Teaching British Values through Geography

In Geography we promote British Values by helping students to understand others through examining the circumstances in which they live and realising that the British Isles (and other communities) are stronger as a diverse, multi-cultural society.  This begins in Year 7 when students compare the lives of people in Kenya in both rural and urban areas (to dispel the stereotype that all countries and areas in Africa are “poor”) and continues through to include migration as a focus in Year 8 to help students examine the reality that migrants are focused on providing a better future for themselves and their families and not to “steal” benefits and jobs as some political parties would have them believe.  Finally, in Year 9 students examine development to understand the role that the British Isles has played in hindering the development of other countries historically and to give students a sense of empathy and responsibility for the quality of life of others around the globe.

Key Stage 3


Year 7

In year 7, students will be introduced to the basic skills needed to succeed in Geography throughout their time at Ark Putney Academy.  Students will learn how to use maps effectively and to analyse data through the use of graphs.  Students will examine the British Isles and how the people within it interact in different locations as well as with other countries in the world.  This will then be compared to life in Kenya, a less economically developed country, including what people’s lives are like in both cities and more rural environments.  Students will then study how rivers shape the land around us through physical processes as well looking at the disastrous effects of flooding both in Britain and abroad and how these hazards can be managed.  Finally students examine settlements; from how our ancestors picked the correct locations for their homes to how these sites grew over time to become the major cities around the world today.

Year 8

The year 8 curriculum begins by looking at the topical subject of migration, including the reasons for migration and the impacts, both positive and negative, that it has on the country that people are emigrating from and the one they are immigrating to.  Students will assess their local community to determine whether it is sustainable and suggest what could be done to help improve it, which will lead them into looking at the sustainability of humans across the world as a whole.  This will focus on our dependence on fossil fuels and the impacts that dependence is having on the world around us, as well as the possibility of a future without these resources.  Students will be challenged on if Dubai is really the “City of the Future” or will inevitably fall into disrepair and disaster as we overlook the difficulties the location faces from different economic, social and environmental standpoints.  Finally students will examine coastal locations and the physical processes that create great landforms such as Old Harry Rock but also threaten the communities that have been built on such changeable locations around the world.

Year 9

Students identify how and why the rate of development of different countries varies so greatly and the impact this has upon the citizens of various countries around the world, coming to a conclusion on if they believe how MEDCs treat their poorer counterparts is fair.  This allows students to more effectively examine China (a country going through great changes, both economically and socially) and if it will continue on its journey as a global superpower.  Students then examine the most physically destructive and potentially dangerous natural phenomena on the planet, volcanoes and earthquakes, including how they form, the hazards they create and the ways we struggle to reduce the damage they can have on the people that live near to them.  Finally students compare the different extreme climates that are found around the world and understand how different plants and animals have adapted and thrive in these harsh conditions.

Key Stage 4

Year 10

In year 10 students start their Geography GCSE by examining the physical world around them, its use and how it impacts their lives and the lives of the people around the UK and the rest of the world.  This focuses on rivers and flooding, management of coastal locations, explaining how and why the climate varies around the world and examining the issues posed by climate change. 

This will be explored further through a range of field trips, including to an area of coastline under threat from erosion and the River Thames near Kingston and Hampton Court Palace to contrast how potential flooding can be prevented and managed.  The field trips will emphasise how students can use mathematics in a real world application to analyse what they find and to draw conclusions.

Year 10 culminates with students examining urbanisation and the issues (and positives) it is having across the globe by contrasting the impacts felt in London to “world cities” in other countries, such as Mumbai and Nairobi.


Year 11

At the beginning of year 11 continue to look at the contemporary problems facing urban and rural areas including the lack of housing and transportation hubs (including airports) in the UK and how this may impact the sustainable future of the country.  Pupils then link this to how other countries around the world are developing at different rates and the social, economic, environmental and historical reasons for their current rate of development as well as the moral responsibility of more developed nations to aid those most in need.

The main focus of year 11 is to enhance student’s ability to debate global issues and to give their opinions on if different governments (including global governing bodies like the UN) are making the correct decisions to prevent a range of potential disasters such as mass deforestation, desertification and water shortages.


Key Stage 5

A Level Geography

A Level Geography students further their scientific understanding of the systems that are vital for continued human survival; including physical concepts such as the Water and Carbon Cycle and how humans are impacting both, apparently beyond our or the planets ability to repair.  This unit is driven heavily by the analysis and understanding of past data and using them to predict the implications for the future if we continue on the course we appear to be setting ourselves on.

We then examine how global warming has changed the planet that was (18,000 years ago) in an ice age and the dramatic landscapes that have been left behind in areas like the Lake District by the glaciers that once covered the British Isles.

Finally we study the more extreme hazards that face us; volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, tropical storms and wildfires.  Students will understand what causes these deadly hazards, how we can attempt to reduce the damage they cause and the role humans are playing in increasing their frequency and severity.

In Human Geography students look at how global governance is making the world a “smaller place” through increased travel and communication.  They will assess if this is having a positive impact on the lives of people in the UK and around the world before investigating the surrounding issues of economic migration and refugees and how different nations are seeking to solve these crises.

Students then study how different communities are changing in the face of globalisation, with a focus on towns and cities and how different stakeholders view government backed regeneration or company driven gentrification.

The last area of Human Geography links back to students studies in Key Stage 4 and gives them the opportunity to scrutinise in more detail the issues of resource security; focusing on water, oil and mineral resources.  This will include how some countries jealously guard their resources they have while other attempt to flood the global markets in an effort to reduce the power of competing nations and the conflict this leads to.


Controlled Assessment

As well as their teacher led studies students taking Geography A level have the opportunity to plan and lead a field trip to study an area of the course they feel most interested in.  This is a great opportunity to further their own interests and is an excellent conversation point in University and job interviews as it shows a level of both teamwork and independence that cannot be given by other A level subjects.