Geography Vision

For all students to acquire a sound knowledge base of both Human and Physical Geography. To develop an analytical understanding of the world through discussion and written responses on case studies and topical issues. The Geography Department at BHS is a place where children can explore the world and gain a deeper understanding of the planet they live on. We endeavour to make a safe environment, so pupils can ask questions and form their own enquiry’s for learning. We want to open children’s eyes to show them that there is more to the world than where they come from. To show them that natural processes are happening all around them, all the time and the way in which humans have developed works in conjunction with the natural Earth. We believe that Geography explains the past, illuminates the present and prepares us for the future, we think everyone should have the opportunity to study Geography to enrich their lives for the better.


The Geography curriculum, builds on prior learning from Key Stage 2 to broaden their understanding and appreciation of the human and physical world and how they interact. They are challenged to learn through the use of ‘BIG Questions’ and are required to think hard in lessons using a variety of skills from defining, calculating describing and explaining to ‘higher order’ skills such as answering “to what extent” questions where students have to give both sides of the argument. Geographical skills are embedded throughout the key stages such as analysing graphs and maps.

The National Curriculum Program of Study and AQA specification are used as a guideline for content. Topics are sequenced in a logical way, cumulatively building skills and knowledge. For example, in term 1 in year 7 students’ study basic geographical knowledge and skills and identify the difference between Physical and Human Geography students develop their map skills such as, direction, grid referencing, scale and locational knowledge, these skills are used throughout the Geography course. Knowledge underpins our curriculum therefore Physical and Human Geography have equal weighting throughout KS3 and KS4. Pupils are given a road map at the start of their unit of work so that they know what they’ll be learning, the skills they’ll develop, why they need to know this and how they’ll learn it; this helps them understand how this subject links to others. Pupils understand the sequence and what they are required to learn as a result of using key learning concepts checklists (KLC’s). Spaced retrieval, low stakes testing, and repeated practice are used to ensure that concepts are understood, and knowledge remembered. We place emphasis on the acquisition of subject specific vocabulary, modelling and explaining this in our teaching and facilitating exposure to it using ‘real-life’ application of their learning, for example using OS (Ordnance Survey) maps and climate graphs in The Duke of Edinburgh. Different job sectors are signposted on the learning objectives in each lesson.


At KS3 students study Geography for one hour a week and we study a topic a term. Students study real-life 21st century global issues that are relevant so that disadvantaged students and students with SEND engage in the curriculum such as migration, deforestation, climate change and sweat shops. Lessons encompass- variety of countries such as, Rio, India, Russia, The UK, China, and The UAE (United Arab Emirates) to allow students to understand the similarities and differences between countries. They develop their geographical skills using a skills rubric from low demand questions to higher order questions. Every lesson has objectives that are split in to Expected, Challenge and Stretch which enables all students to achieve. To make sure SEND and disadvantaged students make progress we use visual aids, sentence starters, modelling and keywords. Literacy is promoted throughout the course and SPAG is marked in some of the big questions using a rubric.

Assessment KS3

Pupils will be assessed on two key pieces per topic which will be assessed against a skills rubric. These are designed to challenge all abilities and allow pupils to master key concepts and skills over the course of Key Stage 3. At the end of every term test we include questions from previous topics so that students remember long term content. The skills rubric is used to create the questions so that the questions follow a system for example, the tests include basic recall questions such as label, define, calculate, and work up to describe, explain and evaluate questions. Formatting the tests in this way means that all students access the assessment.


At KS4- students study the AQA Specification 1-9 and have 3 hours of Geography a week. We teach Physical and Human Geography in alternate terms so that students have breadth of study throughout the year. The following skills are intertwined throughout all topics; geographical, numerical, statistical, and cartographical. Student carry out fieldwork in the summer term in Year 10, students investigate the impact of urban regeneration in Burnley Town Centre and come to a judgement if it has brought more social and economic opportunities. They also apply their physical geography knowledge of rivers to investigate if The River Don follows The Bradshaw Model.

Assessment KS4

KS4- GCSE questions are used every other lesson and they use a lot of peer and self-assessment with model answers. Summative assessment at the end of each topic we use past GCSE questions and mark schemes. In each test knowledge and skills are used from prior topics as well as the current topic so students recall and retain information.

Geography Road Maps

Curriculum Map

I love BHS because it really does feel like a family. All staff and students know each other, are extremely supportive of one another and show amazing levels of respect throughout the school. There really isn’t another school like it!”

Miss Yates