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Please note: School will be closed from Thursday 28th March from 2.40pm and will reopen on Monday 15th April at 8.20am however school will be open to support Year 11 in their final exam preps from Tuesday 2nd April – Friday 12 April between 10am -4pm.


Head of Department
Mrs Heather Brennan


  • Bachelor of Science in Geography and Geology
  • PGCE in Secondary Education and Geography

Overview and Vision
Our Geography department is an inclusive, thriving, dynamic environment. The aim of our curriculum is to enthuse all pupils about the world in which they live and equip them with the knowledge required to be successful and fully engaged geographers.

Geography is about developing a rich schema of places, people and the environment. Pupils develop a variety of investigative skills as they cover different countries, ecosystems and geographical processes at KS3 and explore these in greater depth at KS4. Each term, pupils are immersed in learning about the world around them through different topics with several strands of common learning visited over time; human geography (people in places), physical geography (natural processes and landscapes), locational knowledge, geographical skills including GIS and fieldwork (procedural knowledge).

Pupils develop core knowledge and understanding with recall and retention tests. The application of knowledge is key to success in geography (disciplinary knowledge). We emphasise the development of geographical skills (procedural knowledge), real life functions, the use of carefully selected case studies and learning about physical processes in our lesson delivery (substantive knowledge). Lessons often incorporate map reading skills, GIS, develop literacy skills, the use of ipads and google classroom. We use relevant and up to date case studies of real-life examples to exemplify the topics covered . Wherever possible the pupils study work that is topical and linked to the curriculum to give them real life examples of geography in practice, e.g. conflicts in Afghanistan, Ukraine and resulting migration and impacts of natural disasters like the recent earthquake in Morocco.

During years 7, 8 and 9 pupils follow lessons that meet the broad aims of the national curriculum, covering a variety of topics including local, national and international places, such as Africa, China and Russia as well as physical processes affecting landscapes, climate change, ecosystems, population and international development.

Pupils in years 10 & 11 build on the skills and learning from KS3 geography lessons and follow the Edexcel syllabus A GCSE specification. Focus is placed on the physical environment, the human environment as well as geographical investigations and UK challenges.

Subject Knowledge and Pedagogy
A bespoke geography curriculum has been purposefully sequenced and devised by experienced specialist teachers based on the national curriculum at KS3 and in collaboration with external agencies and examiners to develop academic rigour at KS4 in GCSE Geography A from Edexcel. The subject specialist teachers at Pleckgate have a range of experience in human and physical geography, linked to their own university studies. To keep our teachers up to date with current practice and develop their own pedagogy the department is part of the Blackburn with Darwen Geography Teacher Network, participates in CPD events and bespoke training, holds memberships and is affiliated with the Royal Geographical Society, The Geographical Association, The Geological Society and The National College.

We encourage pupils to develop their substantive and procedural knowledge of Geography by offering visits that link to the curriculum.

In year 7 students have the opportunity to visit Chester Zoo and Brockholes Nature Reserve to complement the teaching of ecosystems.

In the summer term in year 8, students can take part in a two night residential fieldwork visit to Grassington, working in partnership with the Yorkshire Dales National Park education team, to complete the John Muir Award.

In year 9 there are opportunities to be part of a water quality workshop run by Ribble Rivers Trust, and visit Blackpool to investigate sea defences, and tourism regeneration.

There is also a strong membership, with over 45 members, and active work undertaken by the pupil-led Eco-Club. We want pupils to develop an understanding and awareness of the many challenges facing our planet including climate change, population growth and sustainable energy. To this end the Eco-Club has been awarded the Eco Schools Green Flag with Merit, attended the North West Sustainability Conference at Ewood Park and sent representatives to the COP-26 style school conference at Stonyhurst.

Field Work
At least annually at KS3, every student undertakes a fieldwork task to practise and use their fieldwork skills and techniques whilst drawing together different forms of geographical knowledge. The students ‘think like geographers’ as they work through all stages of their investigations and develop their procedural knowledge by:

  • Formulating hypothesis or a key question
  • Preparing suitable methods for the investigation, that they must also risk assess
  • Collecting primary data using equipment (quadrats/ litter pickers/ anemometers etc.)
  • Recording their findings
  • Presenting data in tables and graphs
  • Comparing and analysing data
  • Looking for patterns in their data
  • Drawing conclusions linked to the hypothesis
  • Evaluating and suggesting improvements for the future.

Developing further, at GCSE level, pupils participate in fieldwork trips in contrasting rural and urban environments. This enables pupils to gain practical experience of new techniques such as designing and collecting data using questionnaires and creating annotated field sketches. Fieldwork at KS4 supports pupils’ disciplinary and substantive knowledge from their GCSE units of work on component 1 and 2, to investigate changing characteristics on the River Wyre and investigate the quality of the rural environment, the impact of tourism and sedimentary rocks at Malham Cove.

Geography teachers at Pleckgate set high expectations for every student in their lessons. This means stretching more able students and, equally, providing challenge for students who have low levels of prior attainment or come from disadvantaged backgrounds. The staff get to know the pupils’ as individuals and create a safe, productive learning environment that is appropriate for all.

Learning  Journeys

Year 7 Learning Journey – Geography
Year 8 Learning Journey – Geography
Year 9 Learning Journey – Geography
Year 10 Learning Journey – Geography
Year 11 Learning Journey – Geography

Mrs H Brennan

The Community of Pleckgate has a local secondary school it can be proud of. It provides an excellent education for all its pupils. They flourish in a bright, positive and secure environment”

Ofsted 2019

Ofsted Outstanding Provider
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