show that the discipline does not just exist in the classroom.

Students at Leeds East Academy also have multiple opportunities throughout their school experience to conduct fieldwork. This is a key part of the Geography Curriculum, which is vital in expanding on student experiences through developing employability skills in teamwork and communication and applying learnt knowledge in the classroom to the real world. Fieldwork is a core component of the GCSE curriculum, but there are opportunities throughout Key Stage 3 for fieldwork to take place.

For any further information regarding the geography offer at Leeds East Academy, please contact Ms Devenish - devenish.j@whiteroseacademies.org  

Curriculum Journey - Key Stage 3

Geography Curriculum Journey - Key Stage 3

Curriculum Journey - Key Stage 4 

Geography Curriculum Journey - Key Stage 4