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Head of Department
Mrs Heather Brennan


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

Our Geography department is a thriving, dynamic environment. The aim of our curriculum is to enthuse 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 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. We emphasise the development of geographical skills (disciplinary knowledge), real life functions, the use of carefully selected case studies and learning about physical processes in our lesson delivery. Lessons often incorporate map reading skills, 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. Covid-19, conflicts in Afghanistan, Ukraine and resulting migration and impacts of natural disasters like the recent flooding in Pakistan.

A bespoke geography curriculum has been 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 holds memberships and is affiliated with the Royal Geographical Society, The Geographical Association, The Prince of Wales Teaching Institute, The Geological Society and The National College.

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.

We encourage pupils to develop their procedural knowledge of Geography through fieldwork outside the classroom and by offering visits to Chester Zoo and Brockholes Nature Reserve to complement the teaching of ecosystems. There is also a strong membership and active work undertaken by the pupil-led Eco-Club. In the summer term 2021 students undertook a 2 night residential fieldwork visit to Grassington, working in partnership with the Yorkshire Dales National Park education team, to complete the John Muir Award. We want pupils to develop an understanding and awareness of the many challenges facing our planet including climate change, population growth and sustainable energy.

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.

Pupils participate in field trips in contrasting rural and urban environments.  This enables pupils to gain practical experience of both environments as well as developing skills such as data handling and evaluation. Fieldwork at KS4 supports pupils to investigate changing characteristics on the River Wyre and investigate tourism, the rural landscape and sedimentary rocks at Malham Cove.

Please note, every subject exercise book your child has contains a subject ‘Pleckgate Learning Journey’ that outlines the content covered, timelines and assessment points for the current year.

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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