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Geography is essentially about understanding the world we live in. It helps to provoke and provide answers to questions about the natural and human aspects of the world.


At Rugby Free Secondary school children are encouraged to develop a greater understanding and knowledge of the world, as well as their place in it. The geography curriculum enables students to develop knowledge and skills that are transferrable to other curriculum areas. 

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The study of geography is about 

more than just memorising places 

on a map. It's about understanding 

the complexity of our world, 

appreciating the diversity of cultures 

that exists across continents. 


Barack Obama

Geography Department - Overarching Curriculum Intent (September 2023) 


RFSS Curriculum Vision Statement: 

Geography is about understanding the world around us.  Where, why and how events in the world happen.  It encourages a curious mind and to ask as many questions as they find answers.   

We are preparing our students to have an interest and knowledge of the world around them.  The human and physical landscapes that shape our  world and their lives.   

To become global citizens with a view as being a part of the world, not just a bystander looking from the outside.   


Geography Curriculum in Context: 

We provide a carefully sequenced and knowledge rich Geography curriculum that allows for the progressive development of students understanding of geographical concepts and skills. From Year 7 through to eventual A Level, students will hone in on concepts such as cause and effect, management, sustainability and conflict whilst developing skills such as drawing and reading graphs, reading maps and photo analysis. 

Our curriculum comprises a balance of human and physical Geography. Each student is provided with a visual curriculum map to ensure they are aware of their learning journey. We want our students to be curious about the world around them. To encourage this, each unit begins with an enquiry question. Throughout the unit, students become equipped with the knowledge and skills required to answer this question. This guides the lesson sequence and allows us to measure the impact of our curriculum. 

Without a strong starting point, it is impossible to measure progress effectively. Therefore, every student completes a baseline assessment at the beginning of Year 7. We have a large number of feeder schools so it is important to gain an understanding of what a student knows and can do, as well as any gaps in their learning. This information is then used to inform the scaffolding and level of challenge required in the first unit, Fantastic places. This unit focuses on the concept of scale and provides students with a grounding in geographical skills. 

Concepts and skills are continuously revisited, but in a more challenging capacity. For example, in Year 7 students are introduced to the concept of development and the many ways it can be measured. In Year 8, students revisit this concept when assessing the impacts of natural hazards, and why this varies across the world.  By revisiting concepts in different contexts, students can begin to make connections and develop their schema. 

Every subject is communicated through its own unique language. Our curriculum develops student’s disciplinary literacy by providing opportunities to read and actively engage with challenging geographical texts. Some examples include extracts from Prisoners of Geography and Factfulness, as well as a range of articles, policy documents and fiction texts. We encourage students to strengthen their oracy when discussing and presenting ideas, and provide explicit vocabulary instruction to support students in accessing and using geographical terminology. 

Barak Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction (2012) and Doug Lemov’s Teach like a Champion (2014) strategies are employed to develop our teaching practice in Geography. We ensure students retain knowledge by interleaving learning. This leads to improved knowledge retention and allows students to make connections between concepts and ideas. Retrieval practice is used in every lesson in the form of Do IT Now Activities (DIN) to ensure students are constantly reviewing their learning and addressing misconceptions. We provide guided practice through the ‘I, We, You’ method and show call students work to maximise accountability and build resilience. 


Curriculum Aims: 


Our curriculum aims to: 

  • To have curious students, who ask questions and to enable them to think critically about Geography and communicate confidently through their writing and oracy.  

  • To develop a geographer in every student.  To have the skills, confidence and knowledge to be able to become global citizens.  Having the ability to make their own judgements and ideas based on a strong foundational knowledge.  

  • To nurture a passion for Geography.  To be able to appreciate the world around them.  To give students a thirst to know about and see the world.  

  • To enable students to question the world around them, not just accept what they are told.  To be able to filter from all the noise of information.  



We do this by: 

  • Building a sequenced curriculum that enables students to engage in geography, developing the skills necessary to become a geographer  

  •  Providing opportunities and encouraging students to stretch and challenge their knowledge and understanding beyond the classroom.  

  • To ask “big” questions that stretch and challenge their understanding of the world.  

  • Building opportunities for our students to engage in fieldwork, proving them with the skills and techniques in carrying out investigations.  

  • Building a sequenced curriculum which presents opportunities for our students to engage with the disciplinary knowledge that underpins our subject, second order concepts such as cause, consequence, change and continuity. 

  • Providing a geographical framework to help our students make sense of the world, beyond their own.  

  • Provide the foundations for all our students to become global citizens  


Curriculum Outcome: 

By the time students leave RFSS, they will: 

  • Have secure knowledge of where places are and what they are like 

  • Have respect and appreciation of diverse places, cultures, people and resources 

  • Have an understanding of the complex interrelations of the human and physical world 

  • Be able to express well-balanced opinions and support, evaluate and challenge the opinions of others 

  • Be able to plan, conduct and evaluate fieldwork collaboratively using geographical skills and techniques 

  • Be passionate about Geography and continue to be curious about our ever changing world. 


Please view or download our 'Sequence Overview' document for Geography

  • Kindness
    We regularly give ‘shout outs’ for staff who have gone above and beyond and demonstrated an exceptional display of one of our values We encourage and try to support flexible working requests and promote ‘family values’ as something that makes the workforce distinctive. We try to ensure staff have the opportunity to attend personal events or celebrations when requested and within agreed time frame.
  • Collaboration
    We have an active Staff Wellbeing committee who meet regularly to discuss staff wellbeing and workload. We provide all new staff with a ‘buddy’ to provide support and advice. We plan a variety of staff social events across the year. We provide staff with a free lunch on the day of their duty. We have regular staff breakfasts, provide food on all CPD days and occasional treats such as Pizza!
  • Curiosity
    We invest heavily in staff CPD and both promote and support opportunities to develop staff. We provide opportunities for all staff to network and visit other schools to improve their practice and share great ideas.
  • Respect
    We have a Staff Room, where staff can meet, work and even socialise Each faculty has its own staff work room We have regular appraisal conversations to discuss career progression
  • Resilience
    We promote resilience through our reflective CPD pathways. We have an area in the staff room dedicated to wellbeing which is used to promote health and wellbeing. We share weekly health and wellbeing information.
  • Endeavour
    Promote a work life balance by being considerate when sending emails and holding meetings. We will endeavor to celebrate our staff and their achievements on a regular basis, for example; a black tie celebration evening.
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