Subject Leader – Paula Shanahan (ShanahanP@themanor.notts.sch.uk)
Geography at The Manor Academy is a thriving subject area which aims to interest and engage all students. We provide every student with the opportunities to make excellent progress, to develop in self confidence and to find excitement in learning. The topics we cover are varied, with skills heavily embedded into the teaching and learning throughout. All students focus on the core skill of thinking geographically, with regular assessments throughout all key stages to assess learning. The geography staff are a dedicated and motivated team, who bring a wide range of skills and interests to the department. They have high expectations and provide support to students to ensure these expectations can be met.
Key Stage 3
At key stage 3, the students study a wide range of topics designed to compliment the KS4 curriculum. There is a mixture of both physical and human geography topics, with geographical skills embedded into the lesson. Teaching is based around the enquiry approach to learning, which fosters the students interests and generates a real thirst for knowledge. Assessments are a mixture of short answer questions and extended writing, and this introduces the students to the skills they will need to ensure success at GCSE.
In year 7 students are taught topics such as map skills and knowledge of geographical places. Students also look at their local area such as Mansfield and Nottingham as well as studying an emerging economy (NEE) and a low income country (LIC).
We aim to teach a range of interesting topics throughout the key stage such as Uncertain futures” – a look at the risks to the world, both natural and man made. We look at the geography of disease, conflict and migration, as well as super volcanoes. This leads nicely into the next topic of climate change, where we look at both natural and anthropogenic causes. There is a focus on group work, with students building upon their skills of independent learning.
All students study AQA geography at KS4, with a 3 year course which begins in Y9. The course cumulates in the students sitting 3 exam papers, one of which is specifically designed to assess fieldwork and skills application. Students begin with a skills topic, to embed the learning done throughout Y7 and Y8. Physical landscapes, including coastal environments and rivers are studied in the second term, with case studies providing real life examples of the things we are learning about. Biomes, including hot deserts and the tropical rainforest are covered for the rest of the year.
During Y10 students visit Burbage Brook to carry out fieldwork in order to do an independent investigation, which will form the basis of Paper 3. Other topics covered in Y10 include natural hazards and climate change, both of which build upon the knowledge developed during KS3. We also take the students away on a one night residential to PGL at Caythorpe Court, to partake in revision sessions in a fun and informal environment.
Year 11 continues to provide teaching of both physical and human geography, looking at changes to the urban environment together with the changing economy of the UK making the topics relevant to the students. Skills continue to be embedded into teaching, with an emphasis on exam technique and application of knowledge. Students will have the brilliant opportunity to revise for the remainder of the year and practice key skills.
Facilities and resources
The department has its own suite of classrooms, which are equipped for the teaching of geography. We have access to the computer suite when necessary, to enable students to utilize GIS and other programmes as part of their learning.
The department runs varies field work trips to enhance the classroom learning, and intend to further develop these over the next academic year. There are intervention sessions and homework help available, and staff are always looking for new ways to enhance the experience of the students on the geography course.