‘The study of geography is about more than memorizing places on a map. It’s about understanding the complexity of our world, appreciating the diversity of cultures that exist across continents. And in the end, it’s about using all that knowledge to help bridge divides.’ – Barack Obama


When children arrive at secondary school, their impression of geography is usually the memorizing of countries and capital cities and the repetition of trivia. At Matthew Arnold we believe this is just the starting point to a geography curriculum that explores place and space, environment and people. At both KS3 and KS4, our geography curriculum connects subject areas as diverse as biology and geology with history and business, as well as overlapping with subjects not covered at GCSE, such as politics and economics. In covering both human and physical geography and their interactions, we also equip our students with the skills and cultural insights necessary to reflect and comment upon a range of local, national and global issues. From economic globalisation, to the relentless expansion of their own Greater London urban area, to the looming issue of climate change, geography students at Matthew Arnold should be able to leave as informed global citizens, encouraged to study Geography further at A Level or university. Alternatively, geography provides a huge skillset, which can be adapted to whichever employment path they choose. Along the way we impart skills in terms of not only map reading but also data collection and presentation and statistics, which are common essentials in most contemporary workplaces.

Key Stage 3

Students begin with an introduction to key geographical skills they will require over the course of KS3.

Year 7

In the Autumn term we cover the key skills needed over the course of KS3 and how the world was formed, studying the changes in the earth from Pangea to the present day. Students gain an insight into Development around the world, how the UK has developed, how development is measured and also looking at development around the world in LICs and NICs. We delve deeply into the development of India, how it is developing as a nation and the issues surrounding this.

During the spring term Students will study natural hazards such as Volcanoes and Tsunamis taking a look at the physical factors of these topics such as why these hazards exist and then we look at the impacts of these hazards on developed and un developed nations allowing students to understand the wide variety of issues and impacts these have on countries and their populations.

Continuing on with this comparison students will then take an in depth look at continents and the factors that affect them, allowing them to solidify the prior terms knowledge and getting a deep and well-rounded view of the world.

In the summer term, students then focus on Elizabeth I- Religion, poverty, society structure and then renaissance medicine where people start to question medieval beliefs.

During the Summer term students will return to looking at physical geography and the wide range of ecosystems around the world, their features and the human impacts and protection efforts put in place.

Finally we focus on our local environment and how Staines has changed and developed, using a variety of fieldwork skills to analyse areas such as pollution, crime and the impacts of local developments within the area 


Year 8

Students start with the study of Coasts, they gain an understanding of the many different features of the coast, from how beaches are formed to the management and prevention of coastal erosion. They move on to analyse the impact of Climate change and its consequences.

We then focus on the study natural resources, what they are, the impacts of exploiting many of these on a local and global scale and the wide variety of sustainable resources able to be harnessed such as solar energy and the tides.

In the summer term we focus on the study of crime and inequality. Students consider the factors that lead to crimes being committed in certain areas using fieldwork skills and also analysing why crime and inequality can be intrinsically linked We then move onto study Conflict and its impacts, focussing on conflicts between groups on the construction of HS2, how land mines and civil war affect areas of Africa to this day and how it changes the face of the world physically and politically.

Key Stage 4

Year 9

Autumn term: The GCSE course commences with the study of Theme 1 where we do an in depth study of Rural and Urban change, Global cities and their development, incorporating plenty of exam practice and placing the topics into context. In the Spring Term: we focus on Development around the world and then In the summer term we will move onto looking at our first physical geography topic of Rivers, how they form, flooding and the management and impacts of flooding on local populations including a variety of case studies comparing the impacts and management of rivers around the world


Year 10

Autumn term: This year the majority of focus will be on Theme 2. Students will focus on Weather and climate looking at synoptic charts, understanding weather patterns and why weather varies around the globe. We will then move on to looking at climate changes, taking an in depth look into both the physical and human reasons for climate change and a variety of case studies on its impacts.

Spring term: students will complete climate change analysing and move on to Theme 3 which solidifies the knowledge gained over the course of theme 1 and theme 2 by analysing the impacts of topics including Desertification and how and why this is occurring in both developed and undeveloped countries such as the USA and Chad.

Summer term: students commence their study of water supply, including in depth studies on over abstraction of water in certain countries and its impacts and trans boundary water issues looking at the impact on other countries as a result of river management on a shared river. We then finally take a deeper look into ecosystems and the human impact and management focussing on the Tropical Rainforests and Mangroves


Year 11

This year students will look at a recap of Rivers and skills. We will then focus on fieldwork focussing on analysing an area and the skills needed to measure data from qualitative surveys looking at two specific and contrasting areas to reach conclusions.

We will then finally focus on our final topic of coasts, an in depth recap of coasts learned during lock down and move on to revision of the course before the students exams

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