Teaching Challenge (2/5)

2. Developing Key Stage 3

With an ever-changing world, it is time for our Geography curriculum to change. Since joining Gillingham School in September 2009, we have rewritten the GCSE course and made amendments to the A Level course. Now that they are finally in place we can turn our attention to Key Stage 3.

Key Stage 3 is the building block of geography within every secondary school. It is where some students are only just learning the subject for the first time and building upon the foundations of their learning at KS2. We are turning KS3 upside down on its head at Gillingham and shaking it for the first time in several years. We already have a large uptake at GCSE and the students enjoy their lessons. We it is time for a change, to gain the skills and knowledge required at KS4 and beyond, a new layout must be put in place.

Currently we teach five/six topics across each year group. With students becoming more interactive and demanding more knowledge, we have decided to go for a format of eight separate topics of eight lessons each. We currently teach four lessons over a two-week timetable. This means topics will interchange at a fast rate, we won’t get bogged down in one topics and it keeps it exciting for the students.

We do seem to be on a continuous cycle of rewriting, but we must not forget the building blocks of a successful education. Key Stage 3 can be sometimes be forgotten about in this world of examinations at KS4 and 5. The young students at KS3 need the skills and knowledge to help them in their later geography education. It also means we can dip out of the curriculum when we need to – eight topics x four weeks = 32 weeks out of 39 teaching weeks. This would enable free time for us to look at world events that take place i.e. Geography Awareness Week, Fairtrade Fortnight, Japanese earthquake etc. The topics we have discussed so far have been using some of the current lessons and new ideas we are developing.

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